Late Brighton Victory Puts A Dent In Tottenham's Champions League Hopes

The Seagull's 1-0 win over Spurs will be music to the ears of Arsenal fans
14:47, 16 Apr 2022

Leandro Trossard’s late strike put a huge dent in Tottenham Hotspur’s top four hopes as Brighton & Hove Albion snatched a surprising 1-0 victory at White Hart Lane which will be music to the ears of rivals Arsenal.

Following the Gunner’s recent dip in the race for Champions League football next year, Spurs had a chance to make Mikel Arteta’s job at catching them up near-impossible. Yet, having seen this result and flat performance, Arsenal will have been given that one feeling in football that can make and break you - hope. 

With Tottenham dropping three points, the gap between them and their north London rivals is four points and Arsenal, who play Southampton later today, will still have a game in hand on them. The Saints game will provide Arteta and his players with the perfect incentive to rediscover their form as Spurs have opened the door for them to have a second chance to finish in the top four. 

A victory at St Mary’s will see Arsenal join Spurs on 57 points, and with that game in hand, the winds of fortune may have just changed. The stakes for the match-up between the two rivals on May 12th have just been raised significantly.

With Spurs having a week to prepare for this match, it was surprising and worrying to see such a lethargic exhibition. We all saw Harry Kane pop up at Augusta last week for the Masters, straight after Tottenham's 4-0 victory at Villa Park, but it was as if he and his teammates were all suffering from some sort of jet-lag.

Credit has to go to Brighton for stumping the Premier League’s free-scoring side of recent weeks and Graham Potter’s game plan was executed to perfection. At times they have struggled to find a way to win, but they will be thrilled that they were able to do so against such a tough side away from home. 

Antonio Conte labelled Spurs’ final run-in as seven cup finals in the build-up to the match and his side’s performance couldn’t have been further away from a display you’d see in a cup final.

In the early stages, Spurs were struggling to get hold of the ball as the Seagulls were enjoying some nice possession. Enock Mwepu had the first effort of the game for the visitors. The midfielder arrived late to strike a loose ball on the edge of the box but his volley was deflected wide. From the resulting corner, the ball eventually found its way to Joel Veltman whose tame, low effort was blocked and Spurs were able to clear.

The home side’s star January signing Dejan Kulusevski was fortunate to come away with just a yellow card when his frustration got the better of him after a challenge from Marc Cucurella. The attacker swung his elbow back and just missed the Spaniard’s face. He could’ve also been joined by Mwepu who had been booked early, yet still went in rashly on challenges and managed to survive the first half when twice he could’ve been shown his second yellow card. Potter made the sensible decision to bring the midfielder off at half-time for Danny Welbeck.

For all the brilliance we had witnessed from Spurs’ attacking trio in recent months, they largely struggled to get into their usual rhythm and it took until the second half for one of them to have a chance. Last week’s hat-trick hero Son Heung-min had an effort blocked by a Brighton defender after a smart long throw from his partner in crime, Kane. There was a cry for more urgency from the hosts from Conte and the crowd but they were always swarmed by Brighton players when they were in possession. The Seagulls’ shape was making it increasingly difficult for Spurs to break them down.

The supporters were lifted when Spurs started to move the ball quickly and Son had an effort blocked before Brighton created an opening themselves down the other end. Alexis Mac Allister had a decent opening for the visitors just outside the box, but he couldn't keep his shot down which gave Hugo Lloris no problems. To inject more pace and creativity in the game, Conte turned to Brazilian Lucas Moura, replacing Kulusevski, who had had a rare, quiet game. Moura was quick to show what he had come on to do, making a run in behind and urgently pressing the opposition.

Brighton grew stronger as the game went on and they continued to apply pressure on Spurs’ defence and right at the death, Trossard popped up to pick up a loose ball and he chopped his way into the box before firing past Lloris to send the away end into a state of euphoria.

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