Gallery: Player Ratings: Southampton 1–0 Tottenham Hotspur

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Paulo Gazzaniga - 6

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The Argentine wasn’t really tested today as he wasn’t forced into any difficult saves, but he was still largely safe both with his hands and feet. He also commanded his area well, especially from set pieces. Unfortunately, he couldn’t do much to save Ings’ goal.

Opinion

Tottenham Hotspur failed to close the gap to Chelsea and Top 4 yet again with a loss against Southampton on New Year’s Day. It was a frustrating performance from start to finish, which was made worse by the injuries to Ndombele and Kane.

Mourinho tried to combat the recent midfield problems by starting Eriksen alongside Ndombele to have more creativity centrally. However, this decision backfired with Eriksen’s poor performance and Ndombele’s injury early on. The game’s only goal came in the 17th minute from Danny Ings who embarrassed Alderweireld with a sombrero inside the box and a cool finish past Gazzaniga. The soft midfield which provided little creativity and possession caused extra problems by leaving the defence exposed, and it was no coincidence that both Alderweireld and Vertonghen had their worst performances of the season.

Tottenham’s search for an equalizer from that point onwards was very difficult to watch with the team struggling to string together more than a few passes. There was very little cohesion between teammates and understanding of attacking play, and the play belonged more to a relegation battling team rather than a Top 4 challenging one.

Tottenham’s best chance came from a corner when Vertonghen found himself unmarked at the back post but he hit it over the bar. Kane had a goal disallowed from a free kick when he converted from close range but it was ruled offside by a slim margin. The striker also injured himself on the play, pulling his hamstring and putting himself out of contention for at least a few weeks. The game mercifully ended after Spurs created nothing in the last 20 minutes and never looked threatening.

The next league game is against Liverpool at home in 10 days, and looking at the form of both teams and the injuries sustained from this game, it doesn’t look like an exciting prospect for Spurs fans. Mourinho is now facing the same issues Pochettino is facing with an unbalanced and aging squad, and he needs to find the answers quickly or this season could be over by March.

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