The Lilywhites dropped two crucial points at the death in the 2-2 stalemate with Everton at Goodison Park last weekend, leaving them stranded fifth on the table as a result. They are just two points off fourth-placed Aston Villa, and after the disappointing result at Everton, Ange Postecoglou will expect his boys to return to winning ways.
Meanwhile, the Seagulls bounced back from the Luton Town trouncing by beating arch-rivals Crystal Palace 4-1 at the Amex Stadium. By beating the Eagles, Roberto de Zerbi’s men climbed to eighth in the table.
With three points pivotal for both clubs in the race for European places, let us look at the key battles that could define the outcome of this game.
#Richarlison vs Lewis Dunk
Richarlison is currently flourishing for Tottenham as his double in the 2-2 draw with Everton took his tally to 11 for the 2023/24 season, with nine of those coming in his last eight Premier League fixtures. At a time when Ange Postecoglou needed a player to stand up and be counted during Son Heung-min’s absence due to his participation in the Asian Cup, Richarlison has more than done that.
Going by his current form and sky-high confidence in front of goal at the moment, the Brazilian will be licking his lips at the prospect of facing a Brighton side that has been leaky defensively in the last few games. Stopping Richarlison in attack is tough, as the Spurs striker is tricky and can use his pace and direct running to outrun defenders.
This implies that Brighton skipper Lewis Dunk will have his work cut out on Saturday. The England international has been the leader of the Seagulls’ defence, and he along with Jan Paul van Hecke and Igor Julio will have to be on their toes to stop Richarlison from getting into goalscoring positions.
#James Maddison vs Billy Gilmour
James Maddison’s return from injury layoff has been a big boost to Tottenham, and his contributions have helped the team win against Brentford and earn a point at Everton. He is the creative glue of Ange Postecoglou’s side, making everyone around him tick.
If the England international gets time and space on the ball in the middle of the park, he could wreak havoc against Brighton. That is why the Seagulls will need a strong performance from Billy Gilmour in midfield. The Scotland international not only acts as a shield for their defence but also as a driving force, frequently initiating attacks from deep.
If the visitors intend to stop Maddison from making an impact, Gilmour has to bring his A-game to the pitch in north London.
#Jack Hinshelwood vs Timo Werner
The Sussex-born and bred Jack Hinshelwood has been a revelation this season, impressing with his work rate, energy, direct running and creative edge on the right flank. The youngster has benefited from Tariq Lamptey and Joel Veltman’s injury problems, grabbing the opportunities that have come his way with both hands. Besides his defensive qualities, the teenager has already scored three goals in the Premier League with the latest coming in the 4-1 win over Palace.
However, Hinshelwood will face a tricky test against Timo Werner at the weekend. On loan from RB Leipzig, Werner has made a strong start to his Tottenham career with two assists in three league outings. While he couldn’t contribute against Everton, the German was a real handful with his pace and movement.
Being an offensive-minded full-back/wing-back, Hinshelwood may need to hold himself back at times and not push forward at every opportunity. As Werner is a pest with his pressing and energy, Hinshelwood has to be on his toes and defend very well to keep him at bay.