Brighton Better than Record, Tottenham Need to be Ready

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 01: Gareth Bale with Harry Kane Tottenham (Photo by John Walton -)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 01: Gareth Bale with Harry Kane Tottenham (Photo by John Walton -) /

As Tottenham Hotspur travel to the south coast to face Brighton on Sunday, Spurs know that Albion is not to be overlooked. Having topped the Seagulls on the first of November 2-1, Spurs know first hand Brighton can be a handful.

Tottenham v Brighton Part 1

The first time Tottenham met Brighton, Albion had only managed 5 points from six Premier League matches. Despite the Gulls poor form, Tottenham actually lost the possession battle to Brighton in their first meting. That day at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium Spurs managed only 43% possession as Brighton completed more passes 406 than Spurs attempted at 387.

If we recall that match, it was a fortunate penalty and a second half goal from Gareth Bale that helped Spurs overcome a Tariq Lamptey second half equalizer. While Tottenham had more shots than Brighton at 9 to 6, it was certainly one of the matches this season where Spurs felt a bit fortunate all things considered.

Coming into Sunday Brighton have managed 5 points from their last four matches and now have 18 and counting on the season. In other words the team low on confidence Spurs met earlier this season is likely to be gone, particularly with Brighton as the home team. For more stats on the matchup, check out this article.

Brighton get their changes

As was the case in that first game where Lamptey was able to convert one of the chances Brighton made, they do create a lot of opportunities. While they may blast from range a bit, they have 31 more shots on goal than Tottenham. Yes Albion have played one more match than Tottenham, but it is highly unlikely Tottenham take 31 shots on the Gulls and make up the difference.

Albion’s issue is getting their shots on target, with only 28% accuracy, despite 31 more shots than Spurs, they have 19 fewer shots on target at 69 compared to Spurs 88. For those wondering Tottenham have an incredible 41% accuracy, which helps explain the high shots on target with the low volume.

Additionally, Tottenham, have created many more big chances 40 to Brighton’s 26, but at the cost of giving up a lot more action on their own goal. According to the Premier League, Spurs have made 64 saves in League this season. By comparison Brighton only have 39 saves. While the Gulls have given up nine more goals 29 to Spurs 20, that means they have given up significantly fewer shots on target than Tottenham.

When considering saves and goals conceded combined, Spurs have given up 84 shots on frame, compared to only 68 shots on goal against for Brighton. So while Albion has struggled a bit in front of goal, they do a really good job limiting the oppositions chances. Further, their defense is excellent at recovering the ball, with almost 50 more interceptions than Tottenham and more than 20 more successful tackles. In other words if anyone thinks Brighton will just role over because they are just above the relegation zone, they have another thing coming, particularly at home.

Brighton Can be Beaten

That said, Everton and Leicester City have both managed to beat Brighton by more than 1 goal, the only two times it has happened this season. Leicester did it working to control possession and won 3-0 behind 54% possession and a wonderful 87% passing day. In other words, they were simply better, with James Maddison scoring twice and Jamie Vardy once.

Everton actually lost the possession battle with only 43% at Goodson Park, but was able to work effectively on the counter behind 85% passing as James Rodriguez and Dominic Calvert Lewin were remarkable for Everton on the day, scoring three of Everton’s four goals.

Two completely different matches, but both had teams that were excellent on the ball when the time came. For Leicester it was about controlling the game and working hard to say on the ball and limit the opportunities for Brighton. For Everton, it was a bend and try not to break affair, where the team with the most goals was going to win.

Ultimately, Tottenham really play neither of these ways and that plays into Brighton’s hands.

Tottenham is not really a team to control possession a ton and try to dominate the ball. That is just not José Mourinho’s style, although at times it is the right approach. Likewise, when Tottenham sit off the ball, while extremely effective on the counter, Spurs are not exactly Barcelona with their passing. At 81% on the season, Spurs have to be more accurate and more precise to manage the game whether on or off the ball.

So now the question becomes, what does Tottenham do this time. Do Spurs against sit back and hope to hold on and get just enough to win like the first time. In that first match Harry Kane both created and converted the penalty and we know Kane is out Sunday. The second goal was scored by Gareth Bale, who should play, but was set up by Sergio Reguilón who is also likely out for Spurs.

In other words, the people who created the opportunities that won the last match will not be part of this game’s XI and Spurs need to find a way. At this point, despite Mourinho’s desire to try and keep clean sheets, it is obvious Tottenham are not good enough defensively to do so. However, if Spurs open up offensively they can score a lot of goals. It is not the typical Mourinho style, but Everton’s approach of simply trying to outscore your opponent might be Spurs best bet.

Regardless of how Mourinho sets up the side and how Spurs approach the game tactically, they better be prepared, because Brighton will be and will take the points is Tottenham are not ready.

Tottenham Projected XI for Brighton. dark. Next