Gareth Bale and Son Heung-min struggled as Tottenham Hotspur were handed a shock 1-0 defeat by Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday.
There were ominous signs for Tottenham Hotspur right from the early exchanges, as Brighton made a superb start to the game, with Pascal Gross striking the woodwork. The Seagulls then went on to break the deadlock in the 17th minute when Gross set Leandro Trossard up with a cut-back, with the Belgian forward making no mistake in scoring from close range.
No other goals were scored in the remainder of the game, but Brighton continued to carve out the better of the chances. In fact, the hosts were twice denied from point-blank range by a Tottenham player, once in the first half by Gareth Bale, who nodded away Lewis Dunk’s effort, while Toby Alderweireld produced a big block to deny Aaron Connolly late in the game.
As for Tottenham’s own efforts on the opposite end, the closest they got to scoring was through a couple of shots by Carlos Vinicius, only for the Brazilian to be denied each time by Robert Sanchez. In the end, Brighton eked out a narrow 1-0 win – their first at home in the Premier League this season. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jose Mourinho’s men.
Hugo Lloris: 6/10
There was nothing that Lloris could have done to deny Trossard from close range. However, the Tottenham captain made a critical save to deny Ben White and keep the visitors’ hopes alive. Did not have much to do otherwise, despite Brighton’s dominance in open play.
Davinson Sanchez: 4/10
A surprise starter ahead of Eric Dier, Sanchez constantly struggled against the superb Alexis Mac Allister, who did not give him a moment’s rest. The Colombian, though, did make some important clearances before being hooked off at half-time for an attack-minded change in the form of Carlos Vinicius’s introduction.
Toby Alderweireld: 6/10
The best Tottenham defender on Sunday night, although Alderweireld, too, left a lot to be desired at times. The Belgian international should have done better to keep the backline organised when Brighton were on top. Having said that, the veteran defender produced a huge block late on to keep Spurs in the game, although that did not really matter in the end.
Joe Rodon: 4/10
With Mourinho persisting with the 3-4-2-1 formation, Rodon got a chance to impress. However, that is exactly what he did not do. The young centre-back struggled against the rampaging Trossard and was nowhere to be seen when the Belgian scored the only goal of the game. Was constantly under the pump thereafter, but there were some positive moments as well, as he won 3 duels.
Moussa Sissoko: 4/10
Deployed as a right wing-back ahead of Matt Doherty and Serge Aurier, Sissoko was largely solid in his display and did not give Solly March many opportunities to maraud forward. However, the French international did nothing to provide width or creative impetus in the final third, which played its part in Tottenham’s attacking struggles against Brighton.
Tanguy Ndombele: 5/10
Once again installed in a slightly deeper role, Ndombele did not quite manage to settle in and help Hojbjerg on the night. Did look to push forward as much as he could during transitions but with the forwards failing to turn up, the Frenchman’s influence waned as well.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg: 6/10
One of the better performers for Tottenham against Brighton, although Hojbjerg could arguably have done better to keep a check on the marauding Pascal Gross over the course of the game. Having said that, he often had too much to deal with and did the containing job without much support. Saw a lot of the ball during turnovers and looked to set a quick tempo to the game.
Ben Davies: 3/10
A horrible performance by Davies, who just seems to have regressed terribly in the past year or so. The Welsh international was guilty of giving Gross plenty of space and time to find Trossard, as he aimlessly drifted out of position. Never really managed to look solid defensively while being listless with his offensive output as well. Sergio Reguilon cannot return any sooner.
Gareth Bale: 3/10
Gareth Bale created 1 chance, completed 0 take-ons and took 0 shots in the 61 minutes he played against Brighton.
Another underwhelming evening. 🤷♂️ pic.twitter.com/GfJVjJmC9Z
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) January 31, 2021
Back in the starting lineup, this was Bale’s chance to make an impression and stake claim for more regular inclusion in the starting lineup. The Real Madrid loanee, though, spurned his opportunity, with his sloppiness on the ball handing Brighton the initiative while he did not even manage one shot on target. Does not really look like a player who can change the game any longer.
Son Heung-min: 3/10
The Player to Watch in our preview, Son needed to step up in the absence of Harry Kane. However, he was almost lost at times as he did not quite have the same link-up with the rest of the Tottenham attack as he does with the England captain. Did manage a couple of key passes but never really was in the running to get a goal.
Steven Bergwijn: 4/10
The best of the Tottenham forwards who started the game, although that hardly says much as Bergwijn did not back up his purposeful drives with the right end product. Indeed, the Dutchman managed just one shot, sending it off target. One minor positive would be that he was not wasteful on the ball, although he could have utilised it better.
Carlos Vinicius: 6/10
A rare positive for Tottenham on the night. It was Vinicius who got the closest to finding the back of the net for the visitors on Sunday, but Robert Sanchez defiantly stood in his way. His passing, though, left a lot to be desired, especially with Spurs in need of efficiency higher up the pitch.
Lucas Moura: 4/10
On for Bale, Lucas Moura pretty much continued from where the Welshman had left off, and he never really managed to get into the game.
Erik Lamela: N/A
Sent on in place of Ndombele for the final 15 minutes, Lamela hardly got a look-in, as Tottenham failed to breach the Brighton goal.