Spurs v Southampton – Match preview

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Which was the away last team to win at White Hart Lane?

Southampton that’s who. Who is coming for lunch this Sunday? Yes that’s right.

What happened at St James’s Park last May was of course the sort of nightmare that only nightmares have but looking back, the defeat in our final home game was a big sign that things weren’t right and perhaps we should’ve expected the worst. We took the lead through Son but then fell behind to two Stephen Davis goals whilst giving a performance that would give lackadaisical a bad name if it were referred to as such. A last minute, close range, Forster save from Chadli sealed our fate and set up the nauseous season climax.

But back to this year

The last week has been dominated more by who won’t play on Sunday than who will, Harry Kane’s absence will give the visitors something of a fillip, what we must hope is that none of the niggling injuries being carried by Dembélé, Vertonghen, Alderweireld or Wanyama are enough to keep any of them from the battlefield also. One assumes that Lamela and Rose are still hors de combat. As we’re well aware, our strongest XI is very strong, the rest, more meh than mesmerising. Assuming that the week off has allowed everyone time to recover it’ll be a surprise if we field anything other than the team that chewed up the Toffees only with Kane swapped out for Son.

Manolo not Marco

For long periods it has looked as though this was the season that the churn of players and management that traditionally takes place at St Mary’s during the summer months would finally catch up with them but thanks in no small part to the inspired signing of Manolo Gabbiadini (who has scored in his last seven games including three for Napoli and six in four matches since signing for Southampton. Surely if we can’t play Harry then they have to rest Manolo?) look like they may over achieve once more. They currently lie 10th but have two games in hand on the teams around them. Strangely they have played only 4 times since the 4th of February, we have play 8 matches in the same period.

If without the Italian their attack looks anaemic, then minus Fonte and Van Dijk, their defence also looks a tad wan. Maya Yoshida and Jack Stephens have been holding fort at the back but all of West Ham, Watford and Man Utd have put three past them. Romelu, Davis and Ward-Prowse provide energy in the middle whilst Tadic supports Gabbiadini and Redmond up top.

Who needs Kane anyway?

On paper, even without Harry, we should have too much for them. Our midfield should dominate and Eriksen, Walker, Alli and Son can create opportunities. What Kane gives us often is an early goal to build on – replacing this key aspect of Harry’s qualities could be vital not just in this game, but over the coming few weeks.

Andre Marriner is the referee.


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