Spurs return to Premier League action on Saturday as they travel to the South coast to face Southampton. Mauricio Pochettino will be boosted by their wonderful away performance against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Tuesday and will hope to continue that form versus a Saints side two points above the relegation zone.
Having gained one point from their last three Premier League matches, Spurs will be hoping to maintain the gap between them and 5th place heading into the match on Saturday. Defeats to Burnley and Chelsea were then followed with a draw against Arsenal at Wembley thanks to a Hugo Lloris late penalty save.
The French World Cup winning captain was in fine form again for Spurs in Dortmund, making a number of key saves. Harry Kane’s second-half goal capped off an impressive team performance as Spurs recorded a 4-0 aggregate win over the team that has taken the Bundesliga by storm this campaign. The result and the manner of the performance were a reminder of just how talented this Spurs team is and that they can be a threat for any opponent on their day.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) March 7, 2019
The match against Southampton, a team in a relegation scrap, will therefore be an excellent test for Pochettino against his former club to see if Spurs have recovered and learned from their recent losses in the Premier League. The Spurs boss will also be serving this first of his two-game touchline ban on Saturday.
Southampton sit just above the relegation zone in 17th in the Premier League and have taken just five points from their past six matches. New manager Ralph Hasenhuttl will perhaps be concentrating on their last five matches as they will not have to play a team in the top six but his Saints side have been impressive and will be a testing opponent for Spurs.
They were unlucky to lose against Manchester United last time out, with Romelu Lukaku scoring in the last minute to give United the win. In that encounter, Yann Valery and James Ward-Prowse scored two brilliant goals with the latter being tipped with a recall to the England setup when Gareth Southgate names his squad next week.
The Saints have failed to beat Cardiff and Crystal Palace in recent weeks but will know that their style can hurt the bigger teams, which they have demonstrated with wins over Arsenal and Everton under Hasenhuttl. They do not possess the best defensive record though, having kept one clean sheet in their last ten outings.
Southampton v Spurs Team News
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) March 8, 2019
The big news for Spurs is that Dele Alli has returned to first team training and is in contention to make an appearance at St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday. After going off against Dortmund, Harry Winks will be assessed by the Spurs medical staff with a groin injury before the Southampton match and so is a doubt.
Kieran Trippier will definitely be out with a gluteal muscle strain. It was thought that he had been rested by Pochettino for the Champions League game midweek but that may have been a precaution because of this injury.
With Harry Kane and Eric Dier also back in the squad after their injuries, it is only Trippier and Winks who are the injury concerns for Mauricio Pochettino.
For the home side, Hasenhuttl is likely to name the same starting eleven that took Manchester United all the way at Old Trafford. Striker Danny Ings is nearing a return, but with a host of important games after the March international break, it has been decided by the club that they will not rush him back into the first team picture.
Michael Obafemi and Mario Lemina are long-term absentees for Southampton and so will play no part against Spurs.
Southampton v Spurs Predicted Team
Because this is Spurs’ last game before a three-week break, we see no reason why Pochettino would make too many changes. He may go with a different formation but the performance against Dortmund may convince him to stick with three in defence.
Serge Aurier will remain at right back because of Trippier’s injury but Danny Rose should replace Ben Davies at left-back as this is a position Pochettino frequently likes to rotate.
In midfield, Eric Dier could get his first Premier League start since December after recovering from tonsillitis. That likely depends upon whether Winks is fully fit, but with the international break approaching, Pochettino may not feel that it is worth risking another injury and so Dier could start ahead of him anyway.
Christian Eriksen and Moussa Sissoko should start alongside him in midfield. Sissoko was once again excellent for Spurs midweek, demonstrating a remarkable turnaround for a player it was thought would leave the club at the start of the season.
Up front, Spurs will continue with Harry Kane and Heung-min Son. Kane has scored in three of the four Spurs games he has appeared in since his return from injury but Son has not netted in that time.
What the Managers Said
Spurs Manager Mauricio Pochettino
“My wish is for Southampton to finish in a very good way. He is doing a very good job, Southampton have very good players, a very good squad. Of course, there were a lot of people disappointed when I left the club and will not forgive me. But I still love them. A lot of people feel that love. I love Southampton. For me, I spent one and a half years there, I can tell you it was a great experience I enjoyed a lot.”
“For different reasons that it is difficult to explain and understand why I left the club. I cried a lot when I left, my family too. It was one of the most important periods in my life with my family, that they enjoyed the most. That is why it was so tough. Of course, people can criticise but sometimes for different circumstances, you need to change in your life and move and be away from some situations. I cannot explain but I still love them. Of course, I want to beat them on Saturday but I wish them all the best.” (Football. London)
Southampton Manager Ralph Hasenhuttl
“The way we are playing is one thing, taking points is another. It is important that we also believe in our strengths and we showed against Manchester United we have them.
“We can score against such teams and we can be a nasty opponent also, because if you work well against the ball then it is not so easy to score against us.” (BBC Sport)
Southampton v Spurs Referee
Kevin Friend will be the official at St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday. He has refereed Spurs three times this season including their 3-0 victory over Cardiff on New Year’s Day.
Southampton v Spurs Prediction
Spurs will still be on a high after a wonderful performance midweek and with no game on the horizon after this one, we think they will be too strong and too confident for Southampton. Our prediction is Southampton 1-3 Spurs, with Heung-min Son to get on the scoresheet.
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