Tottenham Hotspur vs Southampton Preview: Hosts bid to return to top four

Tottenham Hotspur vs Southampton Preview: Hosts bid to return to top four

Spurs host Saints in the early Boxing Day game.

Oliver Emmerson

Fresh off a Harry Kane inspired win against Burnley, fifth placed Tottenham Hotspur will play host to Southampton in a bid to return to the Premier League top four.

The early clash on Boxing Day gives Mauricio Pochettino's side a chance to leapfrog Liverpool into fourth before the Reds play Swansea City, whilst there is a chance for the Lilywhites to put some daylight between themselves and rivals Arsenal.

Year of the Kane?

Kane was in top form against the Clarets, taking the match-ball home as he scored a hat-trick at Turf Moor, the home ground where Burnley had conceded just three goals all season prior. 

He's matched the record for most Premier League goals scored in a calendar year, standing alongside the legendary Alan Shearer at 36. 

This will be Spurs' last game of 2017, giving Kane one chance to move above Shearer.

His goals and the points against Burnley were only made more pleasing as those around Tottenham dropped points, Manchester City the only side above Spurs to win over the weekend.

Chance for Pellegrino to shine?

Southampton's season thus far has been disappointing without being dire, rarely threatening to spark into life or turn to disaster.

Boxing Day could change things.

Currently in 13th, an unlikely Wembley win could move Saints into the top half, providing a catalyst to attack 2018 in style. 

However, they could move as low as 17th should they be on the receiving end of a defeat, leaving fears of a relegation battle very much a reality for Mauricio Pellegrino

Saints are without a win in six league games but have only lost three of those, so don't count them out when considering a draw.

Team news

Victor Wanyama and Toby Alderweireld remain out for Spurs, who may see manager Mauricio Pochettino shuffle the pack given their fixture congestion.

Ryan Bertrand and Cedric Soares are doubtful for the visitors, who will definitely be without the services of forward Charlie Austin