Tottenham Hotspur will be desperate to bounce back to winning ways when they take on Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium on Sunday.
The second half of the 2020/21 season is already underway with Gameweek 20, and four matches will be on show on Sunday. The curtains will fall on the latest round of fixtures at the American Express Stadium, where Brighton & Hove Albion will play hosts to Tottenham Hotspur, with both sides in desperate need of a win.
Brighton have been one of the most eye-catching sides in the Premier League this season, but such a brand of football has not always been reciprocated with the right end product. The Seagulls are perhaps, the most wasteful side in the competition, which has, in turn, kept them pinned deep in the bottom half. Graham Potter & co. currently find themselves 17th on the table, five points clear of the drop zone.
Tottenham, on the other hand, have tailed off considerably following a bright start to the season. Perched atop the standings not too long ago, Spurs have been on a low-key free-fall over the last six weeks, having won just two of their last eight Premier League games. Jose Mourinho & co. do have the fourth-best away record in the division, but come into this game on the back of a deflating 3-1 defeat to Liverpool earlier this week.
The reverse fixture, played at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium back in November, saw Spurs eke out a narrow 2-1 win over Brighton, with Tariq Lamptey’s strike sandwiched by goals from Harry Kane and Gareth Bale. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
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Brighton & Hove Albion
👇 Team news ahead of #BHATOT.
— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) January 29, 2021
Graham Potter does not have any fresh injury concerns hampering his preparations ahead of the visit of Tottenham Hotspur. On Sunday, the Brighton & Hove Albion manager will be bereft of the services of as many as six first-team players.
The likes of Jason Steele, Tariq Lamptey, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Jose Izquierdo, Florin Andone and Danny Welbeck all remain on the sidelines. Among the aforementioned sextet, it is the absence of Lamptey that has been the most telling for Brighton in recent weeks.
With the marauding wing-back not at his disposal, Potter has deployed Joel Veltman in a makeshift capacity on the right flank. The Dutchman, though, hardly carries as big an offensive threat as Lamptey does, but does provide a boost on the defensive front. The right-hand channel will, thus, primarily be dominated by Pascal Gross, with Veltman providing support behind him.
On the opposite flank, Solly March is a certainty, and the 26-year-old will look to be a major outlet on the left-wing. March’s presence on his flank means Alexis Mac Allister will largely occupy central positions during the offensive phases, providing support to Leandro Trossard and Neal Maupay.
Both Mac Allister and Gross, meanwhile, will add to the numbers behind the ball on the transitions, with Yves Bissouma, recently linked with Premier League champions Liverpool, sitting at the base of the Brighton midfield, playing the Anchor Man role. At the back, Ben White, Lewis Dunk and Adam Webster pick themselves while Robert Sanchez is a certainty in goal.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Sanchez; White, Dunk, Webster; Veltman, Gross, Bissouma, Mac Allister, March; Trossard, Maupay
Unlike his counterpart in the Brighton & Hove Albion dugout, Jose Mourinho has a fresh fitness problem to contend with ahead of the trip to the Amex Stadium. On Sunday, the Tottenham Hotspur boss will have to make do without three first-team players.
The major absentee for Tottenham is star striker Harry Kane, who sustained a knock on each of his ankles in the game against Liverpool. The England captain is now set to miss out against Brighton at the very least, and it is believed that he will surely be out for a couple of weeks. Apart from Kane, Mourinho is also without Sergio Reguilon (knock) and Giovani Lo Celso (hamstring).
Reguilon’s absence means Ben Davies is a certainty in the left-back slot, with Mourinho set to line Tottenham up in his usual 4-2-3-1 formation after starting in a more unfamiliar 3-4-3 last time out. On the right flank, Matt Doherty ought to get the nod over Serge Aurier, and will have the task of providing width down his side.
At the heart of the Tottenham defence, Eric Dier will likely have Toby Alderweireld for company, with captain Hugo Lloris an automatic pick in goal. Up ahead in midfield, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Moussa Sissoko should form the double pivot, with the duo looking to press higher up the pitch.
Tanguy Ndombele will be back reprising his usual no. 10 role, looking to push Spurs forward when on the ball while pressing relentlessly to win the ball in the final third. The big decision in attack, though, will be Kane’s replacement, with Son Heung-min likely to be given the responsibility.
Son is usually the furthest man forward for Tottenham anyway, meaning he should fit right in the central striker’s berth, with support from the wide areas coming in the form of Steven Bergwijn and Lucas Moura, with Gareth Bale being an option off the bench.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Doherty, Alderweireld, Dier, Davies; Sissoko, Hojbjerg; Lucas Moura, Ndombele, Bergwijn; Son
1. Tottenham to win @ 2.25
1. Son Heung-min to score 2 or more @ 8.00
- Brighton & Hove Albion have lost five of their seven Premier League matches against Tottenham Hotspur (W1 D1), with their only win coming at the Amex Stadium last season. In fact, Spurs have won 10 of their 15 top-flight matches versus Brighton (67%) – their second-best win ratio against a team they have played more than 10 times in the first division, behind only Swansea City (13/18, 72%).
- Brighton are winless in their last 14 Premier League home games (D7 L7). The last side to have a longer such run were Derby County in the 2007/08 season (16 games).
- Tottenham have lost just one of their last 12 away Premier League games (W6 D5), with that defeat coming at Liverpool in December.
- Tottenham have not lost any of their last 12 Premier League games against sides starting the day in the bottom four (W6 D6), with their last defeat in such a fixture coming at home to Newcastle United in August 2019.
- Jose Mourinho has lost both of his away Premier League matches against Brighton, losing in 2017/18 and 2018/19 with Manchester United; the Tottenham manager has never lost three consecutive league games on the road versus an opponent in his entire managerial career.
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With Harry Kane missing, it goes without saying that the bulk of the responsibility will fall on the able shoulders of Son Heung-min. Along with Kane, Son has combined to score 60.3 percent of the goals for Tottenham in the Premier League under Jose Mourinho.
This time around, though, Son will need to deliver without his attacking partner present beside him in the final third. With the likes of Steven Bergwijn, Lucas Moura and Gareth Bale hardly delivering in front of goal, it goes without saying that Son’s output on Sunday will determine how many points Tottenham will take away from the Amex Stadium. A big test of Son’s character.
Brighton & Hove Albion 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
This will not be an easy outing at all for Tottenham. With Harry Kane unavailable, a big creative outlet will be missing for Spurs, especially with the likes of Steven Bergwijn and Lucas Moura blowing hot and cold. However, Son Heung-min is due a big one and should deliver the goods for Spurs, with the supporting act coming from Tanguy Ndombele.
Brighton will, therefore, be unable to keep a clean sheet in a third successive Premier League game, while their deficiencies in the final third will deny him yet another home win, although they should breach the Tottenham goal once. To that end, The Hard Tackle predicts a crucial 2-1 win for Jose Mourinho & co.