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Talking Tactics

Mac Allister and Caicedo can dominate Spurs' midfield

Adrian Clarke 4 Oct 2022

Adrian Clarke says Brighton's impressive duo can continue to thrive against Tottenham Hotspur

Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical points and players who can be decisive in Matchweek 10.

Alexis Mac Allister & Moises Caicedo (BHA)

New Brighton & Hove Albion head coach Roberto De Zerbi has inherited one of the Premier League's strongest central-midfield partnerships.

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Mac Allister and Caicedo have struck up a tremendous understanding, delivering outstanding performances for Brighton all season.

The departure of Yves Bissouma to this Saturday's opponents, Tottenham Hotspur, paved the way for the duo to flourish.

Dropping back from an attacking midfield berth, Mac Allister has excelled as an all-action box-to-box midfielder alongside Caicedo.

Caicedo, whom Brighton will hope can pass a fitness test, is a powerful and talented player who looks set for a bright future.

Against a Spurs side who were criticised for being too passive in the in their 3-1 derby defeat at Arsenal, Mac Allister and Caicedo will fancy their chances of taking control of the midfield.

Defined roles

Mac Allister has now cemented a clear and defined role for the team. Under Graham Potter, the 2019 signing from Argentinos Juniors had been a utility man, popping up in a variety of different positions until he made the switch to central midfield.

De Zerbi will want to retain him in this role, as the Argentinian has quickly become one of the best ball-winners around.

Declan Rice is the only player to have regained possession more often this term, which highlights how effective Mac Allister has been.

Brighton's 2022/23 defensive stats so far
  Mac Allister Club rank Caicedo Club rank
Duels won 42 1st 29 3rd
Poss. won 72 1st 45 4th
Tackles 25 1st 18 2nd
Poss. won in mid. third 33 1st 22 2nd
Interceptions 11 2nd 12 1st

Mac Allister, 23, is disciplined and rarely strays from the centre, where he covers ground almost exclusively between both penalty boxes.

Caicedo usually plays to his left, and he too is positionally sound, breaking up play.

The key to their success is that they are also fabulous in possession.

The 20-year-old boasts an 84.9 per cent pass accuracy, ranking him third for Brighton, while Mac Allister tops that list on 86.6 per cent.

They do not always keep their distribution short and simple either. Registering long-pass accuracy stats of well over 60 per cent each, they can switch the point of attack or release forwards in behind from distance.

Goal scoring midfielders

If Spurs cede territory and allow Brighton to spend prolonged periods inside their half, Caicedo and Mac Allister will make runs that will test their opposite numbers in midfield.

Caicedo is a strong runner, and from a fast counter-attack at home to Leicester City, he finished with great aplomb earlier this season.

Mac Allister can do the same, but his dead-ball prowess was also shown in the same match, where he curled a sensational free-kick into the top corner from 25 yards.

Mac Allister's goal v Leicester

Both pass well and provide a forceful defensive barrier, but they can also hurt opponents when opportunities arise.

Mac Allister and Caicedo will aim to combine effectively again in the hope of continuing Brighton's impressive form.

Also in this series

Part 1: Bamford return can give Leeds cutting edge
Part 2: Why Buendia deserves start against Forest
Part 4: Should Klopp gamble on new system at Arsenal?

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