|DATE||Sunday 5th October 2014|
|VENUE||White Hart Lane|
What is being billed as Pochettino v Southampton is nothing more
than a Premier League game, which Spurs will have to do well in to
get anything from. We had two tight games with Southampton
last season and came out on top in them both, but at the moment, the
Saints would have to be classed as favourites, as they are sitting
in second place in the table.
With new manager Ronald Koeman brining something to add to what Poch did at St. Mary's last season, they are not missing the players they sold and Morgan Schneiderlin is enjoying a renaissance despite his desire to leave the club early in the season. With Adam Lallana, Ricky Lambert, Dejan Lovren, Callum Chambers and Luke Shaw all sold off since the end of last season, it has been all change at the South Coast Big Club, with England keeper Fraser Forster brought in between the posts; Ryan Bertrand on loan from Chelsea, Toby Alderweireld loaned by Atletico Madrid and Romanian Florin Gardos at the back; in midfield, Sadio Mane from Salzburg Red Bull and Dusan Tadic from Twente Enschede and up front Graziano Pelle coming in from Feyenoord and Shane Long signed from Hull City.
Despite al the changes (or maybe because of them), the side have settled into a pattern of play that has been successful do far in the Premiership. Koeman had a system that worked for him at Feyenoord and while it was difficult to knock Ajax off the top perch, he ran them close and brought through young players, which was something Southampton wanted to continue. While they have had a run of good results, they have stuttered a little in games against Liverpool and WBA (no disgrace in that !), while they beat Arsenal in the League Cup.
They are still playing a pressing game, but this may not be as fierce as under Poch, with James Ward-Prowse saying he prefers training under Koeman, perhaps indicating that it is not as intense. They have a speedy and tricky winger in Sadio Mane, who will be the ideal provider for Graziano Pelle, who showed last week that he can score goals from tight positions, with good skill on the ball, with support from midfield and the two full backs kicking on, they can move into attack quickly. Morgan Schneiderlin is also chipping in with his fair share of goals and it will be interesting to compare him to what we have got in midfield, just to see if we are missing anything from not acquiring the Frenchman.
The best buy they have made appears to be Dusan Tadic, who is a skilful and had working midfielder from Serbia, via Holland, where he played for four years. He is the fulcrum, alongside Schneiderlin, of the team and pulls the strings, so will need to be closed down if we are pressing all over the pitch.
Forster is a good keeper, who impressed in Celtics Champions League campaign a couple of seasons back, but he is yet to be tested over a long period of time in a top league, having move to Scotland from Newcastle United, where he could not get a regular start. Tall, quick off his line and a good shot stopper, Spurs will need to work him to find out how good he is.
Spurs will revert to many of their Premier League side, who were rested for the visit of Besiktas on Thursday. Out will go Chiriches, which might give the defence a sounder base, with Vertonghen and Kaboul looking like they will be returning in the middle of the back four. Rose has a knock, but Davies is developing in the role of left back if required, while Naughton should be back in at right back. We need to get Christian Eriksen on the ball and Erik Lamela too, as these tow should be capable of opening up teams; Eriksen with his astute passing and Lamela with his dribbling. If Adebayor is back in as the lone striker, we need more from him in and around the box. His goal output is not good at the moment and he was almost anonymous at Highbury. The link up between Kane and Soldado looks more promising at the moment, but Poch is unlikely to play two out and out strikers, although I sometimes feel this would give the other side more to worry about.
But just as every game appears to be a must win game, this one has
an edge to it, but last Saturday's did and so did Thursday's.
The Spurs team must get used to others raising their game against us
and if we can play with pace and keep our shape and concentration
until the end of the match, we might get something more than the
point I think is more likely.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 1 Southampton 1|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Spurs will assess Danny Rose and Mousa Dembele for their recovery from the knocks they have picked up before deciding if they will play. Kyle Walker is still out after his pelvic surgery.
SOUTHAMPTON TEAM NEWS :
Maya Yoshida is still out injured, but Florin Gardo may have recovered from a calf injury.
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
1 (1) Southampton
Sunday 5th October 2014 Kick off 14:05
White Hart Lane
|Eriksen 39m 25s||None|
Kaboul (foul on Mane) 53
Lamela (foul on Bertrand) 66
Tadic (foul on Rose) 77
|Crowd : 35,564||Weather : Warm, sunny|
|Referee : Mike Jones (Chsehire)||Assistant Referees : Mr. A. Nunn; Mr. A. Halliday|
|Fourth Official : Dean Whitestone||-|
|Southampton kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 4 minutes.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||Southampton :||kit|
Kyle NAUGHTON (15
Eric DIER 23)
10 Emmanuel ADEBAYOR
Victor WANYAMA ( 7
Shane LONG 76)
|Manager : Mauricio Pochettino||Manager : Ronald Koeman|
|Sponsor : AIA||Shirt sponsor : Veho|
|Kit Supplier : Under Armour||Kit Supplier : -|
Mauricio Pochettino was happy at the end of the match that saw Spurs triumph 1-0 over his old side Southampton, but you could see similarities between the two teams, but on the day Southampton failed to deliver the hype that has surrounded their start to the season. A single Christian Eriksen goal settled the match, but Tottenham's clean sheet was entirely due to Hugo Lloris and Sadio Mane. The French stopper was at it again, with a fine save from Victor Manyama, while Mane missed a golden opportunity from about four yards out, when he managed to divert the ball wide from a position right in the middle of the goal.
Maybe Mane was thinking about trying to win a penalty as he spent most of the afternoon on the grass and unfortunately, he had a sucker of a referee in Mike Jones, who was only more than happy to buy whatever he did. One extravagant triple twist with pike won a free kick when it appeared Capoue had got the bal and another brought a yellow card for Kaboul as the two ran alongside each other for a through ball, with them coming together and Younes being the stronger of the two. Jones is usually one of the more anonymous refs, but this afternoon, he showed that his ability to judge what was a foul and what wasn't was significantly lacking. The bookings ha handed out were harsh ,while he let Ryan Bertrand's over the top tackle on Kyle Naughton go unpunished even by a free-kick, while the same Saints player launched a double-footed off the floor "challenge" on Lamela and once more, not as much as a free kick came our way. The two handed push in the back of Adebayor in the box was the ultimate stone-wall penalty, but not when Jones and his assistant are around.
But the Tottenham Premier League team, as they are now becoming known, took the field, with an odd first half, which saw us kick towards the Paxton Road end. The game looked sloppy for large periods, partly as Spurs looked like they were doing their best to hand Southampton an opening goal and Southampton for their part could only find white shirts with a large percentage of their passes. While I am all for playing the ball out from the back, please only make it when the players receiving the ball have time and space. Too often, Spurs men received the ball under pressure and possession was conceded.
The early pressure came from Spurs, with a third minute corner finding a Spurs head for a change, with Lamela landing it on Vertonghen's head and he arched his neck to put his header towards the far post and he saw Bertrand head it off the line with Forster beaten. The big England keeper has come with a reputation, but it was shot to ribbons today, as he fumbled his way through the game, leaving his defence wondering what he would do next. It took Southampton five minutes to threaten at the other end, with Pelle putting in a low cross from their right wing and finding Mane at the far post, but his shot on goal was blocked at close range by Naughton. Kyle was reading the game well and intercepted a low ball into the penalty area by Pelle, with Mane lurking, but his involvement was to be curtailed in the 32nd minute by Bertrand's bad tackle.
The Saints won a series of corners in the first half, but failed to make much of them ,with a number being headed away by Danny Rose !! When Spurs won one, it was headed back into the goalmouth by Kaboul and a scramble ensued with the visiting defenders panicking to get the ball away. Tottenham's passing and movement was better today, with Eriksen slipping Erik through and his low drive was tipped wide by Forster, as Spurs were starting to make the goalkeeper work. Younes Kaboul was acting as an auxiliary striker, with one run down the right wing that took him past Bertrand, but his cross was cut out and then he took a disguised free-kick, which was played to him on the left side of the box rather than put into the mixer. Once more, it was blocked for a corner.
In the 35th minute, Christian let fly with a shot from 20 yards out and having previously had Fonte block one, it looked like this would not result in much, as Forster seemed to have it covered. Unfortunately for him, the ball squirmed under his late dive and not knowing where it had gone, he was relieved to see it go off for a corner. When the Dane tried it again five minutes later, it paid off with dividends. Adebayor had run up the left and played the ball in to Chadli, who turned it into the midfielder's path and he struck a low shot that beat Forster's lumbering dive inside the post to give Spurs the lead five minutes before the break. It was a cleanly hit shot and it was nice to see Tottenham getting shots on target.
Another followed soon after, when Lamela played Chadli in and his strength held players off and his shot across Forster beat the keeper, but not the right hand upright, with the ball bouncing out off the inside of it and it was hacked away. A goal then might have made it a bit more comfortable for Spurs, but the Belgian winger had done well and was unlucky.
Half time saw Ray Clemence talk about his times at Spurs, just ahead of his induction into the Hall of Fame. Our money had been on Martin Chivers, as he had played for both clubs, but it was good to see Clem back at the Lane, as he was harshly treated when joint manager at the club.
Spurs were playing with a little more freedom and the breaks they made were getting at Southampton. In the search for an equaliser, they were committing men forward and the speed of our counter-attacks left them short at the back. The free-kick for Kaboul's contact with Mane ended in the wall and Tottenham broke out, with Chadli playing the ball left to Rose, but he got the ball caught between his feet as he got into the area and his cross was cleared away. Ryan Mason was playing a full part in proceedings, with good first time passing and getting back to cover when he didn't have the ball, with some neat inter-play with his team-mates showing he is feeling comfortable in the First Team.
When Capoue broke up another Saints move, Chadli was freed on the right of the area and his cross-shot was blocked by Bertrand for a corner, which, when it came in, was dropped under no pressure by Forster. While Southampton hadn't threatened seriously too often ,just after the hour, they almost got an equaliser. A ball looped up into the air in the Spurs area to the right of the goal. Kaboul took charge and volleyed the ball away, but it barely reached the edge of the box and Victor Wanyama for once showed what he could do with a football rather than a tackle and fired a shot at goal which Hugo Lloris did well to beat away as it looked like it might go over his dive.
Southampton's possession football was not totally paying off, so they started to lump long balls to Pelle and Long when he came on as a sub. But when it didn't pay off, Spurs were quick on the break and Vertonghen's run forward played in Rose on the left and his deep cross was once more dropped by the Saints goalie. However, letting in late goals has been Tottenham's downfall in a couple of matches lately, so when Bertrand went on a left wing run and got behind Dier, his low ball across the face of the goal headed for Mane and a leveller looked on the cards. However, with Lloris scuttling across, it must have been enough to put the Senegal striker off and he managed to side-foot wide from a couple of yards out in front of goal.
Southampton huffed and puffed with no real penetration, except for a few soft free-kicks handed to them by Jones, who was instrumental in getting in the way on the edge of the D, as Spurs tried to clear one of them. For goodness sake, with positioning, decision making and judgement all failing him, he must surely be heading to the purgatory of the Championship if this continues.
A welcome win then, with the performance solid rather than spectacular, but it was difficult playing in a game with no flow, as constant stoppages disrupted anything like a pattern to the match. Kaboul and Vertonghen looked solid and Naughton was having a really good game until his removal from the play. Thought that Lamela and Eriksen were both more influential going forward today, with both tracking back too, with Capoue a constant rock on which the Saints' moves broke down. Cutting out the silly mistakes which have cost us and honing the passes in our own back third will further help to settle the team down.
Someone on the way out said that if Adebayor isn't scoring and not holding the ball up in attack, why is he there ? Well, he did it just about OK today. Not brilliantly but adequately. He did chase back and close down, while linking better in the second half. The aspects of his game which are of most concern are his control and his ability to conjure an offside position out of nothing. This must be addressed, as the off-sides are costing us good attacking positions. But it was a fine strike By Eriksen to score and the pressure builds on keepers if they have to do a lot of work ... especially if they don't do it that well, as Forster proved.
A week off now until we visit Manchester City and that will be a test for us to pass, with a heavy defeat there last season heralding the beginning of the end for AVB. It won't do the same for MP, but we might get an idea of how he can set up the team for that sort of challenge.
Southampton were formed of a group of players who migrated to work on the ferries sailing out of the City, who originally were originally from Northampton and took their name from going south.
It is a little known fact
that the first ground of Southampton football club was called the
Dell, because it is rumoured that it was the site of the first
computer manufacturer in the UK in the 1870s.
|Match ball sponsors||-|
|Match programme sponsors||-|
|Match shirt sponsors||-|
|What you thought|
Referee Mike Jones was a disgrace today. The way he was
performing, it would not have surprised me if he had sent Kaboul off
for a shoulder to shoulder (well, as much as it could be between a
6'4" centre forward and a 5' nothing winger). He fell for
every Southampton fall and failed to book Wanyama for serial fouling
and dissent, Tadic for dissent for getting a booking and Bertrand
for an over the top and a jump tackle.
You would like to think that the refs would go back over a game and look at all the things they got wrong, but I guess most don't and that they continue to repeat the mistakes again and again.
How many players cupped a
hand to an ear this weekend and didn't get booked then ??
thought Southampton were really poor today. It was their first
big test since losing to Liverpool and it was a sobering lesson to
them. Spurs didn't play particularly well, but they did enough
to take the three points, although Sadio Mane must be wondering
(like the rest of us) how me missed from right in front of the goal.
Once again, Hugo took the
limelight with a very good save to keep the clean sheet intact, but
my man of the match was Etienne Capoue. The way he sticks a
leg out to rob the opponent of the ball before it gets to him and
the use of his body to get it between the opponent and the ball is
text book. From a player who looked on his way out, he is just
getting better and better.
|Other scores during this week :|
|Aston Villa||0||Manchester City||2||Saturday|
|Hull City||2||Crystal Palace||0||Saturday|
|Liverpool||2||West Bromwich Albion||1||Saturday|
|Swansea City||2||Newcastle United||2||Saturday|
|West Ham United||2||QPR||0||Sunday|
|7||West Ham United||7||3||1||3||12||10||10||+2|
|14||West Bromwich Albion||7||2||2||3||8||9||8||-1|
Position before match : 12th
Position after match : 6th
Position after the weekend : 6th
* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.
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