Yours truly helped make some news, working on behalf of Doug Jones in the special U.S. Senate election in Alabama. No partisan political views expressed here, but it explained my laissez-faire attitude toward tonight’s snooze-fest over Brighton at Wembley. As for the squad, and the crowd, how could they not be anticipating the toughest game of the year and the chance to show one of our top rivals that we can gain a result away from home? Anyway, I hope that explains the fairly soporific performance as much as Brighton’s complicity by never really trying to mount a threat until Spurs decided to give them the ball a few times in the second half and test Hugo Lloris. If the answer lies in fatigue or lack of cohesion among Spurs’ players, we may be in for a long evening Saturday night.
Son again was MOTM, because he was active—perhaps the only player who seemed able and willing to advance the ball toward the Brighton net. Kane and Lamela had numerous failures to connect—one can at least excuse the latter for being rusty and Kane did have two excellent chances in the second half, one careening off the post. Eriksen continued his pretty mediocre play since Denmark’s World Cup Qualification; Sissoko was harmless for both sides. Harry Winks had a rare weak game, appearing tentative and less than precise before Mousa Dembele managed to at least give the attack some spark. Rose and Aurier down the two flanks was our only consistent way to threaten the Seagulls—though as Martin Tyler pointed out, Brighton invite such an attack since they seem able to flick away nearly all crossing attempts.
Except for the ones that magically soar over every defensive player and land in the far top corner of the net—Serge Aurier may never again score such an unlikely goal but it gave the side the breathing room. And then Son from Eriksen added the clincher. Vertonghen avoided the dreaded fifth yellow card and suspension for the crucial tilt v City; he and Dier appear solid, if not offering the special quality that the three in back formation with Sanchez and Aldeweireld provides.
Three points. Nothing fancy. Briefly back in the Top Four as both Liverpool and Arsenal were held scoreless by bottom-dwellers. A typical bland Wembley game v a bland opposing side before a bland crowd. Saturday will be different. The title may already be decided—but Spurs need to put down a marker that Juventus and the other Premier League stalwarts will note.
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