Talking Tactics

Mwepu can dominate midfield in north London again

By Adrian Clarke 13 Apr 2022

Adrian Clarke says Spurs must be wary of the Zambian's influence after his display at Arsenal last weekend

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Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical points and players who can be decisive in Matchweek 33.

Enock Mwepu (BHA)

It has been a stop-start debut Premier League campaign for Mwepu, but the dynamic midfielder undeniably improves Brighton & Hove Albion and is ready to continue his form at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

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Adding power, creativity and a goal threat from his box-to-box midfield role, Mwepu provides a welcome attacking dimension for the third-lowest scorers in the division.

In just eight top-flight starts for Brighton, the 24-year-old has provided two goals and four assists, with five of those contributions coming in away matches.

His two goals, both wonderful finishes from outside the box, have come at Anfield and Emirates Stadium, so he should be considered a possible matchwinner at Spurs.

Mwepu's goal v Arsenal

It is easy to sing Mwepu's praises in the week after his excellent performance and winning goal in the 2-1 success at Arsenal, but his impact on Graham Potter's team has been consistently strong whenever he has been fit and available.

The Zambia international has a domineering presence and adds valuable strength to Brighton's midfield. He has only been on the losing side once in his eight starts, and just twice in 13 appearances overall. 

Brighton with/without Mwepu
2021/22 Mwepu starts Sub apps Without Mwepu
Matches 8 5 18
Wins 4 2 2
Draws 3 2 8
Losses 1 1 8
Ave. goals scored 1.6 1.2 0.5
Ave. points earned 1.9 1.6 0.8

Brighton have collected less than half the number of points without him on average this term (0.8), so it is clear the former RB Salzburg star offers an effective, new dimension.

They also score 1.6 goals per match when Mwepu starts, compared to 0.5 without him.

Mwepu's standout display at Arsenal was even more impressive considering he had been out injured since January.

He won his individual battles with and without the ball, comfortably outshining Emile Smith Rowe.

Mwepu's stats v Arsenal
Duels won Total Rank
Duels won 9 1st
Interceptions 6 1st
Shots 3 1st
Succ. dribbles 3 1st
Key passes 1 Joint 1st
Goals 1 Joint 1st
Assists 1 Joint 1st

If Brighton opt for a man-to-man midfield set-up at Spurs, as they did at Arsenal, Mwepu will likely come up against Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

Hojbjerg is a solid defensive player but he will need to track Mwepu's late runs from deep or pass him on to centre-back Ben Davies.

In a team who are not prolific when it comes to scoring goals, the forcefulness and athleticism of Mwepu is a valuable ingredient.

Impressive debut

Fellow midfielder Moises Caicedo also shone brightly against Arsenal on his Premier League debut.

The 20-year-old Ecuadorian handled the intensity of the contest with ease and produced an outstanding assist for Mwepu, cutting the ball back from the by-line following a great one-two.

Caicedo's debut highlights

Caicedo and Mwepu may not be regulars in Brighton's midfield, but they have shown enough to suggest they can cause Spurs problems.

Also in this series

Part 1: Lokonga and Nketiah ready to shine against Southampton
Part 3: Justin's return boosting Leicester's resurgence

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