Whilst this was a deserved win, we owe no small amount of gratitude to the late Christmas gifts offered by Lady Luck and Mike Dean. I’m not sure who checks Santa’s list once or even twice (not Graham Poll) but clearly someone in our side has been very very good in 2016.
Two of our goals, including Dele Alli’s crucial, against the run of play, equaliser, were made possible only by deflections to the final passes from first Sissoko (for Alli) and then Eriksen for Son – our third strike and the one that finally made the home side give up the ghost.
Lady Luck intervened when Mike ‘look how fast I can make my eyeballs spin’ Dean decided to send off Redmond after he’d pulled back Alli in the box following a superb counter attack led by Sissoko. It was the right decision according to the letter of the law but Dean took an age to execute it for some odd reason. I suspect the voices in his head told him that Harry was going to scoop his penalty over the bar (interference by divot judging by the reaction of One Of Our Own) hence the goal scoring opportunity really had disappeared. That would’ve put us 3-1 up and even if Redmond had stayed on it’s hard to see how Southampton could’ve fought their way back into the game given how dominant we were.
Kane had a quiet game but it was a great header from him that gave us a 2-1 lead just after half-time.
We had to wait until the 85th minute for Son to wrap up the game, Alli’s cool finish a couple of minutes later after some impressive work from Rose was cruel to the home team but we’ll take it thanks. Our goal difference is now level with the South London underachievers at 20.
Saints fans might argue that The Fates were involved once more when Hugo went through a ten minute spell in the second half where he could not for the life of him stop passing to red and white shirts 30 yards from goal however it was the incompetence of the Southampton players that meant that no damage was done. Lloris could hardly have been worse if he was doing it on purpose… I’ve a friend who insists that Barcelona etc will never sign him whilst his distribution is this bad, maybe there’s a clause concerning limits on successful pass completion written into his new contract.
Dele Alli was excellent, Eriksen and Sissoko very good and Wanyama omnipresent and solid. Once again though you have to tip your hats to Walker and Rose who were outstanding and carried the majority of our threat. The battle between these two and Alonso and Moses next week will be crucial to the outcome.
Walker and Vertonghen will get a full week off before then as both picked up their fifth yellows and will miss the trip to Watford. The full back was unfortunate but the centre back silly. At the death of the game he retaliated after an over aggressive challenge from Long. Alderweireld must be 50/50 for the weekend meaning that we could be set for Dier and Wimmer. Oh dear.
It’s been a long while since our last away win so it’s great to get back to winning ways. It also shows the benefit of a few days off before a game, not that Pochettino needs convincing of this shortly before we enter cup season.
Vicarage Road on Sunday lunchtime and another tricky looking away game.
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