From the AMEX - Most Tottenham fans know what a horrific start to a game looks like.
Whether that be Jesus Navas lobbing one in at the Etihad, Ousmane Dembele streaking through at Camp Nou or Neal Maupay tapping in at the AMEX, the reaction from most Spurs supporters is a resigned shrug. They've seen it all before. It's nothing new.
However, there's a sense that things have changed over the past year or so. At least when Tottenham concede first, that is.
Full-time in Brighton: pic.twitter.com/BH5hyI5gSY— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) October 5, 2019
It's the sense that something is broken. Crocked. Synonym.
That sense was made real in a very quick, graphic style on Saturday, as Hugo Lloris dropped the ball on his line, fell awkwardly and suffered a horrific injury to his left arm. For the squeamish, don't look for it. Avoid it. Run from it.
Maupay was on hand to stick the rebound in before Lloris was stretchered off, having received oxygen before being carried down the tunnel. Evidently rattled by Brighton playing with the combined energy of 500 cheetahs, it wasn't surprising to see the hosts grab another as Aaron Connolly poached a goal after Paulo Gazzaniga had initially kept out the Irishman's flick.
How does a team get into a rut like Tottenham have found themselves in?
Well, for starters, there was no balance anywhere in their team on Saturday. Brighton's two goals in the first half came down the right-hand side, and whilst both Lloris and Gazzaniga could have done better in each scenario, the not-a-right-back Moussa Sissoko playing right-back ensured both situations were exploited clinically by Brighton.
What was perhaps more interesting in the buildup to Saturday's game was the clamour for Mauricio Pochettino to start Eric Dier.
Fans were forthright in their opinion that Dier could provide such much-needed steel to a team that certainly has been lacking in aggression so far this season.
A couple of years ago, Dier had his clear strengths. He was a strong passer who could mop up loose ball in central midfield. Bread and butter stuff. Simple, yet efficient.
Now, who knows what he gives to the team. Yes, by all means he's an established England international who has struggled with injuries, and yes he deserves a chance in the team, but Spurs need as many players comfortable in tight spaces in midfield as possible.
Currently, they only have two in their squad: one, Harry Winks, who was tortured all Tuesday night by Philippe Coutinho during that loss to Bayern Munich, and Giovani Lo Celso, who's only made a few substitute appearances and is currently out injured. The jury's still out on Tanguy Ndombele, but he does love to bounce the ball off his shins every once in a while.
The bottom line is painfully straightforward, from this game at least: Tottenham won't win games of football if tactically inept decisions continue being made. Brighton's high-energy pressing made them an absolute nightmare for Spurs, such was the visitors' reluctance to match that commitment.
As for Pochettino, who knows what the next few days will hold. Tottenham can't bring in any fresh faces until January, so any new coach would have the same problems to deal with. The squad undoubtedly needs decimating one way or another, and it's a problem that just can't be figured out inside 600 words.
Just take me back to 2017. Or Manchester. Or Amsterdam. Or to when Tottenham were bad and knew their level. I don't like this dark place. It smells of horse excrement and I don't like it.
Source : 90min