Six things we learned from Brighton v Tottenham

Brighton lost 2-1 at home to Tottenham in the Premier League last night. Here's six things we learned from the game.

Shane Duffy battles away with Harry Kane. Picture by PW Sporting Photography
Shane Duffy battles away with Harry Kane. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Criticised for slow start

Albion were on the back foot for the majority of the first half and barely tested Spurs keeper Paulo Gazzaniga, who was making just his second Premier League appearance.

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The Seagulls were much improved after half-time and had chances to equalise before Tottenham went 2-0 ahead late on.

However, their first half performance drew particular criticism from Match Of The Day pundit Danny Murphy last night.

He said: "I was really surprised, to be honest. When a team is low on confidence you have an obligation to try to get after them, get your fans on board and test them.

"This is the first 60 seconds, I just want to play it out because this is a new keeper for Spurs. He's having a couple of touches, the centre-halves have no pressure on them.

"I understand respecting good opposition, of course I do. You can't just run around and press for the sake of it. You have an area on the pitch where you press but in the beginning of any game, you want to impose yourself as a team and an individual.

"This set the tone for the game, too much respect apart from a little brief spell.

"I thought Brighton missed a trick. In 60 seconds, they didn't have a kick and had a corner against them.

"If you're on the back foot, it's hard to change momentum in a game. You've got to start on the front foot and then you can take your foot off the gas.

"I was disappointed with Brighton."

Poor goals conceded again

Brighton are giving themselves an uphill task in games at the moment by conceding too many goals.

They have already let in 11 in just six league games and a trip to champions Manchester City is next up.

Three of the 11 have been penalties and last night's spot-kick was awarded when Kieran Trippier's free kick struck Glenn Murray's outstretched arm.

Harry Kane made no mistake from the spot and Spurs' second came when Erik Lamela was left unmarked 15 yards out to sweep the ball home.

In their previous two games, the Seagulls had come from 2-0 down to draw 2-2. There was to be no repeat this time as Anthony Knockaert made it 2-1 deep in injury-time - although the winger did have another effort saved later in stoppage time.

Back to his best

Anthony Knockaert was again the star man for Albion and the winger has been in excellent form so far this season.

He opened up about his struggles with depression last season during the week. He admitted his mind was not always on football during games last year but he has already got three assists and now one goal in six matches this campaign.

His set-pieces have caused problems in several games this season and Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino afterwards said Albion are the most dangerous team in the Premier League from attacking set-pieces.

If Knockaert continues this form, a return of ten assists and five goals is a realistic target for the Frenchman.

Penalty decisions

Albion boss Chris Hughton was adamant the Seagulls should have had a penalty in the second half when Lewis Dunk went down after tangling with Eric Dier.

It might have been a soft decision had it been given but it's the type which is awarded on occasions.

At the other end, Hughton had no arguments with the award of Tottenham's spot kick.

He said afterwards: "I thought it (Tottenham's spot kick) was a penalty, what I think it was and having seen it again, was a soft free kick before that.

Gaetan (Bong) touches the ball. I wasn't sure before as I hadn't seen it, I have seen it now and I think he gets a touch, that makes it a soft free kick.

"We certainly should have had a penalty. At the time, I was not aware, I didn't see it, but seeing it back again when a player has a hold of Lewis Dunk's shirt as he is going down then certainly that is a penalty."

Home fortress

Brighton know it will be their home form which determines where they finish this season.

Last night was a first defeat at the Amex since Leicester won 2-0 in March - and it was just their third home league loss this year.

In their previous four matches against the top six at home, Albion had beaten Manchester United twice, Arsenal once and drawn with Spurs.

Brighton have improved from last season and now go into these games feeling they can get results rather than viewing any points gained as a bonus. That's why they might end up looking back on last night as a missed opportunity.

Spurs had lost their previous three games, so were almost there for the taking. But Albion did not get going until the second half, when they already trailed 1-0.

However, a match like Tottenham at home isn't going to determine Brighton's season. The next home game with West Ham is much more important and could already be classed as must-not-lose but perhaps it's too soon to say six-pointer.

Reflections on a tough start

Albion have had a tough start to the season and have met four of the current top six teams in the division already.

A return of five points from six games isn't a disaster at all. Albion would maybe have liked one or two more but fought back from 2-0 down against both Fulham and Southampton to gain crucial points.

The one real disappointing performance was at Watford but the Hornets have started the season in outstanding form and are fourth in the table.

Brighton always like to have more-or-equal points on the board to games played. They're just short of that but so are several other sides in the Premier League.

Albion are 13th and three points above the relegation zone. With the extra quality in the squad this year, the Seagulls should have enough to keep their place in the Premier League again.