It wasn’t perfect from Spurs

Brighton & Hove Albion 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League - September 22nd, 2018

ut it was at least a win.

Spurs got off that losing streak with an away victory against Brighton.

Spurs kinda got away with it in the end, I like the Brighton manager, Chris Hughton, but he got this one wrong, maybe he was feeling sorry for Spurs after they’d lost their last three games.

From the off Brighton dropped back and let Spurs have all the ball they wanted, this previously has been the go to tactic of teams that want to frustrate Pochettino’s men, it has a reasonably high success rate of frustration and worked here. But it only really works if you’re happy with a nil nil at home, with the slight hope of nicking something, which of course can happen with Spurs.

But over that three game losing streak every team pressed Spurs, made them uncomfortable at the back as they tried to play out from there and then capitalised on mistakes the pressure created. Why drop back and release all the pressure on Spurs that’s been built up over these losses?

When Brighton did eventually apply a bit of go forward, Spurs were shaky and looked like they were lacking some confidence.

Hughton did have a bit of a moan about a penalty he thinks they should have had, but if it had been the other way would have been saying his player was fouled first, which Dier was when he went down holding a couple of shirts in the area. Don’t know what he had to say about the Spurs penalty that was given, hopefully he didn’t embarrass himself about it.

It was a stonewall penalty, Murray arming Trippier’s free-kick away. It looked like Trippier and maybe the lino were the only ones that saw it. Trips was adamant as he pleaded with the ref who eventually gave it. With the ending of the losing streak also came the end of Harry Kane’s barren streak. Four games, club and country, in which he hasn’t scored, games in which much like most of this game he wasn’t given many opportunities to do so by his team mates.

He put the spot kick away magnificently. No saving that. But the rest of that half was a real struggle, with Brighton dropping back into two banks and Spurs fannying about passing the ball sideways for the half. Possession was something like 80% and the passing success was over 90% and yet they did nothing.

And being unable to break them down with only a one goal lead, could lead to the type of thing we saw at the San Siro. Especially when Brighton started having a go. Pumping balls into the box and creating that sort of panic that see Spurs cough up a stupid goal.

In goal thankfully wasn’t Vorm, it was Lloris returning either but Gazzaniga. Third choice he may be but he looked a better option than the second choice. More commanding in his area, coming for balls and making good punches and clearances. His only flap led the the ball finding the back of the net but thankfully it was correctly flagged offside. He also made a number of easier saves that were straight at him, though could have been difficult in the wet conditions. He just wasn’t tied to his line the way Vorm has seemed over these last few games.

The clinching goal came when Brighton were chasing and had opened up somewhat. They were opened up even more by the substitute Lamella. Receiving the ball in the middle of the park, he played it out wide to Moura then onto Rose, who had a far better game – though easier to do, when not pressured by the other side – and carried on his run into the area where he met the Rose cutback with a fine finish.

Should Erik start? It was another fine cameo for the Argentinian, who now has two goals and an assist in the three games he’s featured this season in the league. All three as a sub. He’s started just one game, the CL fixture against Inter. But is he better coming on? When the other team are tired and there’s more space, against Inter he ran into blocks of defenders, does he need that space more to function better. At the moment being a sub is working better, it just needs Poch to bring him on soon enough and not leave it too late.

That goal was needed, a third probably wasn’t and when Spurs went finding it with so many up the park, Pochettino couldn’t hide his disgust as Brighton broke – after Kane had squandered one the few real good chances he’s had this season that he’d have finished off previously – one hump up the field and get one back.

That late consolation made me delete a pro Gazzaniga tweet but I later put it back because, yes it was another clean sheet blown and he didn’t move for the shot, I don’t know if Vorm was saving that and his all round performance, along with his only other outing for the club, makes me think he deserves a run while Hugo is out.

In the end the goal conceded didn’t matter as there wasn’t much time left, there though was enough time for one last attempt by Brighton as the Spurs defence was all over the place, a weak shot was saved by Gazzaniga. Anymore time on the clock and it had the look of a draw, even longer and it could have been worse. But thankfully that confidence wasn’t shattered even more.

But Spurs got lucky here…

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