Southampton hosts Tottenham with both sides hoping to bounce back from their difficult spell in recent games.
Southampton have had an indifferent season, and this factor was evident in their dramatic loss at Old Trafford last weekend against Manchester United. The Saints played really well and truly deserved at least a point for their effort, instead, it was United who stole all three points. That loss also meant the Saints now have a tricky fixture with Tottenham as a place in the relegation zone looms.
Their position on the table does not reflect on how the team has been playing under Ralph Hasenhuttl, although the Saints have taken only five points off their last six games in the Premier League. However, with the side displaying resilience and fight, especially against top six teams this season, and fans will be hoping they take advantage of Spurs’ poor form in recent weeks domestically.
Tottenham seems to have found some form at the back of a three-game winless run in the league, with a convincing victory away to Borussia Dortmund. Spurs have now advanced to the next round in the Champions League, but their recent slump domestically should still be a worry for Mauricio Pochettino, as there are concerns his side will be dragged into the top four race.
Back to back defeats against Burnley and Chelsea had all but killed off their title chances and last weekend’s ‘lucky’ draw against Arsenal at home only confirmed their exit from the title chase. Only a late penalty save from captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris spared their blushes against the Gunners. Pochettino will now be hoping to end this winless run with three points against Southampton.
Team News & Tactics
Hasenhuttl does not have new worries in his side from their draw against Manchester United. There are expectations the Austrian manager will name an unchanged squad, although there could be changes on his bench. Danny Ings is back to full fitness, but Hassenhuttl has opted to rest him ahead of the international break.
Other injured stars such as Mario Lemina and Michael Obafemi are back in training but do not have the fitness to take on the pitch just yet. The returns of these critical players could act as a boost for Hasenhuttl as he would be grateful the international break falls at the right time and could help him to revitalize his team.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Gunn; Bednarek, Yoshida, Vestergaard; Valery, Romeu, Hojbjerg, Bertrand; Ward-Prowse, Redmond; Austin
The biggest news for Spurs heading into the weekend encounter is that manager Pochettino has been slapped with is the two-game touchline ban. Kieran Trippier has been ruled out of the contest with a muscle strain, while Harry Winks is also a doubt, after being forced off early in the game against Dortmund with a groin problem.
On a more positive side, attacking midfielder, Dele Alli has returned to the squad, recovering from a hamstring problem, although a late fitness test would determine is place in the side.
Pochettino might revert to a four-man defence against Southampton, and that could send Davinson Sanchez to the bench as Jan Vertonghen, and Toby Alderweireld are likely to be preferred in central defence. Danny Rose could retain his place at left back, while Serge Aurier starts at right-back.
Injury to Winks might see Dier start in the midfield after making an appearance from the bench in the midweek, while Pochettino could stick with the likes of Moussa Sissoko, Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, and Son Heung-min in the side.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Aurier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Sissoko, Dier; Lamela, Eriksen, Son; Kane
- Since their return to the Premier League in 2012, Southampton are winless in their six home league games against Tottenham (D2 L4).
- The Saints had won their previous five against the North London outfit prior to that run.
- Tottenham have lost just one of their last 13 Premier League meetings with Southampton (W10 D2), scoring at least once in all 13 games.
- Southampton have won three of their seven Premier League home games under manager Ralph Hasenhuttl (D1 L3),
- Tottenham have lost their last two away league games, the same number they’d lost in their previous 13 on the road (W11 D0 L2).
1. Southampton vs Tottenham – Both Teams to Score – YES @ 1.70
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Spurs did not necessarily miss their talismanic striker when he was out injured but his return hasn’t stopped the recent downslide in their domestic form. The striker, however, has not lost his scoring touch, as he netted the all-important equalizer against Arsenal, and was on the scoresheet in the Dortmund game during midweek.
Tottenham needs their star striker in full force to avoid being dragged into the top four race, after ironically being in the hunt for the Premier League title for the last few months. The idea for Kane should be to keep scoring those goals and help secure the third spot at least heading into the end of the season run.
Southampton 1 – 3 Tottenham
The North London outfit looked like their old self against Dortmund and Pochettino will be hoping that form reflects in the Premier League. Spurs have the character and quality to bounce back from a difficult period to make a statement of intent, albeit for the third spot on the table.
Southampton, however, do not look like pushovers. The Saints showed their fight against United and will likely display their best game against Spurs, although they are expected to fall short against Pochettino’s men.
It’s not to say they won’t create or score their chances, but Tottenham will ultimately secure all three points and end their three-game winless run in the league.