Southampton at home on Sunday afternoon, not a fixture that would normally cause much stress but the back story, Mauricio Pochettino’s move to the Smoke from the Sticks, gives the game a little bit more of an edge, from a Saints point of view anyway. I’m pretty sure that anyone who gets a warm fuzzy feeling when Spurs are mentioned is more concerned by the fact that we’re playing a team in form when we’re struggling a tad rather than any lingering feelings of loss and being jilted they may have on the South coast.
Southampton sold and bought extensively over the summer of course and if one believes the evidence of autumn have pretty much by accident ended up with a better team than last year as a result. New boys Pelle and Tadic have done well, Clyne and Schneiderlin seem to have moved up a notch, they’ve upgraded their keeper and they’ve not even bedded in fully their transfer deadline day buys Mane and Alderweireld yet, both players that we would’ve been wise to try and hoover up if the opportunity was there.
They were unlucky to lose to Liverpool on the opening day and couldn’t overcome those awkward Baggies at home in the next game but apart from that they’ve been whupping all-comers and currently sit second in the still not quite out of nappies Premier League table.
Ourselves, we come off the back of the good draw at the Haemorrhoids, a result achieved by digging in and countering. Some pragmatists may say that similar tactics might be the best route to a result in this game, especially given the familiarity many of the the visitors will have with Pochettino’s favoured system and philosophy, we are though unlikely to see a repeat approach even if we do, depending upon Rose’s fitness, get the same lineup.
Personally I’m all in favour of keeping it tight and seeing what happens; until Adebayor snaps out of whatever’s ailing him, we just haven’t got the firepower to get involved in an open game. I’m not saying ‘go and see clowns if you want entertainment’, but remember our expectations are low this season, though not so low that we should be ok with many more West Brom performances and results.
As mentioned, I think it unlikely that we’ll see any changes from last weekend. Dembele I believe turned an ankle in the days before last week’s game and this no doubt helped make Poch’s mind up about Mason. Having thrown him in it’s only right now that the youngster who’s older than Eriksen, Lamela and Dier gets a chance to see if he can swim. Whilst he moves the ball forward with speed and accuracy he’ll be in the team.
Kane had a spiffing game against Besiktas whilst Soldado had another stinker; another so-so display from Adebayor may see Harry get the nod in the not too distant future, he’s looking hungry and confident. Adebayor often plays at his best when he feels he’s got a point to prove so dropping him in favour of Harry may even give him the kick up the arse he apparently needs. It’s unlikely to happen this weekend though as I say.
A tough game, all in all. An early goal will do us the world of good. Mike Jones is down to referee. COYS.
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