Southampton vs Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Saints' first of three games in less than a week

Southampton vs Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Saints' first of three games in less than a week

With this fixture being pushed back from its original Boxing Day spot, both teams will be looking to start the week off with a win.

charlie-brown
Charlie Brown

Tonight St. Mary’s plays host to a Premier League clash between Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur; two teams looking to pick up where they left off before their Christmas break.

Saints fans made the short trip to Bournemouth, where they saw their side comfortably put away the locals 3-1. Whilst the Spurs faced a struggling Burnley at White Hart Lane and managed to come-from-behind to win 2-1.

With fixtures coming thick and fast through the next week for tonight’s opponents, they'll be eager start off their busy schedule with all three points.

Hotspurs’ search for consistency

After bowing out of the Champions League, Mauricio Pochettino’s side should be looking to pick up a run of form heading into the last few months of gruelling completion; including the Europa League knockout-stages.

Spurs players have been busy during their 10 day break. Photo: Getty Images
Spurs players have been busy during their 10 day break. Photo: Getty Images

Starting tonight against his former employers, Southampton, where a win would see him claim four victories in his last five league matches – a single 1-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester United.

Although, those three wins were versus some easy prey in the form of relegation strugglers Burnley, Hull and Swansea.

One man he'll be hoping to see goals from is frontman Harry Kane; having lost his touch over the last few fixtures. His late brace sunk West Ham to a 3-2 defeat back in November, however since then he’s only managed two league goals – both coming in the 5-0 rout of Swansea.

The North-London side have been on a 10-day-break prior to tonight's game, something Pochettino has described as ”a good opportunity to be calm, be relaxed and spend time with our families”. But, also that “It’s a break that we’ve used to try to work to improve different aspects of our team”. Will the extended leave make or break Tottenham in this quick-fire run of games?

Puel hopes for more of the same

A question that can also be posed to their opponents. Having enjoyed a similar break in fixtures, manager Claude Puel has spoken of how “fresh and well-rested” his squad will be for Spurs.

Facing the task of managing three matches within a week, Puel has expressed confidence in rotating players; as opposed to scepticism of the tough schedule – simply saying “It's difficult, but we have experience of the European games and we have a good squad to give a good answer in every game”.

Claude Puel with his captain, Jose Fonte. Photo: Michael Steele
Claude Puel with his captain, Jose Fonte. Photo: Michael Steele


Like Kane, striker Jay Rodriguez will be on many people's radars later on; following on from his brace against the Cherries – including a goal-of-the-season contender. Puel has spoken of the whole team’s confidence ahead of this game stating that “we saw good things against Bournemouth”. Detailing the “spontaneity” and “quality”. T

he Frenchman hopes to “stay with this spirit and these good intentions in the last third”. Undoubtably a true statement given the fact that Southampton have only mustered 17 goals so far in the league.

Was the Bournemouth win a flash in the pan or signs of a development?

Squad News

A return from suspension for Oriol Romeu comes just at the right time; fellow midfielder Jordy Clasie will be out for a few games now with a groin injury.

Whilst Charlie Austin and Matt Targett remain sidelined for at least another two or three months.

As for Pochettino, he welcomes key starters back to full fitness in the form of Mousa Dembele and Toby Alderweireld – another man making a return to the South coast.

Forward Erik Lamela won't be making the trip down South due to a hip problem.

Predicted Starting XI’s:

Southampton (4-3-3)  – Forster, Cedric, Fonte, van Dijk, Bertrand, Romeu, Davis, Hojbjerg, Redmond, Rodriguez, Tadic.

Tottenham (4-2-3-1) – Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Dier, Wanyama, Dembele, Eriksen, Alli, Kane.

A Sour Southampton

Before their 2-1 win at home against Tottenham last season in May, Saints’ recent history has been woeful against the Spurs – this was the first win in eight consecutive league fixtures.

The last time these sides met, Southampton picked up the win. Photo: Mike Hewitt/ Getty
The last time these sides met, Southampton picked up the win. Photo: Mike Hewitt/ Getty

Pochettino’s side have been strong away from home aswell; unbeaten in their last four visits to St. Mary’s. You'd have to go all the way back to 2005 to seek a home (1-0) victory for the Saints – Nigel Quashie grabbing the only goal.

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