Brighton v Spurs - preview panel
17 April 2018|Tottenham Hotspur
Our preview panel for tonight's match at Brighton - legendary former captain Alan Mullery, who also managed Brighton for five years and Andy Naylor, who follows The Seagulls everywhere for the Brighton Argus.
THE LEGEND - ALAN MULLERY
Alan joined us from Fulham in 1964 and went on to make 373 appearances for us, winning the FA Cup, League Cup twice and captaining us to the UEFA Cup in his final match in 1972. He later managed Brighton between 1976-81 and is still a regular at both clubs.
"Brighton have done extremely well at the Amex Stadium this season. They recently beat Arsenal at home 2-1 and played really well. However, last time out at the Amex against Huddersfield they were poor and deserved what they got in a 1-1 draw. The team has done well defensively but Shane Duffy, who has formed a great central partnership with Lewis Dunk - they are very good together - made a mistake against Huddersfield and they got punished. That’s one thing they have learned - if you make mistakes you will get punished.
"At the moment, Brighton are on a learning curve. It’s a new thing for the club, they haven’t been in the top flight for years and years. It’s like going to a new school! They have five tough games coming up as well, but they seem to play better against the bigger teams.
"I remember my first game (for Fulham) in the old First Division many, many years ago, before I joined Spurs. It was against Arsenal. We got stuffed 4-0. We were up against the supreme of English football. It’s the same for Brighton. Spurs have been in the top four for the last two seasons, fingers crossed it looks like Champions League again next season and they are one of the best there is - and that’s difficult for Brighton. The thing about that though, in a David v Goliath situation, sometimes David wins. Spurs will be ready for a tough night - it's an intriguing match."
THE PUNDIT - ANDY NAYLOR
Andy is chief sports reporter at The Brighton Argus.
"There is never a good time to be playing one of the top six for a club of Brighton's stature, in their first season in the Premier League. It is tempting to think this is a good moment, four days before Spurs have an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United. The trouble is Mauricio Pochettino has scope to make several changes and still field a side crammed with quality. Plus Saturday's defeat by Manchester City has worked against Brighton, maintaining the slim possibility Tottenham could still be caught by Chelsea for a top four finish.
"Brighton's aim all season has been to stay up. They have, for the most part, exceeded expectations and looked well on course to achieve their goal when beating Arsenal at the Amex last month, their first points against one of the top six. Three defeats and a draw since then, including at arch-rivals Crystal Palace on Saturday (where their defending was horrible in the first 25 minutes), have kept supporters nervously eyeing other results. They have been kind to the extent that Brighton still have a cushion of seven points over the bottom three.
"The reason for lingering concern is a hideous finish, Burnley away followed by Manchester United at home, Manchester City and Liverpool away in the final week. Anyone who knows Chris Hughton, as so many do at Spurs, will appreciate he remains consistent in his approach in good times and bad.
"Suspended Dutchman Davy Propper is a big miss for Hughton. He has forged an effective combination in the engine room with Dale Stephens. The defensive shortcomings at Palace were uncharacteristic. Only Newcastle outside the top seven have a better defensive record. Keeper Mathew Ryan and central defenders Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy have been particularly strong. Hughton will look to his wide men, Colombian Jose Izquierdo and Frenchman Anthony Knocakert if he starts following a recent suspension, to unsettle Spurs.
"Liverpool scored five at the Amex earlier in the season, Chelsea four, but the scale of both defeats was misleading. I expect Brighton to make it difficult for Spurs and to score, 1-2."