Tottenham have moved into pole position in the race for Champions League football, after an excellent run of form. They welcome Brighton and Hove Albion to North London on Saturday, as they have the chance to extend their lead over Arsenal. A victory could see them move six points ahead of their local rivals, although the Gunners would have two matches in hand. It looks likely to go to the wire with the North London derby towards the end of the season looking bigger with every passing week. Their visitors managed to record a victory over Arsenal last weekend. The Seagulls will be hoping lightning can strike twice in North London.
Antonio Conte’s appointment was seen as a statement of intent last year and it would be incredible if he could deliver Champions League football. Daniel Levy will be desperate to return to Europe’s premier competition, as he would have expected to become regulars in the club’s new stadium. The Italian is seen as a coach that guarantees success, but the task will be keeping him happy. Levy is known for prioritising the finances before on-field success and he will need to make some allowances to appease Conte. The first few months have been a success, but he will not be happy with top four. The next 12 months will be fascinating to see if the club can match his ambition.
The summer ahead will be crucial for Brighton after a period of stabilisation under Graham Potter. They are a solid mid table Premier League club, but it will be difficult to push on to the next level from here. 2022 has been a difficult period for the Seagulls, as they have lost their sporting director and struggled for results on the pitch. The win over Arsenal last weekend provided some respite. It will be hoped that they can finish the campaign strongly and take momentum into the close season. A win over a rampant Tottenham team would send out a huge statement to the rest of the league.
Since their defeat to Burnley in February, Tottenham have scored 25 goals in their last seven Premier League matches.
Brighton’s win over Arsenal was their first for eight matches in the Premier League. During that period, they have only scored three goals. Two came last weekend.
It has been another excellent season for Son Heung-min as he maintains his position as one of the best players in the Premier League. His consistency is incredible, as he is regularly reaching ten for both goals and assists in the league. This season, he has contributed 17 goals and six assists in the Premier League. His goal return matches his previous best in a single season. If he scores this weekend, it will mark his best goal-scoring season in England. The South Korean will be targeting 20 for the season and it would take a brave person to back against him achieving that. There is an outside chance that he could finish the season with the golden boot, as he currently trails Mohamed Salah by just three goals. The Egyptian has slowed down recently and that has opened the door for Son to move ahead of him. Son is in great form after his hat-trick last weekend and he has an excellent record at home, with 11 of his goals coming at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. No Premier League player has scored more home goals than the 29-year-old.
Brighton’s big problem so far this calendar year has been a lack of goals. This has been an ongoing issue under Graham Potter. The team performs well and scores consistently highly for expected goals, but they seem to have a finishing problem. A player that catches the eye regularly is Belgium’s Leandro Trossard. He has been an exciting player to watch since his arrival in England. Due to his inconsistency in the final third, he has been frustrating at times, but he is an individual that can inflict damage against a team like Spurs. He scored an excellent goal against Arsenal and supporters will hope that he can now finish the season strongly. Trossard has now scored five goals to match his tally from the previous two seasons. He will want to record his best goals return in a single Premier League season and a goal on Saturday would do that.
Matt Doherty has been ruled out for the rest of the season, which opens an opportunity to Sergio Reguilon. He will return to the starting eleven on Saturday. Ollie Skipp is still out, while Japhet Tanganga will be missing for the rest of the campaign.
Jakub Moder is the only absentee for Brighton, as he has been ruled out until next season.
It is difficult to see any other result than a Tottenham victory. Spurs had shown some inconsistency earlier this season, but they are a machine at the moment and look to be one of the best sides in the division. They have been free scoring under Conte and there will be confidence that they can consolidate their position in the top four of the Premier League. Brighton were good last weekend and they will pose problems for Tottenham. That said, a home win looks to be the smart prediction.
Tottenham 3-0 Brighton