Spurs in Crisis: It's probably a tribute to the progress Mauricio Pochettino's team has made this season. But these things have a turning point, and the feeling that a Spurs team on the South Coast is disappearing into itself has intensified as Brighton & Hove Albion made a marvelous attack, earning a deserved 3-0 victory.
This was a great opportunity for Aaron Connolly, a 1
It was also an unforgettable day for Graham Potter, who saw his Brighton team win their first league game at home. Best of all, they did as they wished. The ball remained fluid in the midfield and threatening in the flanks.
Fifteen minutes before the break, the Brighton fans already sang: "We want seven" – a rare reward for a team whose last seven league goals go back to the end of April. But then all things are relative and in Spurs Brighton has found an opponent who sometimes seems to be playing through a fog.
The defeat here brought 13 defeats and nine wins in the last 29 games. There is something else to lose variations of the idea. Against Bayern Munich in the middle of the week Spurs were determined for half an hour and then hobbled after the 2: 7 defeat like a lettuce leaf, a team that seemed to have misled the basic idea of being a team.
There are better ways to start a game than to cash in within the first three minutes and lose the captain. What worries Pochettino is the reaction to adversity at the Amex Stadium, lack of precision or momentum. Spurs have always lost this game, every minute of every game.
Hugo Lloris will face the usual desperate howl due to his early mistake. The injury to his arm, however, was the bigger problem, a shocking moment that oxygenated him on the field and eventually made him live in a real condition.
The goal came from two moments of slackness. First, Érik Lamela tried to prevent Pascal Gross from running with a cross from the left. Then disaster: Lloris dropped the ball just in front of Neal Maupay, who let him run into the net. Immediately it became clear that the goalkeeper in the fall had also injured his arm heavily and his elbow had terribly turned back on landing.
For a while, the Spurs players looked a bit stunned by their captain's misfortune. Maupay's movement, which retreated deep into the space before the center-backs and then whirled away, was a source of constant pain. Steven Alzate and Dale Stephens had the central midfield under control for Brighton. Opposite Eric Dier moved with the ease of a decommissioned combine, which was understandably rusty in his first league start since May. About half an hour later, Spurs moved with Son Heung to 4-4-2 min next to Harry Kane, but with no apparent shift in the game's gravity. Still, they looked alarmingly creaky on their backs, with a known vulnerability for speed between the center-backs.
Brighton's second came 31 minutes behind. Another goal, another goalkeeper whistle. This time it was Dan Burn who rolled in from the left behind the center-backs. Connolly turned his body with real skill and produced a nice shot on the gate, the Paulo Gazzaniga could only cut out. The rebound was devoured relish.
It was all Brighton after, Connolly, Maupay and Aaron Mooy produced some nice combinations. Spurs' only chance of being half came just before the break when Son and Kane banded together to ward off Lamela for a shot that was blocked and they looked more purposeful for a while. But this Brighton team is full of little technical players. They snapped back and held the ball in a tight space as the air seemed to flow out of Tottenham again.
The third goal came from the same left flank, Connolly hopped in and rolled a wonderful low shot into the far corner of Spurs defense and watched. After 72 minutes Son was lifted off to fuck from the end of the Spurs. It was just such a day; but an afternoon of hope for Potter and home support.