|TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (1)||BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION 1 (1)|
|Date : – Saturday 8th April 2023||Kick off : – 15.03|
|Competition : – Premier League||Venue : – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium|
|Crowd : – 61,405|
|Referee : – Stuart Attwell (Leamington Spa)||Linesmen : – Mr. Darren Cann; Mr. James Mainwaring|
|Fourth official : – Jeremy Simpson|
|VAR official : – Michael Salisbury||VAR Assistant : – Dan Robothan|
|Weather : – Sunny, dry, warm|
|Brighton kicked off the first half attacking the Park Lane end|
|Playing time : – 90 + 7 minutes
|TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR||BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION|
|Son 09m 48s||Dunk 33m 04s|
|Kane 78m 23s|
|Perisic (foul on Gross) 67||Gross (dissent) 64|
|Hojbjerg (foul on MacAllister) 87|
|Romero (getting involved in an argument) 90+1|
|Stellini (standing doing nothing) 59||de Zerbi (aggression towards Spurs bench) 59|
|TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR||BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION|
|1.||Hugo LLORIS (c)||23.||Jason STEELE|
|17.||Cristian ROMERO||34.||Joel VELTMAN ( 20. Julio ENCISO 85)|
|15.||Eric DIER||5.||Lewis DUNK (c)|
|34.||Clement LENGLET||6.||Levi COLWELL ( 4. Adam WEBSTER 69)|
|5.||Pierre-Emile HOJBJERG||13.||Pascal GROSS|
|4.||Oliver SKIPP ( 29. Pape Matar SARR 88)||25.||Moises CAICEDO|
|14.||Ivan PERISIC ( 25. Japhet TANGANGA 90+2)|
|21.||Dejan KULUSEVSKI ( 16. Arnaut DANJUMA 78)||10.||Alexis MacALLISTER|
|7.||Heung-Min SON||22.||Kaoru KITOMA|
|10.||Harry KANE||18.||Danny WELBECK ( 28. Evan FERGUSON 66)|
|20.||Fraser FORSTER||1.||Robert SANCHEZ|
|40.||Brandon AUSTIN||29.||Jan Paul van HECKE|
|6.||Davinson SANCHEZ||40.||Facundo BUONANOTTE|
|45.||Alfie DEVINE||27.||Billy GILMOUR|
|55.||Romaine MUNDLE||26.||Yasin AYARI|
= Assist = Goal scored = Own goal scored
|Interim Manager : – Cristian Stellini||Manager : – Roberto di Zerbi|
|Kit Supplier : – Nike||Kit Supplier : – Nike|
|Shirt Sponsor : – AIA||Shirt Sponsor : – American Express
|Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : – cinch||Shirt Sleeve Sponsor : – Snickers.co.uk
|Colours : –
||Colours : –|
|Images of kits courtesy of the marvellous Colours of Football website|
|This 2-1 victory for Spurs will rankle with Brighton’s fans, players and most of all their bench, who acted way beyond their status, with Roberto de Zerbi starting his erratic behaviour before the game and ending it in the dressing room after being sent off with 59 minutes gone, with Cristian Stellini having also been sent off for standing away from the fracas the Brighton staff instigated. Their angst started with a penalty being denied, which they later got an apology for from the referee’s organisation, which made it all the sweeter, although that wasn’t enough for them, as they wanted to know why they didn’t have another couple of penalties and why two goals were disallowed for handball. If we were to complain about every decision that has gone against us, then we would be there considerably longer than the South Coast Club.
After a traumatic time since we beat Forest at home, Stellini was now in charge with Conte departed, supported by Ryan Mason and the two draws we had played out since then had allowed Brighton to get closer to us than previously. This seems to have given them some delusion of grandeur, with de Zerbi saying that they should not forget that “They are Brighton” and that he deserves respect. Someone should tell him that respect is earned and if he can’t show it, it won’t come back to him.
This is much the same as the respect that match officials always crave, but how can you have any respect for a referee who makes so many errors in his decision making in the game (for both sides) and allow Lewis Dunk to try and run the match with his constant harassment of the man in the middle.
The Spurs team was the one that started at Everton and the only change was on the bench, where the surprising inclusion of Richarlison on the bench took the suspended Lucas Moura’s place.
The game kicked off three minutes late after another communications problem with the referee in warm sunshine. A Brighton corner in the sixth minute was played into the middle and went right past Dunk, who was pulling Romero’s shirt off him, before Kitoma knocked it back into the middle, where Dier got the ball away before Estupinan barged into him. The ball dropped and the visiting players shouted for a penalty when the ball appeared to hit Lenglet’s hand and as the ball was taken away by Porro, Gross took him out to stop a breakaway, with most Brighton players up the pitch. Nothing was given other than a free-kick to Tottenham.
Caicedo is a player much linked with other clubs and his main talent seems to be fouling people, so he might fit in well at Old Trafford, but not a lot of action in the first few minutes was worthy of mention, but when a Spurs corner was cleared, Kitoma dragged down Hojbjerg, but Lenglet won the loose ball and played it out to Perisic on the left wing. Ivan slipped a pass square to Son, 20 yards out and he took the ball inside to his right before producing a trademark curling shot into the opposite top corner to register his 100th Premier League goal. It was a fantastic effort and one that has become synonymous with Sonny, who richly deserved the reaction from the crowd for his imperious strike that left Steele without a hope of getting to the shot.
So, it was nine minutes in and Spurs were in the lead. It looked like it might be two a little while after, when Kulusevski returned a pass to Kane in the area, but positioned to the right of the goal, he couldn’t get his shot on target. A minute later Brighton thought they were level. MacAllister lifted a pass over the Spurs defence for Kitoma to run onto and slot the ball past Lloris from inside the box, but the linesman immediately put up his flag, not for offside, but for handball. Cue the Brighton players to surround the referee, even though it would be down to VAR and they decided that there had been a knock on from the arm before it went into the net.
Hugo was called into action to push wide to his right a shot from MacAllister from just outside the box, but when Spurs cleared the ball, it came back and Caicedo smacked a right foot shot from 20 yards out that bounced out off the bottom of Lloris’ left-hand post. Our defending hadn’t been very decisive and there appeared to be a bit of panic among the players in our penalty area, which may have been exacerbated by the attitude of the South Stand. The sections that booed Spurs playing out from the back where obviously not aware that we have been playing this way since Pochettino’s days and it is ironic that his name was later sang in the match, as he will play this way if he was to return. Many season ticket holders were not in place today, being Easter weekend, which appeared to allow a section of people to attend who believe that Tottenham should steamroller Brighton and that when they didn’t it was Daniel Levy’s fault. The atmosphere failed to produce a supportive backing for the team and such chants when were were winning was difficult to comprehend.
Coming up to the half hour, Spurs produced a good move that ended with Son finding Hojbjerg inside the penalty area to the left and as he shot, Dunk slid in to put the ball behind for a corner. Just after, Oliver Skipp won the ball on the edge of our box and ran it forward and just kept going into the corner at the other end of the pitch, where the ball came off him when tackled and a goal-kick was given. When the ball got to the other end of the pitch, Brighton were level. Spurs conceded a corner when Hojbjerg darted in front of Dier to head the ball out for a corner, when the central defender was probably better placed to head the ball away. When it was played across from the Brighton right to the far post, Dunk was unmarked to head it past Lloris and make it 1-1.
Players seemed to be losing their footing a lot, which was odd, as it was only the watering of the pitch that had made it wet, without a lot of rain recently, so when Dier slipped on the edge of the box (being booed for it), Kitoma seized on the ball and had a shot that was deflected over. There was a chance for Tottenham after Dunk had knocked over Kane and then prevented him from getting up straight away, when Perisic crossed to the far post, but he couldn’t get his neck around his header and the ball went a foot over the angle.
Half-time came and the game restarted with no changes to the line-ups. After Kitoma has moaned that he had been pulled back by Romero for a pass he was never going to reach, Spurs move the ball forward to Harry Kane in the centre circle and he picked out a diagonal ball to his left over the Seagulls back line for Perisic to get a shot away inside the box. It was low to the keeper’s near post and he unconvincingly saved it with the ball squirming underneath him and going wide.
Ten minutes into the half, Brighton thought they were in the lead when a Welbeck shot was deflected it under Hugo, who seemed to have the ball covered. Another long VAR delay before the goal was rubbed out as it had come off MacAllister’s hand on the way through. This seemed to be the match that lit the Brighton bench blue touch-paper and after a Spurs free-kick had ended in a free-kick to the away team. The incident that sparked the bust-up on the touchline must have been the denial of a goal minutes before, but the fourth official failed to stop the confrontation, standing well out of the way and it was left to the Spurs security staff to intervene. Subs from the Brighton bench got involved, but it was de Zerbi, who had been out of his technical area for a lot of the afternoon and was in amongst it and Stellini, who were sent off. Cristian had been standing well out of it all and was shocked to see red. This left Ryan Mason in charge of Spurs and some of his decisions brought cheers from those who had been raining down derision earlier in the match.
Solly March chased a long ball and bounced off Romero, wanting a free-kick without any joy, but when play went on Gross nagged the referee, so when the ball went out, he got a booking. Not that this stopped him moaning, although the ref chose not to pursue the matter further. Kane and Kulusevski curled shots high and wide from opposite sides of the goal before Perisic was awarded a yellow card for a tackle that was studs first, but he won the ball and kept his feet on the ground, although Gross rolled around a lot for not a lot of contact.
Then, in the 71st minute, Attwell denied the visitors a penalty when it appeared that Hojbjerg had caught Kitoma. The ball had gone up in the air from Lloris’ punch and headed out by Romero, but the Brighton man went down after contact from the Tottenham midfielder. The referee’s decision may have been coloured by the fact that the Japanese winger had been “simulating” for much of the game and like the boy who cried wolf, when he was fouled nobody took any notice of him. Similarly, they complained they should have had another spot-kick when Lenglet pulled Dunk’s shirt in the box (prompting a number of their players to surround the ref, which I didn’t think was allowed), although this appeared to be a consistent application of the laws, as he had failed to give free-kicks outside the box when Spurs players had their shirts tugged. Attwell wasn’t great all day, it must be said, but there were a number of dubious challenges that went in from the Brighton players, who are now a big enough clubs (apparently) to practise the dark arts.
While some say it was against the run of play, Tottenham took the points thanks to a super move that opened Brighton up. I can’t quite understand why Dunk stopped marking Kane halfway through the second half, as he was winning most things against Harry, but the Seagull’s captain obviously knows best … and certainly better than the referee on many occasions. With a delicious irony, Kitoma tried a flick between his legs that was intercepted by Cristian Romero, ten yards inside the Brighton half and passed a short ball to Heung-Min Son, just outside him on the right. His ball went through Webster’s legs to slide Hojbjerg into the right hand channel and losing on the penalty area. He showed the presence to look up to find substitute Arnaut Danjuma making strides to get in the area, but also noted Harry Kane hanging back, with no Brighton player picking up his run. Cutting the ball back to the 18 yard line in the centre of the goal, the Dane’s pass allowed Kane to strike it first time and while it would have been easy to sky the shot over the bar, Harry made sure that he kept it low and it flicked off Veltman as it hit the inside of the netting. Not that Steele would have been able to get to it, as he was still recovering his ground from covering his near post when Hojbjerg had the ball. It was a clinical finish and one that brought much moaning from the Brighton players, although I am not sure what about, other than they are such a big club that they shouldn’t have goals allowed against them.
It was a little worrying that at corners, it was decided that Oliver Skipp should mark Dunk and just after the goal, the Brighton man got above Skippy, but headed over the bar. Hojbjerg picked up a yellow for a push on MacAllister that was nothing really, then just as added time approached, there was another interesting incident. A cross into the Spurs box was bouncing around until Kane cleared it and Caicedo challenged, catching Kane’s foot with his studs as he went for it. Caicedo went down as though he had been kicked wanting a penalty and Romero told him what he thought of him after Spurs had been awarded the free-kick. Dunk then approached and was trash-talking Kane, who was the injured party. The result of this ? A booking for Romero, who did not commit the foul, similar to that which Perisic got a booking for and did nothing more than Dunk, who escaped unpunished. This is where Attwell’s consistency went out of the window.
Still there was time for March to claim a penalty when a tangle of legs outside the box floored both him and substitute Tanganga, but the Brighton player was adamant that they should have had a spot-kick, as their supporters, who had been hard done by all afternoon, started to sing “2-1 to the referee”. Having thrown on young striker Ferguson and then Dunk up front, when their move broke down, Spurs looked to break after Romero had won the ball on the edge of the box. A high ball out had Spurs outnumber the red shirts that were back, but Hojbjerg’s header on to Danjuma couldn’t get him away and the ball came off a Brighton player to launch a last attack. The ball came across as Brighton looked to use their height advantage, but when Kitoma headed it across, Dier made sure that his hands were out of the way as he stopped the ball with his thighs and it was hacked away to keep them out and secure the win. It didn’t stop the Brighton players appealing for another penalty and then get after the ref after he had blown the final whistle.
Bad-tempered. Feisty. Niggly. Well most of it was on Brighton’s part, starting with the finger-wagging that de Zerbi aimed at Stellini that set the tone and he was often mouthing off towards the Spurs bench. At the end, Gross refused to shake hands with Perisic and then started having a row with Lenglet. The South Coast club should remember that “they are Brighton” and stop being sour losers, as they feel aggrieved that they didn’t get a point, while a dodgy decision at St. Mary’s cost us two.
I would imagine that de Zerbi is off Levy’s Christmas card list now, as his performance was shocking and that of his team was good, but lacked any invention. It appears that, for all the hype surrounding the Italian’s success at Brighton, much of it seems to revolve around set-pieces, as their attacking options were sorely lacking on this evidence. The comparison between Ferguson and Kane didn’t really have enough time to be made, but Harry didn’t have much to feed off today and made the most of what he had.
These were three points that won’t guarantee European football, but it maintains a gap between us and Brighton, with the three matches after Bournemouth next week going a long way to deciding where we finish.
|Fulham||0||West Ham United London||1|
|Aston Villa||2||Nottingham Forest||0|
|Leicester City||0||AFC Bournemouth||1|
|South Coast Big Club||1||Mancashter City||4|
|Leeds United||1||Crystal Palace||5|
Premier League Table 2022-23
|7||Brighton & Hove Albion||28||13||7||8||52||36
|14||West Ham United London||29||8||7||15||27||39||30||-12|
|20||South Coast Big Club||30||6||5||19||24||51||23||-27|