A 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa in the hands of one of last season’s Premier League Top Four sides Newcastle United at Villa Park meant the race to this year’s Premier League Top Four finishes is now a wide-open race, where Ange Postecoglou’s Tottenham Hotspur became the beneficial team last night. Spurs welcomed Brentford to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for their Matchday 22 fixture in the English top-flight football in 2023/2024 yesterday, and not even an early one-goal deficit could prevent them from securing all three points in this match, moving into the Premier League Top Four with the precious victory as a result.
Spurs Recovered From Maupay’s Opener in Superb Fashion
Brentford were the team who broke first in this feisty Premier League matchup, courtesy of Neal Maupay. Ivan Toney was unleashed from an interception off the home side’s poor pass, and his initial effort was saved by Guglielmo Vicario. Fortunately, the England international’s partner up front Maupay was there to make sure the Bees score from that counterattack.
Knowing that the stakes were high for them to return to the Premier League Top Four, Tottenham Hotspur stormed back into the game with a hattrick of goals within eight minutes when play was resumed in the second half. 21-year-old Italian left-back Destiny Udogie was the man who made things all square again for the home team, when he received a pass from ex-Chelsea man Timo Werner inside the penalty box. The young defender still had a little bit to do inside the dangerous zone, but he kept his cool and slotted home the equaliser with his subsequent effort.
Almost instantly after things were levelled between both English outfits, Postecoglou’s men found their first lead in the game that could potentially send them to the Premier League Top Four, following substitute Brennan Johnson’s effort. The 22-year-old Wales winger came into the game after the half-time break and repaid his head coach’s faith by slotting home Werner’s delivery from the left flank into the unguarded net for his second goal in 22 games in all competitions this season.
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Tottenham hit 3️⃣ to sink Brentford 🎯 pic.twitter.com/mlVADffXWO
— 433 (@433) January 31, 2024
Spurs Back Into the Premier League Top Four Hunt
Spurs knew a 2-1 lead will not be sufficient to make sure they are back to the Premier League Top Four, and their Brazilian forward Richarlison was there to increase the team’s advantage in the game. The 26-year-old was gifted with a ricocheted ball around the six-yard box, and without any hesitation, he fired a shot into Brentford goal. The tap-in took a deflection off Ben Mee, before ending in the back of the net for Spurs’ third goal of the evening against Brentford.
Toney, the 27-year-old England striker that was recently released from his eight-month ban for betting offences, did pull one back for the visiting Bees in this English Premier League clash, when Udogie, the scorer of Spurs’ equaliser played a mediocre back pass to his goalkeeper and saw the effort reach Toney before the penalty box, followed by the English talisman’s decent effort into the bottom left corner. Nevertheless, Toney’s goal was as far as Brentford could go in this game, meaning Spurs completed their 3-2 comeback as a result.
The crucial come-from-behind win not only secured Spurs’ 13th win in 22 trials in the 2023/2024 English top-flight football season, but the three points also allowed the North London club to go level on points with Aston Villa with similar goal differences, breaking into the Premier League Top Four after a hiatus.
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Tension Flared Over Goal Celebrations
Apart from Spurs making into the Premier League Top Four, incidents that stole the headlines were the similar goal celebrations from both sets of players. As seen during the match, the tallies in the match were celebrated with James Maddison’s dart celebration, where they ignited heated exchanges between the opponents. In regard to this, Maddison said: “He’s not scored enough goals of his own to have his own celebration so he’s copied mine.” The England midfielder’s words were responded by Maupay with a sarcastic reply on his Instagram account, saying “Went a bit early with that one. Gutted we couldn’t get the win. More goals and less relegations in my career than James Maddison. We go again monday bees”.
58-year-old Spurs boss Postecoglou, on the other hand, called for his players to stay focused for the match rather than other petty matters upon his side making into the Premier League Top Four. “I hope not because that’s exactly what I’m talking about. I’m not a fan of it. I don’t like the whole bravado, pushing people around. If you’re that brave about things, my players and their players, get into a UFC cage and I’ll see how brave they are. We’re out there to play football and that’s what I want our guys to do, focus on playing football and they shouldn’t get motivated by things that aren’t really that important to us,” said the Australian.
The manager of Tottenham also offered his thoughts about the differences between the first and second 45 minutes that saw Spurs move into the Premier League Top Four. Postecoglou stated: “I think we started the game well, started with good intensity and good tempo, obviously they score and then we lost our way. We spent more time talking to the referee than playing the game. I was a bit frustrated we lost our real clear focus. Second half, I think for 25-30 minutes we were outstanding, scored three great goals and probably should have had a couple more.”
Maupay and Toney really pulled out Maddison and Son’s celebration in their back-yard. 🥶🎯 pic.twitter.com/pV9vhExh0r
— Football Tweet ⚽ (@Football__Tweet) January 31, 2024