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With the dust settling on the transfer window, it is now time to focus on football once again and after Tottenham suffered a defeat during their last league encounter, they will look for better fortunes in the F.A. Cup this weekend.
While standing in their way of progress to the Fifth Round, are none other than Brighton and with Graham Potter’s men sitting comfortably in the top-half of the Premier League table, a trip to Wembley is certainly not out of the question either.
With no replays at this stage of this season’s competition, there has to be a winner on the night, and this means both extra-time and penalties will be on hand to split any stalemate in North London.
While with Brighton being such a tough nut to crack, they will certainly fancy their chances of squeezing at least 30 extra minutes out of Tottenham and who knows, maybe even the lottery of a penalty shootout.
Which means with Graham Potter’s men coming to the English capital in good mood, they will certainly pose a test for Spurs and therefore, the draw after 90 minutes at odds of 13/5 with 888 looks a shrewd bet in my opinion.
With four departures on the final day of the January transfer window, some will wonder if Tottenham have left themselves enough personnel to compete on two fronts this season and whether these exits will hamper their planned march up the league table.
However, one could also argue that the quartet of names that have left due to a mixture of permanent and loan deals, were doing little in the way of positive things for manager Antonio Conte.
Which means although Tottenham may be lighter on numbers, there is a sense that every player is now fully on board, and one must not forget their two new arrivals from Juventus either.
Arrivals that come in the shape of Rodrigo Bentacaur and Dejan Kulusevski and with the Turin pair looking to make a mark in North London, they could well have an immediate impact at the weekend.
Whether they are thrown in from the very start remains to be seen and one would likely think that seats on the substitutes bench will be their first port of call. Then again, if manager Conte does throw them in at the deep end, they will be more than ready for the task in hand.
In terms of injuries and suspensions for the visit of Brighton, Tottenham have a relatively full bill of health and South Korean international Hueng-min Son will hope to win the race against fitness. If so, his return will be a huge boost for manager Antonio Conte.
With Brighton currently operating in the top-half of the Premier League table, they find themselves in possession of a rather rare luxury and it is one that does not see them worrying about relegation.
Because in the past, it has been a case of either or for the Seagulls and as much as they would love a return to Wembley and a repeat of their final appearance in 1983, it has to be weighed up against Premier League survival.
Which means a less than glamorous exit early on is usually the order of the day for Brighton and although that is always a bitter pill to swallow, the ends have a habit of justifying the means.
Now though, that same conundrum is no longer necessary and with relegation not looming this season, Brighton can look ahead to not only a potential top-ten finish but also at least one appearance at Wembley.
With the Semi-finals also being held at the home of English football, Brighton will fancy their chances of making it to the final four and if that is to be the case, then they will have to dispose of one of the favourites this Saturday evening.
In terms of injuries and suspensions for the trip to Tottenham, Yves Bissouma will be ready for selection after AFCON duty and will likely slot straight into midfield. However, the injured trio of Enoch Mwepu, Shane Duffy and Tudor Baluta will play no part in the game.
As far as history goes between the two clubs, it is not the most heated of rivalries but in the past few years Brighton have managed to claim the scalp of Tottenham on a number of different occasions - something that makes this cup tie so appealing.
In terms of their overall head-to-head record, Tottenham have won on 16 occasions, Brighton 8 and there have been 8 draws
With the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium being arguably one of the best stadiums in England today, now all it needs is a team to match the splendid structure that was finally unveiled in 2019.
With COVID-19 restrictions being lifted in England, it means there is no longer the need to show a Vaccine Passport before attending the ground. Which means, match tickets are the only item that is required to be produced at the time of writing.
With Tottenham’s top-four hopes still very much in the balance, the F.A. Cup will be the second of Antonio Conte’s priorities. Then again, this is a club that has not won any major silverware in nearly 14 years, and this could be a short cut to silverware at the end of the season.
Standing in the way of that plan, is a Brighton side who are incredibly tough to beat both home and away and with the Seagulls growing in confidence each week, this will not be an easy encounter for the hosts.