The last time Tottenham Hotspur played Brighton & Hove Albion, things didn’t go well. Neil Maupay scored just two minutes into the match, Spurs lost keeper Hugo Lloris to an elbow injury by the 8th minute, and everything spiraled down from there.
Spurs fell 3-0 at the AmEx Stadium thanks to Maupay and a brace from Aaron Connelly; they were out-xG’d 2.6 to 0.48 in that match. It was one of Spurs’ worst matches of the season, which is saying something considering some of the stinkers they’ve put out so far this campaign. It was also the beginning of the end for Mauricio Pochettino.
Fast forward to today — Brighton have taken 11 points from the nine matches since the first Spurs game but have won just once in their last seven, while Tottenham have taken 15 from 10. Brighton sit in 13th place at present, five points from the relegation zone. Maupay continues to lead Brighton in scoring with seven goals, while Connolly’s brace against Spurs continues to be the only goals he has scored this season.
Brighton continue to be a not-very-good team and this is a match that Spurs should again be favored to win on Boxing Day, but we also said that the first time these two teams met in October. After an emotional loss to Chelsea that featured two major errors that led to goals, a red card for Son Heung-Min, and an incident of racism, Spurs will need a solid performance from a rotated side to bounce back.
How will Tottenham line up against Brighton?
The scheduling gods haven’t been kind to Spurs so far this holiday. After falling to Chelsea as one of the last teams to play this past Sunday, they have the quickest turnaround of any team in the league, kicking off in the early Boxing Day slot on Thursday. Add to that the suspension of Son and Jose Mourinho will almost certainly be rotating for the home match against Brighton.
But who will he play? Mourinho’s tactics are kinder to defenders than they are to players in other areas of the pitch, so it would not surprise me if the back line remains mostly, if not entirely, unchanged. Spurs’ limited options at right back mean Serge Aurier could retain his spot in the lineup, but I can see Danny Rose coming in for Jan Vertonghen.
In midfield, this would seem like an excellent time to bring in Tanguy Ndombele beside Eric Dier, or maybe Harry Winks if Dier needs a rest. Ahead, the suspension of Sonny means Mourinho has options, including starting either Christian Eriksen or Giovani Lo Celso, though I suspect Lo Celso’s chance may come this weekend and not tomorrow. But no rest for Harry Kane, because Harry Kane doesn’t rest.
We haven’t spent long enough with Mourinho to really know how he likes to rotate his side, and with the matches coming fast and furious this could be an interesting lineup. This is a total guess, but we’ll see.
Here’s my predicted lineup for Tottenham Hotspur vs. Brighton. What’s yours?