Southampton 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur: Solid Saints frustrate a sluggish Spurs side who lose ground on top four

A frustrating afternoon for Tottenham Hotspur in the race for a top-four spot, a win would've taken them into fourth place ahead of Liverpool but they failed to make the most of the opportunity, drawing 1-1 against Southampton.

The Lilywhites struggled in what was a dull day down on the south coast. 

Just 26 days after an emphatic 5-2 victory over the Saints, Tottenham really underperformed in a game which seemed a certain three points. 

Spurs struggled to break down a solid Southampton side, in which they were unable to create many clear-cut chances. 

The visitors' afternoon was summed up when in the 90th minute Harry Kane squandered a fantastic opportunity to grab all three points. 

The Saints may feel unlucky not to come away with more than just a point, with debutant Michael Obefemi missing a glorious opporunity late on. 

However, in the grand scheme of things it may prove a valuable point for Southampton who will be encouraged by their performance. 

Shaky start

Spurs found themselves one goal down after just 15 minutes, he cross from Ryan Bertrand was turned into the net by Spurs defender Davinson Sanchez, via the post. 

This came after a lively start at both ends with both goalkeepers being tested. 

The Saints were value for their lead though after they proved a constant threat down both flanks with the Tottenham full-backs getting caught high up the field on numerous occasions. 

Kane levels the proceedings

The hosts' lead only lasted for three minutes, as Harry Kane scored the 99th Premier League goal of his career, heading in Ben Davies' corner. 

The Englishman found himself enough space inside the box to divert the cross beyond a helpless Alex McCarthy

The quick-fire responce was needed by the visitors as it would have been easy for the hosts to attempt to hold out their one-goal lead. 

In a game that Spurs needed to regain their cushion on Arsenal, having to respond to an early goal was the last thing they needed. 

Tight competition

Spurs struggled to really build on their equalising goal, they looked rather lightweight going forward with the in-form Heung-min Son barely touching the ball. 

Dele Alli who has seemed to pick up some form in recent weeks lacked the final pass needed to create a clear chance for Kane; often getting caught in possession.

The Lilywhite's best opportunity to take the lead through a vicious shot from midfielder Eric Dier as his low-driven shot cannoned off the post.

Despite Southampton's awful form, their drop into the bottom three seemed to be on their minds as they provided a much closer competition to Spurs then many would have expected. 

The Saints had a great opportunity in the first half as James Ward-Prowse whipped in an enticing free-kick which Jack Stephens headed narrowly wide. 

Sluggish Spurs

With the turn of the second period, Tottenham were expected to come straight out of the blocks and providing Southampton a much greater challenge. 

However, this was far from the case as it was the Saints who continued their impressive performance into the second 45.

The Londoners struggled on what was a heavy pitch, they found it difficult to play their usual high-tempo passing game with the wet conditions proving a problem. 

Spurs looking like their mid-week training camp in Barcelona had not benefitted them as they looked rather lethargic; they were crying out for a change which came in the 70th minute with the introduction of Erik Lamela

With an hour gone in the game, Tottenham had their best chance of the half as Dele Alli's long ranged shot whistled past the post. 

The second half proved a tight competition between the sides much like the first half, Tottenham really struggled to create any opportunities on goal in what was a very dull game. 

Notable absences 

Before the game, the absence of captain Hugo Lloris was expected and as the starting XI was announced, this proved true. 

Dutch keeper, Michel Vorm stood in for Lloris who missed the game through illness as boss Mauricio Pochettino admitted there were a few players feeling under the weather.

However, the big surprise came with the absence of Christian Eriksen who also missed out due to illness. Frenchman Moussa Sissoko stepped in for the missing Dane.