OPPONENTS Southampton
COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Sunday 22nd December 2013
VENUE St. Mary's






With Spurs having a new man in charge and Southampton hitting a bit of a wobble after their fine start to the season, it is not perhaps the ingredients for the making of a great game.  There is a need for Spurs to get back on track by getting points again after a couple of losses - one in the league and one in the League Cup, while the home team will be trying to get back among the upper reaches of the table with a home win.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino was a virtual unknown when he arrived in the place of the popular Nigel Pearson, but it appears that the Southampton board had done their homework (please take note Mr. Levy) and he has stepped the Saints up to a new level.  Utilising the squad that was there last season with the additions of striker Dani Osvaldo and Lyon defender Dejan Lovren, along with the Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyama, the team have played an open passing game, which may suit Tottenham.

With the likes of Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez being drafted into the England squad, the youth development element of the Southampton team is as strong as ever and Luke Shaw at left back will be the next off the production line.  Ricky Lambert was bought in, but his form up front for Southampton has been good enough to take him into the national team, where he has continued his scoring.

In goal, they have eccentric Pole Artur Boruc side-lined with injury, as, because we saw at Highbury, can try too hard to be clever with his feet. Replacement Paulo Gazzaniga was formerly with Gillingham, with little experience in top flight football, but he has been able to show a bit of form in the games he has played since Boruc has been out.

The defence includes the above-mentioned Lovren, who we had little trouble with when we played Lyon in the Europa League last season.  Also, there are Jose Fonte, who was previously let go by Crystal Palace and Nathaniel Clyne, who followed the same route, but is one for the future, with youth on his side and a degree of attacking talent in his boots.  Danny Fox is still there, but he has a rush of blood too often to shift Clyne from the right back position at the moment.

Steven Davis is the hard worker in midfield, but Lallana tracks back and gets forward as well.  Jack Cork is like Lallana light, with experience, but not as much presence in the midfield, while Morgan Schneiderlin is also mobile with an ability to pop up in scoring positions.  Saints have been missing out on the Uruguayan Gaston Ramirez, who has been injured for a lot of the time since he was signed, but he is a dead ball expert and someone who can pull the strings from an attacking midfield role.  James Ward-Prowse is a pacy wide midfielder, who is another youth product who is being tipped for the top.  Whether that is with Southampton remains to be seen.

With Lambert and Osvaldo taking the goal-scoring credits, ex-Spur Lee Barnard has had to go out on loan to get some football and Jay Rodriguez is often deployed as a winger, but with a licence to roam inside and along the line to probe ways through on goal.  Osvaldo is a big strong boy, but has skill in both feet and can score from the smallest of gaps.  Good in the air, we will need Michael Dawson back to provide some aerial power, but the Argentinian needs to be watched when the ball is on the floor too.  Rodriguez is tricky on the bal and can take a goal well, so Spurs will need to close him down sharply when he is given the ball.

Southampton have injury problems, with Boruc, Wanyama, Do Prado and Kelvin Davis out and Nathaniel Clyne facing a late fitness test, but their side is more settled than Tottenham and with home advantage and Spurs still missing some players, I think that Southampton will take the points, leaving Spurs to pick themselves up for the pre-and post-Christmas games at home against Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion, which they must get something out of.

PREDICTION Southampton     1         Tottenham Hotspur    0
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
Tottenham are still missing Jan Vertonghen (ankle), Younes Kaboul (thigh), Harry Kane (back), Sandro (knock), Andros Townsend (hamstring) and Paulinho (suspension).  Danny Rose should be available with Christian Eriksen and Emmanuel Adebayor might be selected up front.
Goalkeepers Artur Boruc and Kelvin Davis are definitely out for this match, along with Guy Do Prado (knee), Danny Fox (hamstring) and Victor Wanyama (shin).  Nathaniel Clyne faces a late test on his hamstring to see if he can play at full back.

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Southampton   2 (1)                                                                                     Tottenham Hotspur  3 (1)
Premier League
Sunday 22nd December 2013                                                                                                                    Kick off 13:30
St. Mary's
Lallana  13
Lambert  59
Adebayor  25
Hooiveld (o.g.) 54
Adebayor 64
Ward-Prowse (foul on Rose) 67  


Sigurdsson (foul on Davis) 39


Crowd :   31,455 Weather :  Dry, some sun, chilly
Referee :  Chris Foy (St. Helens) Assistant Referees :  P. Kirkup; M. Wilkes
Fourth Official :  Phil Dowd -
Spurs kicked off and played towards the - end in the first half.
Match time : - 90 + 6 minutes.
Southampton  : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit

22  Calum CHAMBERS
  Jus HOOIVELD  (o.g.)
5  Dejan LOVREN
13  Danny FOX (40 GALLAGHER 78)

18  Jack CORK (16  James WARD-PROWSE 64     )
8  Steven DAVIS (10 Gaston RAMIREZ 70)
22  Adam LALLANA 

  7  Ricky LAMBERT 

Unused subs: 
41  Cody CROPPER
  3  Maya YOSHIDA
6  Jose FONTE
38  Harrison REED

  25  Hugo LLORIS

  2  Kyle WALKER
20  Michael DAWSON (c)
  3  Danny ROSE

23  Christian ERIKSEN
Mousa DEMBELE  (42 Nabil BENTALEB 50)
11  Erik LAMELA  (21 Nacer CHADLI 61)

10  Emmanuel ADEBAYOR   
  9  Roberto SOLDADO  (18 Jermain DEFOE 85)

Unused subs: 
24  Brad FRIEDEL

15  Etienne CAPOUE
14  Lewis HOLTBY

Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino Manager :  Tim Sherwood
Sponsor :   gap3 Shirt sponsor :  Hewlett Packard
Kit Supplier :  adidas Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

A sunny St. Mary's welcomed Spurs and with it a team of Lilywhites packed with attacking intent. With the AVB era ended, the days of a solid side designed to take points away from home, but a team going out to go for goals, with little thought of a defensive midfielder among them.  But fortune favoured Tim Sherwood in his first league match in charge, as Spurs did the Christmas thing and shared five goal, but took more than their fair share.  But according to Mauricio Pochettino, it was Southampton's fault as they were the Santa Claus' giving out Christmas gifts to Spurs in the second half.

Three minutes in, a foul against Dawson gave Lambert an early opportunity to smash a free kick at Lloris, who had the sun in his eyes but no cap. Luckily, the effort went straight at him and he held it well low down to his right. For a spell of about five minutes, neither team could keep the ball. When Southampton got it, they tested the back four with two crosses into the box that Dawson and Rose headed away.

Adam Lallana put Spurs 0-1 behind in thirteen minutes when he received the ball from the left, turned Vlad Chiriches 25 yards out and shot right footed to Lloris' right and it went in off the post. Spurs had given the Southampton captain too much space and he made the most of it.

Almost immediately from the kick off Rose got Sigurdsson taking a pass inside Chambers and firing a long range shot at goal, but hitting it too high.  but Spurs could have gone two down in the 24th minute, when Danny Rose slipped on the left and let the ball go to a Southampton man, who played it inside to Lallana, who fed it onto Rodriguez. He took it first time and tried to curl it form left of centre past Lloris, but put it wide of the left hand post.

As it was, it was soon 1-1. Adebayor got the ball, passed it so wide left to Soldado that it looked like the move had broken down, but the Spaniard's cross picked out Adebayor's run and he stuck out a long leg to volley it past Gazzaniga from point blank range to level the score. Getting between Hooiveld and Fox, Ade made a great position to score from.

Spurs were getting a bit of joy on the right and when Dembele played Walker down the line, his low ball in was met by Sigurdsson, but his shot was blocked and went wide. Gylfi picked up a booking for bringing down Davis as he ran past him, which was surprising, as Chris Foy (perhaps not so surprising then) didn't book Davis earlier, when he cynically tripped Rose when he went past him on the left wing.

At half-time, a frankly inappropriate game of the Christmas Sack Race saw a Saints fan race along the pitch with a ball as his trousers fell down around his ankles.  My Goodness !!  There were children present you know ;o)

Spurs needed to regroup to sort out the lack of closing down they had to do to stop Southampton finding space coming forward.  And that was how they started the second half, with some good pressure on the home players and their goal, but Dembele was still feeling the injury caused by having the full and considerable weight of Lambert falling on his knee in the first half and had to be substituted with Nabil Bentaleb coming on.

We were still giving the ball away rather easily, but were managing to get it away from the Saints players, especially when Eriksen nicked it away from Lallana in the box, after he had made a yard to shoot. Bentaleb seemed confident in his first few touches and was involved in the move that gave Tottenham the lead in the 54th minute. The ball was worked down the right, with Rose giving the ball inside to Eriksen. It got to him off a Southampton leg and he returned the ball to Rose going to the dead ball line. He just managed to hit a low ball into the six yard box, where Hooiveld got a touch on it to tuck it into his own net under keeper Gazzaniga.

Lallana got away on the right, with Dawson dragged over and Lloris coming out to it, the England midfielder pulled the ball across the edge of the box for Ricky Lambert to put the ball into an empty net in the 60th minute to make it 2-2, just when it looked as though Spurs were holding Southampton at bay.

A minute later, Walker's through ball down the right channel saw Adebayor run past his marker and Gazzaniga stay on his line, but as the Togo forward went through, the keeper came out and managed to block his shot, with the ball dropping to Fox to clear.

Spurs then regained the lead in the 64th minute. Walker's throw on the right was given to Adebayor was touched back to substitute Chadli and with a kind rebound, the ball went in front of Adebayor to sweep it past the keeper from about five yards out.

It should have been 4-2 a minute later, when Soldado was through on his own on the right by Ade's flick on, but he pulled his shot across goal and wide. It was the sort of chance you hoped that he would take to silence his critics. Then again, Roberto got away from Lovren to meet Chadli's low cross after tricking the full back, but his shot went into the ground and bounced over the bar from five yards out. Adebayor then played Soldado in on the right wing and he smashed a shot at goal, but hit the side-netting.

Adebayor went wide on the right and as Hooiveld tackled him, Chadli followed up, but curled his shot wide left from 25 yards out. Lloris was troubled by a high free-kick right in the six yard box, which he managed to punch away under pressure, but he had no trouble seeing Ramirez's chip from 25 yards float over his bar. Hugo was quick off his line though to deny Rodriguez as he raced onto Lallana's through ball into the box.

Pochettino brought on a forward for a defender, but Ward-Prowse then had to drop back, which created the impetus to make a chance for Lallana, but his shot from a narrow angle on the right could not beat Lloris.

Spurs took off Soldado, but this time brought on Defoe rather than trying to stiffen up the midfield. The midfield were working hard to shut down space and players on the ball. Lallana took a dive when Bentaleb closed him down and Foy bought it. The free kick played in with pace saw Lloris choose to punch it, when he might have caught the ball, but the move continued with another high ball into the box, with a header floating across the goal and wide.

A Southampton corner in the first minute of added time saw Lloris come out to punch it, but it went straight to Ricky Lambert just inside the18 yard line. His shot was down into the ground and like Soldado before him, it bounced over the bar.

There were no more clear chances, with Spurs taking the ball off Southampton players and holding on to it to run the clock down.

The Southampton goal in the first half had been worked from their right back position and went through the midfield without a challenge. Finding space behind the midfield and in front of the back four, Lallana had made the shooting opportunity to hit it low past Lloris. It was too easy a goal to give away. And Spurs cannot afford to give away goals easily.

The way Spurs came back was impressive, as were the performances of Emmanuel Abebayor and Nabil Bentaleb. The second half hunt group tactic worked a treat and Adebayor and Soldado look a decent partnership.

With Sherwood masterminding a win away from home with three goals, it must be a boost for his chances of getting an extended run in the job. But with games against Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion coming up – teams who play the way we don't like, it will need another couple of good results over Christmas to turn Levy's head in Sherwood's direction.

Gary Sampson


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What you thought
Ted Maul Jamie Redknapp makes me sick. His comment son Sky about how badly the team have been playing for 18 months and it not being what the Spurs fans wanting, why doesn't he just come out and say “My Dad is great and Spurs can't live without him.”

Things weren't always that great under Harry. His substitutions left a lot to be desired and those periods of the season when we lost points to teams we should have been beating that cost us big time were evident that his tenure wasn't all rose tinted wine and roses. His courting of the England job showed no loyalty, so why was Jamie surprised when the club ended his employment ?

Why do Sky keep on putting inappropriate “Experts” on our games other than to wind Spurs fans up. I don't see it happen to other clubs, so when we win a game, how is it suddenly that Tim Sherwood is a Harry acolyte and nothing is down to him ?
Give the man credit, much as he took the blame for Wednesday's defeat against West Ham.

Will Levy see it that way or Jamie's way ? Hopefully, whatever decision he makes, it will be for more than 18 months and will be the Tottenham Way.
- -.



Other scores during this week :
Crystal Palace 0 Newcastle United 3 Saturday
Fulham 2 Manchester City 4 Saturday
Liverpool 3 Cardiff City 1 Saturday
Manchester United 3 West Ham United 1 Saturday
Stoke City 2 Aston Villa 1 Saturday
Sunderland 0 Norwich City 0 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 1 Hull City 1 Saturday
Swansea City 1 Everton 2 Sunday
Arsenal 0 Chelsea 0 Monday




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Liverpool 17 11 3 3 42 19 36 +23
2 Arsenal 17 11 3 3 33 17 36 +16
3 Manchester City 17 11 2 4 51 20 35 +31
4 Chelsea 17 11 4 3 32 18 34 +14
5 Everton 17 9 7 1 29 16 34 +13
6 Newcastle United 17 9 3 5 24 22 30 +2
7 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 17 9 3 5 18 23 30 -5
8 Manchester United 17 8 4 5 28 20 28 +8
9 Southampton 17 6 6 5 22 17 24 +5
10 Stoke City 17 5 5 7 16 19 21 -3
11 Swansea City 17 5 5 7 23 23 20 0
12 Hull City 17 5 5 7 14 20 20 -6
13 Aston Villa 17 5 4 8 17 23 19 -6
14 Norwich City 17 5 4 8 15 29 19 -14
15 Cardiff City 17 4 5 8 13 25 17 -12
16 West Bromwich Albion 17 3 7 7 18 23 16 -5
17 West Ham United 17 3 5 9 14 22 14 -8
18 Crystal Palace 17 4 1 12 11 27 13 -13
19 Fulham 17 4 1 12 17 34 13 -17
20 Sunderland 17 2 4 11 12 30 10 -19


Position before match :  8th
Position after match :  7th
Position after the weekend :  7th

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