- Much-changed Albion beaten on Boxing Day despite taking the lead
- Adam Webster’s header is his third goal of the season
- Spurs turn it around with second-half goals from Harry Kane and Dele Alli
- Albion look to bounce back on Saturday against AFC Bournemouth
Webster’s first-half header – all of his goals have come away from home – gave the Seagulls a deserved interval lead, but Tottenham turned it around after the break with goals from Harry Kane and Deli Alli.
Albion had other chances with Steven Alzate, Aaron Mooy and Aaron Connolly all going close, and once again there was a lot to admire in their performance despite the fact that head coach Graham Potter, mindful that his side are back in action again on Saturday at home to Bournemouth, made five changes.
In came Connolly, Alzate, Bernardo, Ezequiel Schelotto and Shane Duffy. Skipper Lewis Dunk dropped out because of illness, so Dale Stephens captained the side and Neal Maupay, Leandro Trossard, Martin Montoya and Davy Propper dropped to the bench.
Despite the alterations, Albion settled into the game confidently. Alzate dragged a shot wide with his left foot in the fourth minute after beating two players to create space, and the midfielder forced Paulo Gazzaniga to push away another shot in the 13th minute after good work by Pascal Gross.
Mooy was next to threaten when Stephens’s pass gave him the space to have a dip with his left-foot, the shot taking a deflection for a corner.
Tottenham had made little headway, but thought they had taken the lead through Kane in the 24th minute when he latched onto Harry Winks’s long pass and guided his shot past Maty Ryan, but the England captain had strayed offside.
Ryan wasn’t too inconvenienced by Lucas Moura’s long-range hit which went wide, before Dan Burn was booked in the 31st minute for a foul on Moura.
Five minutes later, Albion had the lead. Schelotto, making his first league start since May 2018, was brought down by Winks wide on the right, and Pascal Gross’s delivery into the box was met with a powerful header by Webster from eight yards out that flew past Gazzaniga.
The Tottenham keeper saved well in the 40th minute when Bernardo met another Gross free-kick, this time on the left, with a firm header. Gross was then booked for a foul on Kane, but Albion were well worth their half-time advantage.
And they could have doubled it four minutes into the second period. Bernardo – making his first Premier League start since 31st August - picked out an unmarked Connolly with a great ball from the left, but the Irishman headed over from a decent position. It proved to be a costly miss when Kane levelled in the 53rd minute.
Moussa Sissoko created the chance when an attempted clearance rebounded off him and fell for Kane. His left-foot shot was athletically parried by Ryan, but the Tottenham captain was quickly onto the loose ball, which he volleyed with his right into the bottom corner. Kane loves a Boxing Day goal – this was his eighth in five games on 26th December.
Tottenham began to push Albion back, but Gazzaniga was needed to make an instinctive block midway through the half from Gross’s free kick, hit with some power from just outside the box.
Graham Potter brought on Maupay for Connolly before the home side went in front in the 72nd minute. Serge Aurier cushioned a diagonal ball from substitute Christian Eriksen into the path of Alli, whose first-time right-foot shot flew into the top corner with Ryan helpless.
Mooy wasn’t far away with a shot on the run from outside the box before Albion made their second change with Trossard replacing Bernardo 14 minutes from the end.
Gazzaniga claimed Gross’s shot at the second attempt and as the game entered its closing stages Albion began to push for an equaliser. That left them vulnerable on the counter and Ryan tipped over a late effort from Alli before Alzate blocked Eriksen’s shot. A third Tottenham goal would have been harsh, but Albion have to quickly regroup before ending the decade at home to Bournemouth on Saturday.
ALBION: Ryan, Schelotto (Bissouma 83), Duffy, Webster, Burn, Bernardo (Trossard 76), Alzate, Stephens, Mooy, Gross, Connolly (Maupay 68).
SUBS NOT USED: Button, Propper, Murray, Montoya.