High flying Brighton came to Spurs and played the type of football Spurs fans want to see but thanks to some inept officiating came away with nothing as Spurs became the first team this season to do the double over De Zerbi’s team.
It all has the hallmarks for Poch. It was just over 9 years ago I posted wondering if Poch had fluffed his audition, after his second loss of the season to Tim Sherwood’s Spurs. Both times his team had been the better side and ended up losing 3-2.
If those two loses didn’t blow Poch’s chance, with this second loss for De Zerbi you wonder if he passed. It’s funny because watching his post match interview, I said he almost looks like and sounds like a Mini-Me Poch.
Did Levy like what he saw, with the visitors having two thirds of the ball by full time, it was 70% at half time, nearly doubling up on the number of shots that Spurs produced. All but two of the visitor’s outfield starters having at least one attempt – not quite a match for one of their recent games when every outfield starter had at least two shots. Some really good attacking, exciting football, was Levy imagining that with Son and Kane on the end of it all?
And to top it all, well they eventually lost, were on the wrong end of some real dodgy decisions – though not all of them – so it all got a bit Spursy in the end.
What’s not to like, and it was just two months after the second of those two losses for Southampton that Poch moved from the south coast to N17. I posted at the time
If he’s there in five years time, something half decent will have been achieved by the club both on and off the park. He was, it was. But with that Levy caveat.
De Zerbi was up for a fight from the very off, poking his finger at Stellini before a ball had been kicked, while we all waited for the ref to adjust himself. Something that must have simmered till it boiled over later on.
His team were up for it, while Spurs were their lacklustre self. When the opener came it came against the run of play. It came from a screamer by Son, for his 100th league goal for the club. He would have taken a tap in this season, but that was a worthy one. Brighton already were feeling aggrieved that they should have had a penalty from an earlier corner, when it looked like Lenglet had punched the ball.
The first half kinda carrier on like the time before the goal, with Brighton having all the ball and all the chances and none of the luck. Good save from Hugo, hitting the post and having their first one chalked off for a handball. The lino gave it immediately and there wasn’t enough clear and obvious evidence for VAR to overturn the decision. It was though a sign of things to come, with Spurs letting a player just evade them in the box.
The second time came just after the half hour when from a corner, the Spurs defenders let the tallest man on the pitch, where a bright, retina burning shirt, just run round the back of the area and power in a header. I mean how could you miss him, he’s about seven foot nine.
That boiling over mentioned earlier came just on the hour, when there was a big bit of handbags on the touchline, De Zerbi in the middle causing it all, like a shortarse would, while Stellini was standing well away not even looking at it all. They both though were shown a red card. Stellini did his best outraged Italian.
It came shortly after Brighton’s second chalked off goal. Again a handball, this time Welbeck’s shot is deflected off Mac Alister’s arm to go through Hugo. Them’s the rules, the ball can’t come off an attacker’s arm last.
They had more a case later when Hojbjerg definitely stood on Mitoma’s foot in the box, it was a stonewall pen. The fact the ref was stood a few yards away, with a clear view and was watching the incident was bad enough but for VAR to do nothing was shocking. They did nothing later when again in full view of the ref, Lenglet didn’t let Dunk go in the box again, not this time he grabbed hold of his shirt with both hands. Again a pen that at least one official, either on the pitch or in front of a telly, should have picked up on.
What followed was the sucker punch, when Spurs finally press the visitors, resulting in Mitoma coughing up the ball to Romero, he played it on to Son, who slipped the perfect ball through to the onrushing Hojbjerg, the Dane cutting the ball back to Kane on the edge of the box, his first time strike took a deflection, giving the keeper no chance.
It was a smash and grab job and as said, for Brighton and De Zerbi it was very Spursy. As I’ve said, I don’t see why he would give up what he has for Spurs, he could just look at what happened to his predecessor, Potter at Chelsea. But there are a lot of similarities with Poch and his time at Southampton, though I can’t remember Poch starting fights before the game and being sent off as many times.