Weblog: The football punter

Rocking Spurs can play part in Brighton thriller

Premier League
BT Sport 1, 5.30pm Saturday

Talk of a crisis at Tottenham might encourage punters to give the visitors a swerve at odds-on for their tricky road trip to the Amex to take on Brighton.

Three straight 2-1 losses, the third in heartbreaking fashion at Inter in the Champions League on Tuesday, has got critics of Tottenham’s summer transfer inactivity queuing up to stick the boot into Mauricio Pochettino’s misfiring mob.

And Brighton, who have already taken care of Manchester United on home soil this term, will no doubt be full of beans after their spirited comeback at Southampton to snatch a point on Monday.

Spurs certainly don’t look much of a bet at the prices, though there are also doubts over Albion.

Before we consider those, this match looks full of goals and it’s 4-5 that both teams score. The value bet, though, looks the slightly riskier 6-5 about both teams scoring in a match featuring over 2.5 goals.

All of Spurs’ six games this season have produced three goals or more. Both teams scored in five of them.

Their vulnerability at set-plays is obvious and Brighton have height and power in centre-backs Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk, plus striker Glenn Murray, a trio of giants who will trouble any hesitant defences.

Chris Hughton’s Albion haven’t kept a clean sheet in five games and their last two matches have finished 2-2. They were two goals behind in both of them.

Brighton tend to overplay from the back and concede too many soft goals. They have already shipped nine times and a side such as Tottenham, despite their own issues, remain a potent force who will exploit errors.

The return of the enigmatic Dele Alli would be seen as a positive for Tottenham. The England midfielder links well with Christian Eriksen and the jaded Harry Kane, while Lucas Moura’s pace will keep the Albion full-backs honest.

Tottenham have won eight of their last 13 away league games and were largely in control at Inter before their late loss of concentration.

They haven’t become a bad side overnight but they aren’t anywhere near their best.

Hughton, an FA Cup winner with Tottenham in his playing days, anticipates a reaction from his former side and it's worth thining back to January when Chelsea went to the Amex in need of a reaction to a run of five straight draws which had ratcheted up the pressure on Antonio Conte. Chelsea got it and they won 4-0. Should we expect this to be the evening when MoPo’s mojo is restored?

Brighton have lost only one of their last nine at home and the way they fought back to take points against Fulham and Southampton has to be encouraging. Except, of course, that Fulham and Southampton aren’t Tottenham and if you go 2-0 down to Spurs there’s almost certainly no fighting back.

Brighton haven’t kept a clean sheet in five games and they should struggle to keep one on Saturday evening.

Both teams to score & over 2.5 goals

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Match in Focus

20:00 Mo 21Jan SKY

Bolton v West Brom

Home WinDrawAway Win
Key stats
  • West Brom have won four of their last five league aways
Expert verdict
Bolton’s financial difficulties are not going to help them in their battle to avoid the drop and they could be outclassed by West Brom. Toiling Bolton have failed to score in four of their last six league matches while the Baggies are the league’s leading scorers with 55 goals in 27 games.