- Tottenham Hotspur aims to secure three points against Brighton & Hove Albion to reclaim their place in the top four.
- Key players returning from international duty could result in four changes to the team.
- Players like Guglielmo Vicario, Pedro Porro, Cristian Romero, Radu Dragusin, Destiny Udogie, Yves Bissouma, Pape Matar Sarr, Dejan Kulusevski, James Maddison, Timo Werner, and Richarlison are expected to feature in the match.
Tottenham Hotspur last won successive victories in the Premier League right before Christmas, defeating resilient Everton 2-1 in the capital.
The ebb and flow that has since prevented Ange Postecoglou’s side from cementing a spot in the top four stem from some poor away form, last week’s trip to Goodison Park resulting in a draw after Jarrad Branthwaite’s last-gasp header.
Four wins on the trot at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is impressive, however, and Saturday’s visit of Brighton & Hove Albion presents a fantastic opportunity to return to winning ways, with Roberto De Zerbi’s side yielding just four victories from 17 Premier League fixtures.
Fourth-placed Aston Villa, two points and one place above Spurs, host improving Manchester United on Sunday too, and Tottenham must now ensure they secure three points to reclaim their place in the top four.
Key players are returning from international duty and Postecoglou could make four changes to the team that drew against the Toffees last time out.
GK – Guglielmo Vicario
Guglielmo Vicario has started every game in the Premier League since transferring from Empoli for an initial £17m last summer and that’s not going to change tomorrow.
He’s been excellent and will be crucial in preventing the free-scoring Joao Pedro from stifling Tottenham’s progress.
RB – Pedro Porro
Pedro Porro will star at right-back as per, having arguably been Tottenham’s best player this season. He won the club’s goal of the month for that strike in the FA Cup against Burnley but his all-encompassing displays truly have been a thing to behold.
As per Sofascore, the Spaniard has registered seven assists across 22 matches in the Premier League this season, completing 80% of his passes and averaging 1.8 key passes, 2.9 tackles, 5.5 ball recoveries, 2.5 clearances and 5.1 successful duels per game.
CB – Cristian Romero
It’s a shame that injuries and suspensions have inhibited Cristian Romero from playing with regularity this season; the Argentine is undoubtedly one of Europe’s first-rate centre-halves.
The 2022 World Cup winner has been heralded for his “Rolls-Royce” role in the rearguard by pundit Martin Keown and has completed 92% of his passes and succeeded with 68% of his duels in the top-flight this year, imposing and dynamic.
CB – Radu Dragusin
The first half of the 2023/24 campaign illuminated the desperation in Tottenham’s need for a new centre-back, so the £27m transfer of Radu Dragusin from Genoa came as a surprise to no one.
Hailed for his “complete & dominant” defending by talent scout Jacek Kulig, the 21-year-old has played three times in the Premier League so far but is yet to start, and could now be handed his first opening berth against Brighton, his aggressive qualities shining.
Romero and Micky van de Ven are the undisputed starters in central defence but cannot be expected to start every game.
LB – Destiny Udogie
Destiny Udogie is enjoying an exciting first campaign in English football and plays with the electric alacrity of a seasoned superstar, such is the innate ability buzzing at his core.
The Italian full-back ranks among the top 19% of positional peers across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for goals scored, the top 15% for pass completion, the top 10% for progressive carries, the top 9% for successful take-ons and the top 12% for tackles and interceptions per 90, as per FBref.
CM – Yves Bissouma
Yves Bissouma has only just returned to England after Mali’s quarter-finals African Cup of Nations exit earlier in the week but the 27-year-old played only 30 minutes in the knockout phase and will be raring to go for the Lilywhites.
CM – Pape Matar Sarr
One of the brightest emerging talents in the Premier League, Pape Matar Sarr will benefit from Bissouma’s return and Postecoglou will be eager to rekindle the partnership that found such success over the early months of the campaign.
Pape Matar Sarr: Key Characteristics
RW – Dejan Kulusevski
Dejan Kulusevski was benched for the first time this season last time out but he will likely return from the outset against the Seagulls, with his energy and penetrative presence on the right flank crucial against De Zerbi’s men, who are only behind Manchester City for most possession in the division this term.
The Swede’s return to the starting line-up will mean Brennan Johnson must return to the bench, the Welshman hooked after an hour against Everton and handed a 4/10 match rating by football.london’s Alasdair Gold following an ineffectual effort.
AM – James Maddison
A few weeks ago, James Maddison returned from an ankle injury that had ruled him out for two months but you wouldn’t know it.
The England international has produced some masterful creative performances over the past few weeks and continues to flourish as one of Europe’s superlative playmakers since his £40m move to Tottenham last summer.
LW – Timo Werner
Timo Werner returned to the Premier League on loan with Spurs last month and has started all three matches thus far, bagging two assists on the way and impressing with his pace and energy, albeit displaying some signs of ring rust.
Heung-min Son’s South Korea fell to a surprise defeat against Jordan in the Asia Cup semi-finals on Tuesday but the club skipper will likely start from the bench tomorrow.
CF – Richarlison
Richarlison’s struggles are firmly in the background after his brilliant recent purple patch, scoring ten goals from his past eight matches in the Premier League.
An emphatic brace against former club Everton last time out displayed every bit of the quality he has emitted of late and while Son might not be ready for a starting berth after the Asia Cup, Richarlison will lead the line with clinical ferocity.
Tottenham line-up in full vs Brighton: (GK) Guglielmo Vicario; (RB) Pedro Porro, (CB) Cristian Romero, (CB) Radu Dragusin, (LB) Destiny Udogie; (CM) Yves Bissouma, (CM) Pape Matar Sarr; (RW) Dejan Kulusevski, (AM) James Maddison, (LW) Timo Werner; (CF) Richarlison