There is no time to pause and reflect over the next two months, as it is a sprint to the World Cup for Tottenham Hotspur and the rest of the Premier League. Maybe there is a silver lining as the club cannot wallow on consecutive poor performances against Arsenal and Eintracht Frankfurt, but Antonio Conte will not be having uninterrupted full-week trainings anytime soon.
The schedule continues to be packed with very important matches. Wednesday’s reverse fixture against Eintracht becomes a must-win, but before that is a trip to Brighton and Hove Albion, a pleasant surprise and legitimate threat in the league. The Seagulls enter the weekend just three points behind Spurs but have a match in hand.
This is a real test in a place that has caused some recent challenges (see: the end of Mauricio Pochettino in 2019). Brighton is basically level with Tottenham in xGD/90 this season, with fewer goals scored but also fewer goals allowed. If Saturday looks anything like the past week, this could easily become another road defeat.
Brighton and Hove Albion (4th, 14pts) vs. Tottenham Hotspur (3rd, 17pts)
Date: Saturday, October 1
Time: 12:30 pm ET, 5:30 pm UK
Location: Amex Stadium, Brighton, England
TV: NBC (USA), Sky Sports Main Event (UK)
Tuesday was not all bad in Frankfurt, as Spurs were often in position to do something but just could not execute. With the current style of play, there really is not a lot of breathing room for sloppy touches or poor finishing, and this feels like a recipe for disaster against another team that will take the possession if offered and limit the clear chances going the other way.
Leandro Trossard had a hat trick in the wild draw against Liverpool last weekend, and he and Alexis Mac Allister have combined for nine of Brighton’s 13 league goals thus far. Despite losing long-haired Marc Cucurella, the Seagulls have kept clean sheets in two of their three matches at the Amex, which is a daunting stat for a Tottenham side that has really labored to score in many of its contests, especially on the road.
- Feb 2022: 3-1 win, home — FA Cup (Kane, OG, Kane)
- Mar 2022: 0-2 win, away (Romero, Kane)
- Apr 2022: 0-1 loss, home
The sides faced three times last winter/spring, with Spurs coming ahead victorious twice. Perhaps the most comical moment was a deflected goal that was credited to Cristian Romero, who was hanging out in the Brighton box in March, while hopefully Harry Kane can repeat his conquests this weekend. The April home defeat was nearly costly in the race for fourth place, though it did wind up being Tottenham’s lone loss over the final three matches.
With cries for a midfield three getting louder and louder, it felt appropriate to share this bullet from our match recap of that loss:
The midfield duo of Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Rodrigo Bentancur were out worked all game long by Brighton’s Yves Bissouma. Bissouma went after loose balls and helped start Brighton’s attacking displays.
It seems too perfect to start all three of these players, especially Bissouma in a bit of a homecoming. With Dejan Kulusevski still struggling to get fit, this is Conte’s chance to try something new. If it does happen to fail, he can easily bring on Richarlison and take off one of the three central midfielders, but there is plenty of reason to believe this formation change will create some instant improvements.