A late flourish from Brighton and Hove Albion couldn’t stop Tottenham from claiming three points on a dreary evening at the Amex stadium.
Spurs’ third keeper Paulo Gazzaniga was given a rare start for the London club with Michel Vorm picking up a slight injury, while 19-year-old Alfie Whiteman took his seat as the substitute keeper.
Much of the early action took place in Brighton’s half, despite Tottenham coming off the back of three consecutive defeats for the first time under Pochettino. A couple of shots around the ten minute mark threatened the home side’s goal, with Ryan making a good save to deny a deflected Alderweireld header.
It didn’t take long for Brighton to get into the game themselves however, with a couple of free kicks in the offensive half – a dangerous prospect for a team who have been poor at defending set pieces this season.
Dale Stephens pulled his hamstring before 20 minutes, and unfortunately had to be replaced by Beram Kayal.
The threat of Spurs’ brightest player at the moment was evidently made clear by Chris Hughton before the match, as Lucas Moura was being surrounded by blue and white stripes wherever he seemed to go. Brighton’s organised defending meant that the Lilywhites were having trouble making use of their possession, of which they had the vast majority.
In the 41st minute, Tripper’s free-kick hit Murray’s flailing arm in the wall, and Christopher Kavanagh awarded Tottenham a penalty. Harry Kane emphatically fired home to grab his third Premier League goal this season. I doubt Murray’s decision to stick his hand out went down well with Hughton at half-time, with his team trailing by one goal at half-time.
The second half proceeded in a similar fashion – not a lot of action, but Tottenham retaining the majority of possession.
As the clock reached 60 minutes, Brighton were beginning to worry Tottenham, as a deflected shot from outside the box just looped over Gazzaniga’s crossbar. The resulting corner also caused problems as Shane Duffy had a goal ruled out for offside. A bombardment of crosses and through balls from the home side had the fans roaring in hope of an equalizer.
This nearly came in the 66th minute, as Knockaert was presented with acres of space on the left-hand side. He did well to cut inside but his shot lacked power and was straight at the keeper, and by far the best chance of the game went begging.
They were made to rue this missed opportunity, as eleven minutes later, Erik Lamela put Tottenham 2-0 up with around fifteen minutes to go. Danny Rose picked out the Argentinian in the centre of the penalty area, who slotted home his second goal as a substitute this season.
Brighton ended the game on the front foot, as a counter-attack allowed Knockaert to finish nicely and grab a consolation goal in stoppage time. The Seagulls were not able to complete a third incredibly comeback in a row, and the away side picked up the much needed three points, sending them up to fifth place.
Boos for Brighton
On a dreary evening on the south coast, Brighton fans were looking for something to brighten their mood after four Premier League matches without a win. Although the Seagulls pulled off two consecutive comebacks against Southampton and Fulham, the sound of booing from the stands could be heard in today’s match, particularly at half-time.
Brighton did well to put Spurs on edge towards the end of the match, which may have subdued any restlessness from the fans, but Brighton are giving themselves a mountain to climb every time they play at the moment. They have conceded eleven goals this season and are yet to keep a clean sheet in the league. Something isn’t quite right in Brighton’s defensive aspect, and Chris Hughton will want to get to the bottom of this before it becomes a real concern.
No ascendancy from Tottenham
It’s noticeable that Spurs have lacked any sort of dominance in a lot of games this season, and this was arguably the case again today. They ultimately fought well to get a deserved win, but the result was in doubt for much of the second half.
This seems to be a cause of a few problems in recent weeks, throwing away two 1-0 leads in two of the last three games. A nervous stoppage time had Spurs fans fearing the worst, and Brighton did have a chance to force a draw.
With such a strong starting eleven, Tottenham need to assert some ruthlessness if they want to compete at the top of the table.
Kane moves up Tottenham’s goalscoring leaderboard
Harry Kane’s penalty in the first half was his 143rd for Tottenham Hotspur, taking him level with Jermain Defoe in fifth position on the club’s all-time top scorer chart.
A lack of shots from the England captain has frustrated Spurs fans watching on in the last few games, but Kane doesn’t usually suffer goal droughts in any month except August, and the prolific striker scored from the spot with confidence.
If Kane can perform in the way he has in previous seasons, he should end up as Spurs’ third all-time top scorer by the end of this campaign.
Man of the Match – Danny Rose
In a match that left a lot to be desired in terms of quality, Danny Rose was positive for Spurs and made a number of encouraging trademark runs down the left flank, while remaining mostly stable at the back while defending. The Englishman also found Lamela well for the second goal.