Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

Two Things I Like From Brighton Defensively

There were two things I liked from Brighton when they played Tottenham: The increased pressure wide from Danny Welbeck and the improved organization of their higher line.

Figure 1.1 - Danny Welbeck pressing wide to win back the ball.
Figure 2.1 - Brighton man-to-man press with Danny Welbeck aggressively pressuring the ball.
Figure 3.1 - Brighton squeezing the ball carrier with Jan Paul Van Hecke jumping forward to help put pressure on the man receiving.
Figure 3.2 - Jan Paul Van Hecke intercepting the ball.

Brighton’s center-backs are known to jump forward to help pressure a forward that drops. Jan Paul van Hecke and Levi Colwill did that last season when they faced Manchester City.

Danny Welbeck aggressively pressuring the ball carrier forced a number of turnovers. I’ve felt that pressure from the center-forward has been lacking in previous matches.

Figure 4.1 - Brighton offside trap.
Figure 5.1 - Brighton's high-line in Tottenham's half.

Throughout the entire first half and until Igor was subbed off Pervis Estupinan in the 63rd minute, Brighton executed this higher line perfectly.

It gave Tottenham very little space between the first and second line, which made it easier for Brighton to force turnovers and harder for Tottenham’s forwards to drop and link up play.

Once they introduced Estupinan into the mix, that organization they maintained was thrown off. He was not aligned with the other three defenders which created opportunities for Tottenham to exploit those small lapses in organization.

Figure 6.1 - Brighton's high-line in the middle third.

Teams are beginning to emulate the high line you see from Aston Villa or Tottenham, and it’s working. The entire back line has to be organized though. One player can throw off the entire setup.

Don’t let the end scoreline fool you. Something is beginning to click for Brighton defensively. They are quickly winning back the ball in the counter-press and they look more organized defensively at the back.

Those two goals that Tottenham scored came after several key players went off for Brighton. Estupinan keeping everyone onside threw off their organization, and the entire team looked tired. 4-0 up you could tell Brighton were working at 40% to save energy for the next match.

Their squad has been decimated by injuries, so I wouldn’t expect them to perform consistently well, but some things are improving.

Match: Brighton 4-2 Tottenham, 28 December 2023

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