Finally, Tottenham returned to winning ways as a tense 1-0 victory away to Brighton saw Antonio Conte’s side at least partially silence their critics.

Off the back of a disappointing week which saw Spurs suffer defeat in the North London Derby before delivering a poor performance in our 0-0 Champions League tie at Frankfurt, pressure was beginning to mount on Conte’s side.

However, with a tough away trip on the cards, Spurs rose to the challenge, and gave a more than credible performance to claim all three points at The Amex.

But before discussing the key takeaways, let’s first appreciate just how big a win this was for Tottenham.

Brighton are a top side. They entered the weekend fourth with an astute home record; undefeated in seven league games at the Amex now sandwiched between defeats to Spurs (Transfermarkt).

Having lost Graham Potter to Chelsea pre-international break, uncertainty surrounded Brighton’s Premier Leagues return, however, a hard-fought, well-deserved 3-3 draw at Anfield got the Roberto De Zerbi era off to a strong start.

Saturday was De Zerbi’s first home game in charge of his new club; facing a flat Spurs side, everything was set up for a morale-boosting victory over a big six club. But Tottenham and Conte refused to follow the script.

The first, and perhaps biggest talking point of Saturday came before the game even kicked off, as Yves Bissouma’s inclusion against his former club saw Conte make the much-anticipated shift to a 3-5-2.

From the off, Spurs looked more controlled, holding our own in a midfield battle that was bound to be critical.

We started on the front foot, creating several early chances including a Son free kick just three minutes in.

Matt Doherty repeatedly found space on the right – we’ll revisit this later, and after dominating the opening 20 minutes, a clever Kane header redirecting what looked in truth to be a shot from Son gave Spurs the lead.

From here, the tide certainly turned; almost as if Brighton remembered they were hosting a Premier League match – as as they were always going to, they grew into the game.

Perhaps a worrying statistic for Spurs fans is that after Kane’s goal, Tottenham failed to register another attempt for the proceeding 40 minutes, whereas Brighton, in this time, recorded eight (Understat).

Albeit besides a Lewis Dunk header following a corner, there was nothing particularly troublesome, but that’s not the point, as going 40 minutes without a shot hardly screams improvement from Spurs’ perspective.

With an xG of 0.33, Brighton’s best chance came via Karou Mitoma’s wavy run and shot, but those who watched the game will recognise how tame his effort was, and this was ultimately telling for both sides.

Spurs and Brighton both ended the match with under 1xG – 0.77 and 0.90 respectively. Kane’s goal (0.47xG) accounted for the bulk of Tottenham’s tally, whilst outside of Mitoma’s aforementioned attempt, Brighton’s xG came as an accumulation of low-opportunity speculative shots.

For Tottenham, this is perhaps reaffirming, as we offered the hosts little in terms of high-quality chances, closer resembling the elite-level defensively robust side we are expected to be under Conte.

Of course, Brighton had nearly moments, as key interceptions stopped chances before they could properly materialise, with Matt Doherty’s late interception in the box being the pick of the bunch, but all in all, we kept the hosts at arm’s length.

Almost seamlessly, that lands us at the second talking point of Saturday’s game – Doherty, as the Irishman’s inclusion, albeit forced, was a welcomed change for most Spurs fans.

Deputising for the suspended Emerson, Doherty quickly reminded Conte why he became such a valuable member of the side at spells last season, finding himself in some good positions early in the game.

Instinct clearly carried Doherty into the positions, however, a lack of match sharpness was evident as he squandered chances to either shoot himself or find a teammate.

Moreover, he was guilty of giving the ball away on several occasions but considering this was his first start since his injury at Aston Villa he put in a respectable performance, so expect to see him return as we welcome Everton next weekend.

Wednesday’s Champions League tie with Frankfurt may well see Conte return his hallowed 3-4-3, but in the context of the Premier League, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Tottenham line up in a 3-5-2 again next week.

Moving forward, injuries and suspensions will certainly play a part in Conte’s selections as with two games a week until the World Cup there is a lot of football to be played pre-Qatar.

Hopefully, this has put the wind back in some of the player’s sails and should see Spurs kick on ahead of home games against Frankfurt and Everton this week.

With respect to both competitions, these really are crucial, winnable games, so Conte must ensure the squad is fully firing for another important week of football.

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