Pr
 
 
 
 
OPPONENTS Southampton 
                           
COMPETITION Premier League 
DATE Sunday 21st January 2018
VENUE St. Mary's
SOUTHAMPTON  SQUAD 2.  Cedric SOARES
3.  Maya YOSHIDA
5.  Jack STEPHENS
6.  Wesley HOEDT
7.  Shane LONG
8.  Steven DAVIS
10.  Charlie AUSTIN
11.  Dusan TADIC
13.  Alex McCARTHY
14.  Oriol ROMEU
16.  James WARD-PROWSE
17.  Virgil van DIJK
18.  Mario LEMINA
19.  Sofiane BOUFAL
20.  Manolo GABBIADINI
21.  Ryan BETRAND
22.  Nathan REDMOND
23.  Pierre-Emile HOJBJERG
25.  Florin GARDOS
26.  Jeremy PIED
28.  Stuart TAYLOR
30.  Will WOOD
32.  Alfie JONES
33.  Matt TARGETT
34.  Jake FLANNIGAN
35.  Jan BEDNAREK
38.  Sam McQUEEN
39.  Josh SIMS
42.  Jake HESKETH
43.  Yan VALERY
44.  Fraser FORSTER

 
PREVIEW Southampton are a bit of a conundrum at the moment.  A decent enough squad - certainly not the worst in the Premier League - but they cannot buy a win, going ten games without one.  Spurs will hope to prolong their agony on Sunday, with a need to keep picking up points as it is tight at the top, but Southampton will not want to be dragged into a relegation battle and Mauricio Pellegrino will wan tot try and hold onto his job by moving them up the table.

Funds are available for the Saints having sold Virgil van Dijk for GBP75 million, but the selling is the easy part.  Trying to find sufficiently comparable replacements is not always that simple.  Southampton have a good Academy that has churned out players who are now playing elsewhere, but the current crop do not seem of the same quality and the likes of Ward-Prowse, Stephens and Targett are struggling to find their feet, which is made more difficult in a team having a tough time.  Experienced strikers such as Charlie Austin, Shane Long and Manolo Gabbiadini have not been hitting the net because of injury, profligacy and loss of form respectively, so they have had to try and stop them going in at the other end, but that has been unsuccessful, even before van Dijk left.

The back four from Hoedt, Cedric, Bertrand, Stephens and Yoshida are OK, but lack the resilience to withstand constant attacking.  Both full backs like to push on, but will have to curtail their instincts if they are to defend well, which they will need to do against the likes of Dele, Eriksen, Son and Kane.

The midfield looks pretty strong on paper, with Ward-Prowse currently finding his shooting boots, alongside a selection from Tadic, Hojbjerg, Boufal, Lemina, Davis, Romeu and Redmond, who was roundly booed by his own fans in the Wembley game.  It shows that all is not well at St. Mary's if there is that level of dissent and with this game being at home, the Southampton fans could quickly turn on the players and the manager if Tottenham run away with it early on, as they are sometimes capable of doing.  There is talent in the midfield and with Boufal and Lemina as successive record signings, they should be able to conjure something up, but their inability to impose themselves on games has left the Saints struggling in their final third.

Pellegrino needs to bring in reinforcements during the January transfer window which will be too late for this match, but with a stash of cash and a low league position, big wages is all that might tempt a player to join.  With top quality not usually available in this window anyway, it may be very tricky finding key players to turn their season around.

Having been so open on Boxing Day, I expect the home side to try and shut up shop, to deny Spurs the opportunity to find space to get through to goal.  However, it is getting to the point where Southampton need three points and to do that they will need to score.  They got two at Wembley, but then Spurs were confident that would always score more than they would concede.  I think that Saints might be a little more attacking, but not too much and that will only come when Tottenham have made the breakthrough, so I think we will have too much fire-power for them.
 

PREDICTION Southampton    1        Tottenham Hotspur    3
 
LAST SEASON'S MEETING For a look back at the corresponding match report from last season, click here.
RESULTS HISTORY Click here for results, match reports and facts on meetings with Southampton
SOUTHAMPTON TEAM NEWS :
Charlie Austin's hamstring injury rules him out of this match, while Maya Yoshida (hamstring) will have a late fitness test. 
 
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Toby Alderweireld is on the way back from his hamstring injury, but will not be ready to play at Southampton, with Danny Rose (knee) and  Harry Winks (ankle) also missing.  Hugo Lloris is a doubt as he has been ill this week.
 
COVERAGE :

TV
Sky Sports 1 - (live coverage)
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 1) - Sunday 22.30 (highlights)  Also available online.

For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here.

Radio :  
BBC RADIO  Live coverage
Commentary may be found on
>   BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW
TalkSport (DAB or 1089 MW)
Absolute Radio  (1215 AM/MW)

If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne)
SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 15.00 matches
Australia (Sydney) 
Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
Singapore
Media Corp Radio  -  93.8 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
South Africa 
SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
Uganda  Radio 1 (English) 90.0 FM, Radio 2 (Lugandan) 87.9 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean) 
Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :
The THFC Official website   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London -
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01tdhcm  Live commentaries listed down the page.
TalkSport (DAB or 1089 MW)

 
So
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Southampton  1 (1)  
                                                                     

Premier League
Sunday 21st January 2018
St. Mary's
Tottenham Hotspur  1 (1)

Kick off 16:00
 
 
Goal-scorers  
Sanchez (o.g.)  14m 08s Kane  17m 22s
 
Cards  
    
Stephens (foul on Kane)  48
Romeu (foul on Alli) 60
 

    

    
Sissoko  (foul on Bertrand) 57
Dembele   (persistent fouling) 75
Trippier (foul on Boufal) 79 

    
 

 
 
Crowd :   31,613 Weather :  Heavy rain
Referee :  Kevin Friend (Leicestershire) Assistant Referees :  Mr. H. Lennard; Mr. M. WIlkes
Fourth Official :  Graham Scott  
Southampton kicked off and played towards the North Stand end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 6 minutes.
 
 
 
Southampton : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
13  Alex McCARTHY

  2  Cedric SOARES
  5  Jack STEPHENS     
  6
  Wesley HOEDT
21  Ryan BERTRAND

23  Pierre-Emila HOJBJERG  (19  Sofiane BOUFAL  65)
14  Oriel ROMEU
     

18  Mario LEMINA  (  8  Steven DAVIS  80)
11  Dusan TADIC
16  James WARD-PROWSE

20  Manolo GABBIADINI  (61  Michael OBAFEMI  82)

Unused subs: 
44
  Fraser FORSTER
26  Jeremy PIED
35  Jan BEDNAREK
22  Nathan REDMOND
 

  13  Michel VORM

24  Serge AURIER  (  2  Kieran TRIPPIER  72     )
  5  Jan VERTONGHEN
  6  Davinson SANCHEZ 
33  Ben DAVIES

15  Eric DIER
19  Mousa DEMBELE       (12  Victor WANYAMA  85)

17  Moussa SISSOKO     
20  DELE Alli
  7  Heung-Min SON  (11  Erik LAMELA  70)

10  Harry KANE 

Unused subs: 
22  Paulo GAZZANIGA
37
  Kyle WALKER-PETERS
2
1  Juan FOYTH
18  Fernando LLORENTE

 
Manager :  Mauricio Pellegrino Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   Virgin Media Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

Sodden pitch, sodden players and a sodden draw.  Southampton set up to give Spurs a hard time and the pitch was well suited to their "dig in the trenches" attitude, but they did go forward on occasion, getting the majority of the decisions from the sodden referee, who seemed to have got the pages of his "Guide to the Laws of the Game" stuck together.  Inconsistency was the only constant in his game.

Without Christian Eriksen and Hugo Lloris, Tottenham went into this game at St. Maryís with Michel Vorm in goal and Moussa Sissoko in midfield and whether it was the loss of the influential midfielder or the weather itself that upset Spurs, but they couldn't get their flowing football going all afternoon.  There were a few changes in the Southampton team from the Boxing Day thrashing, which seemed to perk up their play.  Gabbiadini was quickly into the action with an early taken shot inside ten seconds that made Vorm dive to stop the ball on the edge of his six yard box. There was another chance after four minutes, when Tadic was sent away on the left and his low ball to the neat post was air kicked by Gabbiadini and Vorm had to be quick out to the ball to beat Hojbjerg to it.  Another low ball into the box, at the other end, by Aurier looked no danger, but Hoedt shanked it off for a corner that was worked short with the Saints defence asleep. Davies' low driven cross had to be cleared desperately.

Tadic created another good opportunity with a low ball in from the left, but it was Hojbjergís turn to completely miss the ball at the near post. Spurs moved to the other end and Daviesí cross saw Hoedt head narrowly wide of his own goal. The corner brought another, but it did not yield a chance.  Meanwhile, Southampton continued to work the left wing and in the 15th minute, Bertrand just reached Tadicís pass to cross low and Davinson Sanchez slid in to get to the ball, which went into Vormís goal off the base of his right-hand post.  It was an unfortunate way to go behind and the sort of goal you are not supposed to get when you are struggling towards the bottom of the table.

Tottenhamís response was to win a corner from a long ball looking for Kane. Vertonghen won it at the far post and Alliís touch fell in front of Dier, who smacked his shot against the foot of the left-hand post.  Another corner a minute later saw Kane attack the ball to power the ball home from four yards out to equalise. It was poor defending, as Southampton left him a free run on the ball, but showed the versatility of the striker to score goals of all sorts.

The home side won two corners, but Spurs were stronger in repelling them than Southampton were. There was a period of play that got bogged down in midfield, but when Davies drove in a shot that was going well wide just before the half hour, Sissoko got a volley on it, but it was guided wide.  Ward-Prowse was doing his best Mark Noble impersonation, kicking out at Vertonghen on the floor and surprisingly not getting a card for it. When Hojbjerg went to the floor for the umpteenth time, the free-kick landed on Stephensí head, but despite being unmarked, he managed to put the ball wide of the angle of crossbar and post with the goal gaping.

Spurs were raging when Southampton won yet another soft free-kick, as Dembele was racking up the fouls, while the inconsistency from Friend made the players annoyed when free-kicks went one way but not the other. Tottenham were opening up the pitch with some good passing, so, when Aurier laid the ball into Dierís path, his low shot saw McCarthy get down to get behind it. Vorm had to make a similar save from Lemina five minutes before the break.

The interval saw some local youngsters embarrassed by having to run around the pitch with the ball in a relay, but the weather wasn't really suited to this sort of "entertainment" as some of the kids obviously didn't want to be there.  Both teams returned without any changes, with Spurs out on the way ahead of the home team.

Son went through onto a pass down the middle, but a defenderís foot got there first, forcing his keeper into a hurried clearance. Southampton were rattled and Stephens went into the refereeís notebook for hauling down Harry Kane.  The home team were presented with an opportunity by a loose Eric Dier pass that let Ward-Prowse have a shot from outside the box, but Vorm got down and behind the ball quickly.  Spurs were trying to move the ball to hurt Southampton.  Dele put in an inviting ball from the right, which Hoedt managed to hack away. There was little flow to the game, with one team attacking and then the other, as both struggled to find their passing range off the slippery pitch. Tadic was soon begging with the ref to book Dembele for another foul and he was getting closer to a yellow card with each tackle. As it was Sissoko and Romeu were the next to see yellow, as the game got scrappy, which was what Southampton wanted.  Hojbjerg even went down when he failed to tackle Dembele, but Tottenham were going close with Kane missing a far post corner from Davies and then Dele pulled a shot a yard wide from the edge of the box. From a similar position, Gabbiadini shot straight at Vorm after he got the bounce of the ball.

Spur were looking better on the break, finding space to get passes into the box and Sissoko set up Kane for a shot that was blocked for a corner, which McCarthy came to claim. Alli got the ball in the box, but could not turn and when it was played back, Jan tried from 25 yards, with the ball slipping a yard wide of the goal.  Mousa got his yellow eventually, but Lemina should have had a card when he pulled back Lamela as Spurs were breaking away. Inconsistently, Friend then booked Trippier for pulling Boufal back !  I give in !  The game was filled with pulls and trips, but the clearest chance fell to substitute Erik Lamela, as Sissoko played a short pass to him from the right, just a yard out and his shot took a touch off Stephens to go wide, but the officials couldnít even see that.

With three minutes left, Tadic again put a low ball in front of a Southampton player and substitute Obafemi missed from six yards out. Cedric tried a shot from way out but it went way wide, while Tadic again played a good pass for Boufal, but he waited too long and his shot was blocked by Sanchez. Tottenham looked to finish the game with a goal, when Lamela was also denied by a block, but the corner brought a scramble but no clear sight of goal. But again, Tottenham worked the ball around the box and Kane was in on the left of goal, but his left foot shot pulled it across goal and too far away from Wanyama coming in.  Five minutes of added time were to be played and Tottenham looked to build moves, but Victor blazed well over from long range.

Owing to Southamptonís set up and the poor conditions, Spurs found it hard to move the ball quickly enough. Missing Christian Eriksen should not have been an excuse, but the flu bug that had run through the squad might have made some of the players in the side lack the energy they usually have. The hosts were physically dominant, mainly helped by the officiating, but Tottenham created enough chances to get something more than a point from the game. Only two efforts on target makes it difficult to win games and the side will have to be more inventive and more clinical in the next three league games.

Sanchez had a rocky first half, but settle din the second and most Spurs players were guilty of losing the ball, either not strong enough on it or wasteful when passing.  It was nowhere near our normal standard of play and compared very poorly to the display against Everton.  We stay two points behind Liverpool ,who play their game in hand against Swansea City tomorrow night.  By the end of the night, we could be five points behind them.  There is still a long way to go until the end of the season, but it the coming month that will no doubt prove vital in how our season will pan out.

Kirk Hammerton

 
 

 

PUB FACT*

Southampton once wanted to erect a statue to one of their favourite sons - Mike Channon - complete with rotating arm goal celebration.
 

 

 
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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Arsenal 4 Crystal Palace 1 Saturday
Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Chelsea 4 Saturday
Burnley 0 Manchester United 1 Saturday
Everton 1 West Bromwich Albion 1 Saturday
Leicester City 2 Watford 0 Saturday
Manchester City 3 Newcastle United 1 Saturday
Stoke City 2 Huddersfield Town 0 Saturday
West Ham United London 1 Bournemouth 1 Saturday
Swansea City 1 Liverpool 0 Monday

 

League Table  2017-18
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester City 24 21 2 1 70 18 66 +52
2 Manchester United 24 16 5 3 50 16 53 +33
3 Chelsea 24 15 5 4 45 16 50 +29
4 Liverpool 24 13 8 3 54 30 47 +25
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 24 13 6 5 47 21 45 +25
6 Arsenal 24 12 6 6 45 31 42 +14
7 Leicester City 24 9 7 8 36 32 34 +4
8 Burnley 24 9 7 8 19 21 34 -2
9 Everton 24 7 7 10 26 39 28 -13
10 Watford 24 7 5 12 33 44 26 -11
11 West Ham United London 24 6 8 10 30 42 26 -12
12 AFC Bournemouth 24 6 7 11 25 36 25 -11
13 Crystal Palace 24 6 7 11 22 37 25 -15
14 Huddersfield Town 24 6 6 12 19 41 24 -19
15 Newcastle United 24 6 5 13 22 34 23 -12
16 Brighton & Hove Albion 24 5 8 11 17 33 23 -16
17 Stoke City 24 6 5 13 25 50 23 -25
18 Southampton 24 4 10 10 24 35 22 -11
19 West Bromwich Albion 24 3 11 10 19 31 20 -13
20 Swansea City 24 5 5 14 15 35 20 -20

 

Position before match :  5th
Position after match :  5th
Position after the weekend :  5th

 

* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone might think so.

 

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