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PRESS PREVIEW: TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

13 December 2017

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Alasdair Gold gives us the lowdown on Tottenham Hotspur.
Ahead of Brighton & Hove Albion's Premier League clash at Wembley Stadium, Alasdair Gold from Football.London gives us the lowdown on this evening's opponents Tottenham Hotspur.
 
An assessment of the campaign so far – 6th in the league after second last year…
 
"Points-wise, Spurs are actually roughly where they were - just two points worse off than after 16 Premier League matches last year. They were fifth then, ten points behind Chelsea. The difference has clearly been unbeaten Manchester City flying this time around and the fact that Spurs have put so much effort into their Champions League exertions. 
 
"Mauricio Pochettino is always keen to point out that the Spurs' project is different to the ones at big-spending City, Manchester United, Chelsea and elsewhere in the top six and the club needs to consolidate its position as a top four side - learning to walk before they try to run."
 
But impressed in Champions League from a very tough group?
 
"Spurs have been superb in the Champions League. They destroyed any notion that they were in the 'Group of Death' by turning over holders Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Apoel Nicosia and finishing on top, unbeaten.
 
"Pochettino's men showed they had taken in the lessons from a disappointing campaign in the competition last season and did so without Dele Alli for the first three games this time around because of his suspension.
 
"To go to the Bernabeu and play so well to take a point and then beat Real at Wembley means Spurs will have no fear whoever they face from now on, not least Juventus in the next round in February."
 
The objective now is top four – arguably never going to really challenge for the title?
 
"To have assembled the squad Spurs have with a fraction of the transfer spend and wage bill of their rivals and challenged for the title in the past two years is no mean achievement.
 
"The move back to their new home next year will bring with it increased revenue and as long as Daniel Levy can keep Pochettino and the club's stars in the meantime then they will go on to be a force in the Premier League title race for years to come.
 
"Pochettino is probably ahead of schedule in terms of his project at the club and once you add some financial might to that, Tottenham should be able to take that next step."
 
A new home on the way too – thoughts on that?
 
"It's a must. Wembley has been a decent temporary rental pad and shown that the fans will flock to see the club in greater numbers, but it's never really felt like home for the fans or seemingly the players.
 
"There have been some fine displays against the top teams and some mediocre ones against the sides who sit back, and Spurs have never really looked like the dominant hosts they were at White Hart Lane last season.
 
"The new stadium looks fantastic - I've been fortunate enough to take a virtual reality tour. The single-tier south stand will rival Dortmund's Yellow Wall and the crowd will be close to the pitch to recreate that White Hart Lane atmosphere.
 
"As I said earlier it will also help the club compete on a more level financial playing field with their rivals. You get the impression Pochettino and the players can't wait to get back home."
 
Harry Kane clearly the one Albion have to keep quiet – has anyone managed that so far and what do they have to do?
 
"That's a tough one. He's scored 50 goals in 48 games for club and country in 2017 and few defences have been able to keep him quiet. Even when he looks like he's having an off day - like the first half against Stoke - he suddenly rediscovers his touch and scores.
 
"The best way to stop him seems to be getting your fixture scheduled during the month of August. The month seems to be Kane's Kryptonite when it comes to goals every season.
 
"Unfortunately it's December so Brighton's best hope is to cut off the supply lines. Eriksen, Alli and Trippier are often Kane's main supply lines.

"Trippier is likely to be rotated for Aurier for this match so that's one down, now Brighton just have to prevent Eriksen and Alli getting the ball through to Kane and that'll give them half a chance."

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