Tottenham Hotspur took on Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League, in a game that held a lot of context for both sides involved. Spurs came into this game with a chance to get back into the top four ahead of Aston Villa’s game against Manchester United later tomorrow. Brighton on the other hand, finally looked to have recovered most of their injured players.
Spurs would have been buoyed by the return of captain Son Heung-min from international duty. Pape Matar Sarr and Yves Bissouma had also returned from the AFCON and were available for selection. Ange Postecoglou did recall Sarr to the starting XI but decided to leave the other two on the bench. Clearly, the Australian tactician did not want to chop and change a team that was working.
Brighton on the other hand continued to welcome injured stars back into the fold. The biggest name returning though was that of Kaoru Mitoma who slotted straight back into the starting XI. The Seagulls started the game with much better intensity than Spurs and deservedly got the first goal through a penalty from Pascal Gross.
Spurs were the better team ever since Brighton’s goal though and were unlucky not to find the back of the net in the first half. Jason Steele was right on point to deny Postecoglou’s men more than once in the first 45. Tottenham deserved to go into the break at least level on goals but that was not the case as Roberto de Zerbi had all the bragging rights, at half-time.
Spurs came out all guns blazing in the second half and Brighton & Steele were forced to deal with a barrage of attacks. Tottenham deservedly pulled level at the hour mark, with Pape Matar Sarr coming up with the finish. It only kept getting better and better for the North London club in terms of attack. Brighton had a spell around the 70th minute where they caused a lot of issues for Tottenham.
The final twenty minutes saw Brighton have the upper hand and Spurs make several unforced errors. Spurs could have and should have scored more but the same can be said of Brighton as well. Eventually, in ultimate drama, Tottenham stole the win in the final seconds of the game with Maddison, Son, Richarlison and Johnson all combining to hand Ange Postecoglou the victory.
Here are TTLB’s ratings on how the Tottenham players fared in the game against Brighton
Guglielmo Vicario: 7/10
Was called into action within the first seconds of the game and came up with a brilliant save to deny Welbeck. Could not do much about Pascal Gross’ penalty. Called into action again and came up with another excellent save to keep Mitoma out. His distribution could have been better though.
Pedro Porro: 7.5/10
Started slowly but grew into the game, overlapping and underlapping and causing all kinds of problems for Perves Estupinian. Could have come up with better final balls though. Decent first half but not his best. Extra half a point for courageously labouring on despite a foot problem causing him all kinds of issues.
Cristian Romero: 6/10
Cristian ‘reckless’ Romero. His first contribution in the game was a reckless challenge on Adam Lallana. He was fortunate to escape a card there. Did not do much wrong following that. Far from his best though.
Micky van de Ven: 5/10
Clumsy slip almost cost Spurs in the opening minutes. Conceded a penalty soon after, when he stood on Welbeck’s feet. A first half to forget for the otherwise impressive Dutch defender. Much better second half from Van de Ven who looked so much more composed.
Destiny Udogie: 6/10
Quiet first half from the Italian. Did not seem his usual, energetic self and hardly made a foray forward with or without the ball. Had one excellent run in the second half but this was a game for the Italian to forget, before being replaced by Ben Davies.
Pape Matar Sarr: 8.5/10
Shaky start to the game but quickly settled into his role alongside Bentancur. Something that we learnt from this game is that the Senegalese midfielder has a very mean long shot in his locker. His goal though was a very deft finish, assisted by the post. Taken off in the 80th minute for Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
Rodrigo Bentancur: 7/10
Lost the ball, trying to drive out through pressure which consequently led to Brighton’s penalty and first goal. Crucial run in the build-up to the goal that Sarr scored. That was his last action on the night as he was replaced by Yves Bissouma at the hour mark.
Dejan Kulusevski: 6.5/10
Forced a good save out of Steele despite being off-balance. Not a bad first half but not great either. Came up with an excellent through ball to find Pape Matar Sarr who brought Spurs level.
James Maddison: 7.5/10
Had an excellent bending effort on goal that went just wide of the far corner. Booked for a foul on Tariq Lamptey. Taken off at the hour mark for Brennan Johnson. Pretty much ran the show in the second half. When Maddison plays well, Spurs play well. It’s that simple. Faded away as the game went on but played a crucial role in Spurs’ winner.
Timo Werner: 7/10
Made some good runs down the left flank and teammates really need to start finding him more and exploiting the good positions he gets into. Made the right decisions on most occasions in the first half. Made an excellent run in the second half but the shot did not come off as expected. Taken off at the hour mark for the returning Son Heung-min.
A perfect through ball from Maddison saw him one-on-one with Steele but the Brazilian failed to put it into the back of the net. A lot of bad decision-making in the first half saw Richarlison shoot when he rather should have been looking for teammates. Poor game from the Brazilian, by his own lofty standards that he has set in the past month or so. His scoring streak came to an end though.
Son Heung-min: 7/10
The Spurs home crowd gave him a rousing support as he stepped back onto the pitch wearing the captain’s armband. Seemed a few paces off it. Still managed to turn up when it mattered the most and provided the perfect ball for Brennan Johnson to finish and give Tottenham the win.
Yves Bissouma: 6/10
Replaced Rodrigo Bentancur in the middle of the park against his former side. Could not control the game like he usually does.
Brennan Johnson: 6/10
Had a glorious chance minutes after coming on after being played in by Son. Very poor in decision-making and lost control of the ball several times. Managed to get on the end of Son’s ball across the box and blasted it home to hand Tottenham the three points.
Ben Davies: 7/10
Replaced Destiny Udogie late on to offer some defensive solidity. Made more forward runs than Udogie did in the entirety of the game.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg: 6/10
Came on for Pape Matar Sarr late in the game. Kept things simple. Could have settled the game late on but skied his effort.