Tottenham Hotspur will be looking to advance to the next stage of the FA Cup when they face Southampton in the fourth round on Saturday.
Tottenham Hotspur have had a rough start to the year, having secured just two wins in all competitions. One of those victories came against Championship side Middlesbrough in the FA Cup third-round replay after they were initially held to a 1-1 draw.
However, Jose Mourinho’s men will be keen on avoiding a similar outcome this weekend, when they travel to St. Mary’s Stadium to face Southampton, in the fourth round of the FA Cup. The Lilywhites are coming on the back of a 2-1 win over Norwich City on Wednesday, which happened to be their first Premier League win of this calendar year.
Nonetheless, they will be hoping to maintain their winning momentum, though things could be tricky against a Southampton side that has fared really well in recent weeks. Indeed, the Saints have won five of their last seven matches in all competitions, with their most recent victory coming against Crystal Palace in midweek.
Southampton secured a comfortable 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town in the last round of their FA Cup campaign. And given Tottenham’s struggles, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men will be confident of their chances of causing an upset.
Here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides as they gear up to lock horns in the FA Cup this weekend.
Tactics & Team News
Hasenhuttl has confirmed that Cedric Soares has been ruled out for three weeks after picking up an injury against Palace. He is expected to be replaced by Kevin Danso, who is the only real option available, especially with Yan Valery also out injured.
Jannik Vestergaard, meanwhile, joins Valery and Cedric in the list of absentees. He too picked up a knock in midweek, though his absence will pave the way for Maya Yoshida to make his return to the starting lineup. The Japanese veteran should start alongside Jack Stephens at the heart of Southampton’s four-man backline.
Ryan Bertrand is a guaranteed starter at left-back as his experience could be important in dealing with the Tottenham attack. Similarly, James Ward-Prowse is tipped to retain his place in central midfield, though this time he could be partnered by Oriol Romeu. The Spaniard’s defensive nature will be key as Southampton look to pressurize Spurs in their second line of press.
Moving forward, Hasenhuttl could ring in a few changes in the wide attacking slots, with Sofiane Boufal and Moussa Djenepo replacing the duo of Stuart Armstrong and Nathan Redmond. They would look to provide the supply to the two main forwards in Michael Obafemi and Danny Ings, who is tipped to make his return to the starting lineup.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Gunn; Danso, Yoshida, Stephens, Bertrand; Boufal, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Djenepo; Ings, Obafemi
Much like Hasenhuttl, Mourinho could be forced to make a few changes from the team that secured a win over Norwich in the last game. The left-back slot, in particular, is pretty vulnerable, with Ben Davies out injured while Danny Rose is a doubt heading into this game.
That should pave the way for Japhet Tanganga to get the nod ahead of Ryan Sessegnon at left-back. Serge Aurier, meanwhile, is a guaranteed starter on the opposite flank. And in central defence, there might be one change, with Jan Vertonghen making way for Davinson Sanchez, who could partner the ever-present figure of Toby Alderweireld.
Gedson Fernandes is poised to make his full debut for Tottenham Hotspur after joining from SL Benfica in an 18-month loan deal earlier this month. The Portuguese could replace Harry Winks, who will miss out with an injury, in central midfield.
Fernandes could partner Tanguy Ndombele in the double-pivot, though Eric Dier is also pushing for a place in the starting lineup. Meanwhile, Dele Alli is likely to start ahead of Giovani Lo Celso in the number ten slot while Hugo Lloris could also start over Paulo Gazzaniga, having made his much-awaited return in the last game.
Elsewhere, Sessegnon could be awarded a more attacking role this weekend, at the expense of Son Heung-Min, who is tipped to receive a breather. Same can’t be said for Erik Lamela, who has impressed in recent weeks and is likely to retain his place at right-wing.
And finally, the Tottenham attack could once again be led by Lucas Moura, though it will be interesting to see whether or not Mourinho opts to sign an additional striker in this January transfer window, especially with Harry Kane out injured.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Aurier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Tanganga; Gedson, Ndombele; Lamela, Alli, Sessegnon; Moura
- Southampton last faced Spurs in the FA Cup during the 2002-03 season, winning 4-0 in the third round – Saints went on to reach the final that season.
- Spurs have lost their last two away matches against Southampton, losing in the Premier League in March 2019 and January 2020.
- Since returning to the Premier League in the 2012-13 campaign, Southampton have lost six of their eight FA Cup ties against fellow top-flight opponents.
- Spurs’ Erik Lamela has been directly involved in seven goals in his last six FA Cup starts, scoring their second goal in the 2-1 replay over Middlesbrough in the third round.
- In his entire managerial career, Spurs boss Jose Mourinho has only lost two games against an opponent in the same calendar month once previously, losing two Champions League games against Real Madrid in February 2002 as FC Porto manager.
Player to Watch
Given Tottenham’s faulty defence, Southampton’s high press could really find success this weekend. And with that in mind, the onus will surely be on Ings to provide that productivity in the final third, when the home side do manage to create chances.
Ings has been the star of this Southampton side ever since joining from Liverpool. Especially this season, the striker has scored 14 goals in the Premier League, which is almost 50% of what Southampton have managed as a whole unit so far.
Therefore, it could be imperative for the Tottenham defence to keep an eye on this ex-Burnley forward if they are to avoid any upsets this weekend.
Southampton 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham might slump to yet another upsetting defeat due to the misfiring nature of their attack, especially following the absence of Kane. As mentioned earlier, the home side might find a lot of success by employing a high press and given their home advantage, we expect the Saints to secure a narrow win in this one.