Preview: Tottenham vs Southampton

Every fan in the Premier League rejoiced as Leicester City were officially crowned champions on Monday, well almost every fan. Spurs gave up at 2-0 lead at Stamford Bridge, a ground in which they haven’t conjured up at win at in 23 years, to draw at bitter rivals Chelsea in an ill tempered game. At half time Spurs looked set to take the title race into this weekends round of matches but an inspired Eden Hazard had other ideas. The Belgium midfielder was introduced at half time by Guus Hiddink an undoubtably changed the game for the Blues. After Gary Cahill pulled one goal back for Chelsea an equaliser was always on the cards. Costa sent Hazard into the box who delightfully curled a shot past Hugo Lloris into the top corner breaking Tottenham hearts. However, due to Leicester’s 1-1 draw with Man Utd, Spurs have qualified for next seasons champions league, a tremendous achievement with all things considered. Southampton are still fighting for a place in next season’s Europa League and with a crucial three points against Man City after, arguably, their best performance of the season, the Saints aren’t on holiday quite yet.

I spoke with From The Stand’s Spurs reporter LordPoch to get the lowdown on this weekends clash and what he expects to see from Spurs and Saints.

 

Due to Leicester’s unbelievable season, Spurs narrowly missed out on the title, do you think that this may overshadow what an amazing season it has been for Tottenham?

No I don’t think it will. I am happy for them they deserve it. What they have accomplished this season is absolutely amazing. We have still stood out for a long time this season still in second place which is amazing for us as well so no it hasn’t overshadowed us.

At the start of the season what were you hoping Spurs to achieve?

I was hoping to achieve a top 4 finish and we have done more than that which I am over the moon by.

What’s different at Spurs this season which we haven’t seen in previous years?

I think the difference is that we work a lot harder. On and off the ball. The importance of Pochettino brining in Alderweireld at the back has helped us massively in defence and that’s why we have conceded the least goals in the league and have the best defensive record. In previous years we used to have the worst record so I’d say our defence being more stable is the main difference.

Spurs prized Pochettino from Saints in the summer of 2014, what were your initial feelings towards the appointment and have they changed since then?

I had mixed feelings. I didn’t think he was the best option to get at the time and wanted someone better but yes my views have certainly changed and he is doing a tremendous job at Spurs and has now signed a 5 year extension at the club which is fantastic.

I’m sure there’s a few but who would you say has been your player of the season at Spurs during this campaign?

There’s a few standouts obviously Kane, Alli, Dembele, Dier and Alderweireld have been the main standouts for me but when you look at it more closely for me I would give it to Alderweireld as he’s been the best centre back in the league all season and has played a massive role in having the least goals conceded and best defensive record in the league. He has changed and saved us massively and he is a very important player to our squad.

Who do you believe has improved the most at Spurs this season?

I think Dier. It’s a tough one between Dier and Alli but Dier edges it for me. This is because he was a Centre back last season and Pochettino moved him to play in a holding midfielder role and we didn’t think he could live up to playing there and he’s done a fantastic job holding the midfield together with Dembele and has shocked everyone. I don’t think any of us would’ve expected him to perform that well in a holding midfielder position and has been one of the standouts in league in that role alongside Kante.

What do you expect to see from Southampton this weekend?

I expect a hard game this season. Without Alli and Dembele due to suspension we will be more open in the midfield and a lot less stabile. Southampton are still fighting to finish in a Europa league spot so they will be working they’re socks off and we still need to win to secure second place so it will be a tough test for both teams.

Who would you say is the most threatening player in the Southampton squad?

I think the most threatening player at Southampton has to be Mane for me. His pace and dangerous play worries defenders and he works so hard. I would love to have him on the flanks at Spurs.

As a Spurs fan, what are your opinions on Southampton FC?

I like Southampton. I’ve always liked them since they had Shaw, Lovren, Schneiderlin, Lallana etc. They are a great growing squad with so much potential and a great manager. I hope they can finish in a Europa league spot as they deserve it but we can’t afford to lose to them at the same time.

Finally, what do you predict the result to be on Sunday?

It’ll be a tough game with both teams still having something to play for but I think it’ll be a 1-1 draw. Not having Dembele and Alli in the side will show a lot and we may struggle as they will be going for it more than us I believe. We should be winning it and we are at home but I’m adamant Southampton will be on top of their game on Sunday and will be difficult to beat

Previous Meetings:

28/10/12: Southampton 1-2 Tottenham:
Former Saint Gareth Bale was on the scoresheet as Tottenham beat newly promoted Southampton at St Mary’s

4/5/13: Tottenham 1-0 Southampton:
Gareth Bale on the scoresheet again as the Welshman scores a wonder goal in a closely fought game

22/12/13: Southampton 2-3 Tottenham:
After Southampton lead 1-0 through Adam Lallana, Spurs turned the game around to 2-1. Rickie Lambert equalised for the hosts but an Adebayor curled effort sealed the points for the visitors.

23/3/14: Tottenham 3-2 Southampton:
Southampton lead 2-0 early on through Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez, but Spurs rallied to turn the game around and a Gylfi Sigurdsson low driven shot completed the comeback for Tim Sherwood’s men.

5/10/14: Tottenham 1-0 Southampton:
Christian Eriksen’s first half goal settled the tie as Sadio Mane missed golden opportunity to level the game in the second half.

25/4/15: Southampton 2-2 Tottenham:
Spurs clawed Southampton back twice as Graziano Pelle bagged a brace either side of half time.

19/12/15: Southampton 0-2 Tottenham:
Goals from Harry Kane and Delle Alli in the first half put Southampton to the sword.

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