Energetic and Clinical Tottenham Hotspur Progress to FA Cup Fifth Round

Clinical Tottenham Hotspur

Following a winter break, Brighton and Hove Albion and Tottenham Hotspur were both back in action in the FA Cup fourth round with the competition being both sides’ only chance of silverware for the 2021/22 season. Ultimately it was an energetic and clinical Tottenham Hotspur performance that saw them into the fifth round draw.

Brighton Struggle Against Clinical Tottenham Hotspur

Brighton Lapses and Tottenham’s Energy

Tottenham looked refreshed after the break and started pressing and passing the ball quickly in the opening 25 minutes with Brighton being the masters of their own downfall. First, Brighton keeper Robert Sanchez mishit the ball straight to Kane but the England striker was on the stretch and couldn’t profit. You don’t give Kane a second chance and expect to get away with it, though, and that’s just what Brighton did.

Trying to play out from the back as Graham Potter likes his teams to do, the South Coast side made a real hash of things and when the ball came to Kane twenty yards out he curled the ball into the top corner. It was classic Kane but it was frustrating for the Brighton boss.

If the first goal had a touch of class about it, the second was bizarre. Emerson Royal caused Brighton all sorts of problems with his runs on the right and when he got wide and tried to cross in the 23rd minute, the ball deflected off the unfortunate Solly March and into the goal. Royal was claiming to have scored but it was awarded as an own goal.

Brighton did get hold of the ball at times but the build-up play, as opposed to that of Spurs, was slow and laboured and they never looked like threatening Hugo Lloris in the Tottenham goal. For all of the good football that they play under Potter, the biggest issue they have had in the past two seasons has been in the final third and it showed again in this FA Cup tie, the best example being when Neil Maupay swivelled in the box but lacked composure with his finish and fired high and wide.

Son Heung-min, returning from injury, looked in tune with Kane and their passing and movement was too much in the first half for Brighton. Conte was all smiles at the break having seen his team play at pace, with creativity and cohesiveness which hasn’t always been the case in the last few years.

Brighton’s Bright Start With Yves Bissouma Catching Eye

Potter needed a different attitude from his players in the second half and he got it in sorts from Yves Bissouma who really drove at the Spurs backline. He produced a fine run and shot that deflected off Harry Winks, with Lloris having to do well to reset himself and push the ball aside. Either way, Potter’s change in formation was having a positive impact.

Bissouma was like a marauding juggernaut at times, brushing Winks and Hojbjerg aside too easily. His goal was deserved – even the slice of luck that came with it. It was another surging run and as Hojbjerg turned his back on the ball, the deflection wrong-footed Lloris and Brighton had a foothold back in the tie.

Electric Son

It was hard to believe that Son had not played since early January such was his electric pace and driving force for Conte’s Tottenham. It was that skill that put Spurs into the fifth round of the FA Cup as he picked up the ball on halfway and drove at the Brighton defence. For a moment it looked like he was about to replicate Ricky Villa’s 1981 FA Cup final replay goal against Manchester City but Adam Webster just put him off at the last second. Son still managed to get a toe to the ball and Kane slid in to make it 3-1. Brighton had put in the hard yards in the second half but Tottenham’s quality was the critical factor in the outcome of this tie.

Conte Influence Shows

Change isn’t instantaneous when a new manager takes over at any club. There is often the so-called ‘new manager bounce’ for a few games which Spurs saw on Conte’s arrival but against Brighton, there was a clear sign that this is becoming the Italian’s team in his image. Royal getting forward and acting as an additional attacker confused the Brighton defence in the first half as he often moved from the right to the left, allowing time and space for Hojbjerg, who played a number of sumptuous long passes in the game.

Conte’s sides are known for wing backs, high pressing football and Tottenham had it in abundance in this tie.

Being able to give brief cameos to new signings Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski will have also been a plus for Conte and both looked confident on the ball boding well for the rest of the season. Spurs now play Southampton at home on Wednesday and the manager will be hoping for another clinical Tottenham Hotspur performance as they look to end the season on a high note.

 

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