Preview: Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Tottenham Hotspur - prediction, team news, lineups

Preview: Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Tottenham Hotspur - prediction, team news, lineups

  • 3 month ago

Brighton & Hove Albion welcome the visit of Tottenham Hotspur to the Amex in the Premier League as Chris Hughton's men try to secure safety in the top flight despite finding themselves winless in four games.

As for Mauricio Pochettino's side, Spurs were put to the sword by Manchester City last time out, ending an emphatic 14-game unbeaten run in the league having lost 3-1 at Wembley Stadium.

Brighton & Hove Albion

Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Pascal Gross in action during his side's Premier League clash with Crystal Palace at the Amex Stadium on November 28, 2017© SilverHub

Hughton's Brighton side have managed to slowly nudge themselves towards Premier League safety following an impressive showing in the top flight this term.

With five league games remaining, the Seagulls find themselves seven points clear of the drop and know that just a couple of wins would be enough to retain their Premier League status come the end of May.

What appears problematic, however, is that out of their final four games after facing Spurs, Brighton have to travel to Burnley, Manchester City and Liverpool, while also welcoming a visit from Manchester United before the term is up.

Brighton's successes this campaign have largely come as a result of the club's standout home form, where Hughton has drilled his side to be defensively compact and hard to beat at the Amex.

Albion have only lost four Premier League home matches this season and have at times enjoyed success against clubs in and around their own remit. It has been against the so-called bigger teams that the Seagulls have struggled on home turf.

Out of those four losses on the south coast, three of them have arrived when facing teams currently residing in the league's top six places.

Brighton fans would have been a lot less nervous a few weeks ago having beaten Arsenal, but the club now find themselves on a four-game winless run that has seen Albion lose three of those fixtures against sides that they might have been expected to challenge, particularly away at Crystal Palace over the weekend.

The Seagulls only have two home games remaining this season and they are against this Spurs side and United, leaving Hughton likely requiring a bit of luck along the way should they want to secure safety with any sort of relative comfort.

To do that Brighton will need Glenn Murray to return to form, and quickly too. The frontman is without a goal in his last two home matches, but has not failed to score in three straight fixtures at the Amex since a barren run during his initial three showings there earlier this campaign.

Recent form: WWLLDL
Recent form (all competitions): WLLLDL

Tottenham Hotspur

Christian Eriksen celebrates with Lucas Moura after scoring during the FA Cup quarter-final between Swansea City and Tottenham Hotspur on March 17, 2018© Offside

Champions League elimination at the hands of Juventus and Manchester City's imperious march to the title have left the FA Cup as Tottenham's only viable route to a trophy.

Once again Pochettino's side have played some of the most progressive football in the division but still find themselves some way short of equating performances with silverware.

With an FA Cup semi-final waiting in the wings at the weekend, Pochettino might just have the league on the back-burner now that Champions League qualification is all but secured as Chelsea find themselves seven points adrift.

The Lillywhites likely require two or three more victories to seal qualification in fourth and three of their remaining five matches are at home. The club will also be coming up against sides who all sit below them in the standings, leaving Tottenham in the box seat to appear in another elite level competition on the continent next season.

Spurs were uncharacteristically poor against the Sky Blues on Saturday evening and Pochettino will be hoping that his side can regain some confidence going into the cup clash against Jose Mourinho's charges.

One political battle Pochetitno might have to deal with is the one surrounding leading frontman Harry Kane. The England striker is looking to keep apace with Mohamed Salah in pursuit of the Golden Boot. Another one for Kane would see the striker claim three on the bounce. The club do have a crucial game at the weekend and Pochettino has a decision to make on Tuesday as to how he prioritises the role of his main forward.

If it's league points Pochettino still values late on in the season, Kane has a standout record against newly-promoted outfits. The frontman has bagged 22 goals in 20 matches against promoted clubs since the beginning of the 2014-15 campaign.

In fact, Tottenham have not lost to newly-promoted opposition for all of 34 games and have won the last 16 of those in a row. Heading into the visit down south, Spurs are coming off the back of some standout form on the road. Tottenham have collected 33 points on their travels this season, a record bettered only by new league champions City.

Recent form: WWWWWL
Recent form (all competitions): LWWWWL

Team News

Lucas Moura in action for Tottenham Hotspur during their FA Cup fifth round clash with Rochdale at Spotland Stadium on February 18, 2017

Serge Aurier and Heung-min Son missed out on starts at the weekend and they may make the starting XI alongside Lucas Moura.

Given the looming clash with United, Pochettino could hand a start to Fernando Llorente up top after he was absent from the bench over the weekend due to personal reasons.

Danny Rose and Harry Winks remain out through injury, but Victor Wanyama could return in the middle in place of either Eric Dier or Mousa Dembele.

Murray is likely to continue in attack after having a mixed game against Palace and he should be backed by playmaker Pascal Gross in the hole.

Steve Sidwell and Izzy Brown remain long-term injuries for Albion, while Davy Propper will miss out in midfield through suspension.

Brighton & Hove Albion possible starting lineup:
Ryan; Schelotto, Duffy, Dunk, Bong; Knockaert, Stephens, Kayal, Izquierdo; Gross; Murray

Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Aurier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies; Wanyama, Dembele; Moura, Lamela, Son; Llorente

Head To Head

Brighton have lost all three of their competitive games against Spurs in recent history, with the sides facing each other in the Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup.

The teams last met earlier this season in the reverse of this contest when Spurs ran out 2-0 victors at Wembley, thanks to goals from Aurier and Son.

Prior to that Tottenham also beat Albion 2-0 in London in the 2014-15 League Cup, building on a 2-1 FA Cup win almost a decade before in 2005.

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We say: Brighton & Hove Albion 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs come into the clash having been thoroughly dismantled by City, potentially leaving Pochettino's charges itching to get back on track with a victory on the road.

Tottenham's form has been special since the turn of the year and they have all but guaranteed themselves a Champions League spot, but they will be keen to make sure of that by beating Brighton under the lights.

The hosts are slowly edging themselves towards survival, although they do still require points against a number of tough teams heading into the finale of the season.

Hughton has built his side to be robust on home soil and the Seagulls should provide some honest resistance for a Tottenham side that could be shuffled around ahead of the FA Cup.