|DATE||Saturday 28th September 2019|
With differing midweek results, Southampton will approach their
visit tot he Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with a little more confidence
than Spurs, who are struggling to hit their stride so far this
season. For both sides it will be an important game to put
some points on the board after losing to Leicester last week and for
Southampton to right their defeat by Bournemouth.
The Saints have had a bit of a struggle under Ralph Hasenhuttl so far this term, with a few changes to the side over the summer. Veteran Charlie Austin left for WBA to be replaced by Birmingham City's Che Adams and Danny Ings' loan from Liverpool was made permanent. Mail winger Moussa Djenepo joined from Standard Liege and has not had a regular starting position yet, replacing the out-going loanee Mohamed Elyounoussi heading for Glasgow Celtic on loan, along with Fraser Forster. Joining them in Scotland, Steve Davis, the long-serving midfielder, completed a permanent deal after his loan to Glasgow Rangers, with Mario Lemina leaving for Galatasaray on loan, Jordy Classie leaving on a free to AZ Alkmaar, Sam Gallagher sold to Blackburn Rovers and youngsters Harrison Reed (Fulham) and Josh Sims (NY Red Bulls) have both gone out on loan, further depleting the attacking options. They have also shipped out the haphazard defender Wesley Hoedt to Standard Liege on loan, replacing him with FC Ausburg's Kevin Danso loaned for the season and importantly, Cedric Soares has returned from a January loan at Internazionale.
Beefing up the front line with the muscular Che Adams looked a good move, with Ings injury-prone. Youngsters Daniel N'Lundulu and Michael Obafemi have been included in the squad this season, with Obafemni getting a few games, although Shane Long is preferred to add his experience and annoyance factor to the side. The midfield is dominated by captain James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond, who do the hard work and the creation to the team. Prowse-Ward gets forward and is scoring the bulk of the team's goals, although Redmond is capable of getting among the scorers from his wide position.
Hjobjerg and Armstrong are attacking midfielders, who are strong on the ball, but missing Djenepo is a blow, as he has pace and trickery. Sofiane Boufal will be the one they look to to help Redmond unlock the Spurs defence, which has been fragile this season, but they will be driven on by Romeu, a dynamic midfielder, who can be too ready to dive into a tackle sometimes.
In defence, Ryan Bertrand will get forward from left back and inside him, Jack Stephens and Jannik Vestergaard add height to the back four. Spurs will do well to keep the ball on the floor, as Vestergaard tends to win a lot of aerial challenges and we have had a lot of joy with slick passing opening up the Saints defence in the past. If we can get the build-up play right, it might pay dividends. Jan Benderik and Maya Yoshida played in the League Cup win over Portsmouth, so it will be interesting to see who Hasenhuttl chooses. Jan Valery is another defender with pace and attacking intent, who plays on the right.
Although Southampton's league results have been up and down with wins against Sheffield United and Brighton & Hove Albion, they will be boosted by their local derby win over Pompey. Hasenhuttl organised the side when he came in and now has to transform them into his side. What that side will look like eventually remains to be seen, but it looks as if he is sorting out the squad by moving on players who don't fit his template. The problem is that losing to Bournemouth last time out at home, they looked bereft of ideas and while a last-minute Cherries goal put a sheen on the score-line of 3-1, they were a side with the manager playing players out of position that unbalanced the team. For what ever reason, he reverted to type for the League Cup game and got something out of the side.
They will be up for this game, as Southampton seem to have a massive
chip on their shoulders when it comes to Spurs, so we will need a
performance like that against Crystal Palace to go at them from the
start and not like the one against Newcastle United, where we did
that and got hit on the break. Looking to bounce back after
losing on penalties to Colchester, the team has some reparation to
make with the Spurs crowd and their manager. If that isn't
enough motivation, it might be a long season ahead.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 2 Southampton 1|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Spurs will once more be missing Ryan Sessegnon (hamstring) and Giovani Lo Celso (hip) as Southampton visit the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
SOUTHAMPTON TEAM NEWS :
Goalkeeper Alex McCarthy is out and Angus Gunn will take the gloves, while Moussa Djenepo is side-lined with a leg injury.
|Premier League||Kick off 15.00|
|Tottenham Hotspur 2 (2)||
Ndombele 33m 24s
Ings 38m 38s
Aurier (foul on Boufal) 27
Yoshida (foul on Ndombele) 68
Bednarek (foul on Kane) 82
|Crowd : 59,645||Weather : Mild,|
|Referee : Graham Scott (Oxfordshire)||Assistant Referees : Mr. Neil Davies; Mr. Derek Eaton|
|Fourth Official : Darren Bond|
|VAR Official : Darren England||VAR Assistant : Ian Hussin|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 9 minutes.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||Southampton :||kit|
Hugo LLORIS (c)
Harry WINKS (12
Heung-Min SON (11
Erik LAMELA 64)
|Manager : Mauricio Pochettino||Manager : Ralph Hasenhuttl|
|Sponsor : AIA||Shirt sponsor : LD Sports|
|Kit Supplier : Nike||Kit Supplier : Under Armour|
Tottenham came out of a bizarre football match with Southampton. at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with ten men and three points, but that statement goes nowhere near telling the tale of the 2-1 victory.
Referee Graham Scott must take much of the blame for spoiling the match with the most cock-eyed refereeing display that I have seen for many a year and his inconsistency brought into question his application of the laws that appeared to be determined to apply the laws of the game in the most inconsistent manner. However, despite playing eleven men for an hour and having a lot of decisions go against them, the "crisis" side Spurs countered the odds against them to win against a side that had 59% possession and looked more inept than Tottenham had over the last few weeks. Southampton had been handed a goal to level and when they went behind, they forced Lloris to two outstanding saves, but couldn't break down a resolute Spurs side.
Pre-kick-off, fans around me were circulating rumours as to why there was such disharmony amongst the Tottenham squad, with their imaginations running wild with the stories they relayed, from where they arose, I am not sure. People were behind the team as they came out to warm up and expected the wrongs of the last week to be put right.
When the game started, Southampton, who had to replace Cedric Soares with Jannik Vestergaard in the build-up to the game as he injured himself in the warm-up, looked sharp. Romeu's elbows looked sharp too, as Ndombele took one in the face from the Saints midfielder and it wasn't the last time that the Frenchman would be the target of attention form the Southampton players. Early on, I got the impresison that the referee was giving Southampton some soft decisions and from a free-kick, Yoshida headed over when unmarked in the penalty area. A clearance over the Spurs defence set Ings free, but his attempted lob was poorly judged and it went over the top. IN the tenth minute, a passing move went through Ings and Redmond to set up Hjobjerg on the edge of the box. His low shot had Hugo Lloris scrambling to his right to push it wide for a corner. .
Tottenham got the ball forward with Alderweireld looking for son, but his control took the ball too far away from him, but next time he received it out on the left, he looked to find a ball across the goalmouth to pick out Harry Kane, but Gunn dived to cut out the ball. Boufal joined Hjobjerg in halting Tanguy's progress with the ball through midfield illegally and in the context of what was to come, perpetrated worse fouls than those that were punished later. We won a corner that came to nothing, but when Eriksen was tripped 30 yards out, he chipped the ball over the wall to Kane, who had peeled off left and he tried to find a falling volley, but missed the ball and could not replicate his goal at Leicester last week. Spurs had obviously been working on set-pieces, as Eriksen looked to play a corner in, but rolled it along the floor to Son, in the penalty area, but he was robbed of the ball by Romeu. Son was involved a lot at this stage of the game, being sent away on the left wing by a sublime touch from Tanguy and he pulled the ball back on the left wing for Ndombele, whose first time shot was deflected over the bar for another corner kick.
Sonny nearly opened the scoring with a near post header to Eriksen's corner and Gunn was forced to turn it away, but it only delayed a goal for a couple of minutes. Christian put in a cross that wasn't properly cleared and it fell to Heung-Min. He poked the ball inside him to Ndombele, who was standing just behind the penalty spot and powered in a first-time shot that took Gunn by surprise as it flew past Benarek's head. It was an instinctive first-time strike and put Tottenham ahead, just when they were building up a head of steam.
Southampton launched an attack straight away and should really have done better when Redmond was released, but Toby made a good block that sent Spurs away, with Kane and Eriksen producing a ball forward for Son, but Bendarek got the bounce when he tackled the Korean. IN Southampton's next move, the ball was by the touchline on the East Stand side when Aurier jumped into a tackle on Boufal, who was looking to shield it. A foul was given and then a yellow card was shown. In relation to two "challenges" on Ndombele, this was no better or worse and if the referee decided it was a booking, why were the two earlier ones not penalised in the same way ?
Bendarek was in the way again when Son looked to find Kane inside the box and Southampton put a long ball down their left after Hjobjerg chested the ball down very close to the East Stand touchline. Bertrand chased it and went down as though he had been shot, with Aurier trying to grab him as he went past. Making the most of the contact doesn't really come into it, but the sadly gullible referee bought the antics and produced a second yellow for Serge. Again, I would have no argument with this, but when the referee had let similar and worse shirt-pulls and worse tackles go without a yellow card, I fail to see how this justifies one. Not content with not applying the laws, it appears that Scott does not understand the meaning of the word consistency. In the second half, when Harry Winks went to ground holding his head after being caught accidentally by Eric Dier, the referee looked at him three times and allowed Southampton's attack to continue until the ball was cleared and he decided to stop the game for a head injury. When five Saints players surrounded him, he did nothing about dissent, but when Rose claimed that Redmond had pulled him back as Aurier had Bertrand, the referee made a big point of giving him a lecture. It was an extraordinary display of officiating, topped off by Bednarek picking up Harry Kane on the halfway line, holding him horizontal before dumping him to the ground with a wrestling throw. Not even a talk to was issued. Stunningly poor refereeing.
Anyway, back at the game, Tottenham were left to see out the remaining hour of play with a goal lead, but even that didn't last for long. Sissoko dropped back to right back and that left Harry Kane up top on his own. Another soft free-kick gave Hjobjerg the chance to shoot over from the dead-ball situation, but Kane almost extended the Spurs lead. Ndombele won the ball near halfway and the ball ran to Kane. Without hesitation, he swept the ball towards goal, as he had done against Juventus pre-season, but this time the ball was just a couple of feet over the crossbar with Gunn furiously back-pedalling. Then things started to go even more awry. A short goal kick was passed out to Sissoko. With no pass on, he almost over-balanced as he stopped himself from playing the ball, but found Alderweireld, who knocked the ball back to Lloris. Stopping the ball, he was less than a yard off his line and when Ings closed him down, he tried to perform a Cruyff turn, stood on the ball and the Southampton striker bundled the ball past him from inches out to make it one all. It was a shocking goal to concede and after the week the club had been through, it looked as though they were devising ever more embarrassing ways to make things worse. Some Spurs supporters decided to jeer sarcastically when Lloris touched the ball after his mistake, but whatever happened to getting behind the players ?
When Kane got cleared out from behind and play was allowed to go on, giving Redmond a shooting opportunity from the left, but the ball got no curl on it sending it well wide, few people in the stadium were surprised. What was surprising was two minutes before half-time a long ball was played up to Kane and he headed it sideways, where Son received it in the centre circle. He played the ball right to Eriksen, took the return in his run into the right side of the box and returned the pass to Christian, who had the awareness to square the ball first time to Harry Kane. It was slightly behind him, but the striker took a touch to get it onto his right foot and then struck the ball to the keeper's right, wrong-footing him and putting Spurs 2-1 ahead. It was a fine breakaway goal and exposed their defence, who were all over the place as Harry scored from around the penalty spot.
It was great to see the legend that is Stevie Perryman being interviewed at half-time and his up-coming book should be an interesting read, as he went through some ups and downs during his long time at Spurs. It is just a shame that Paul Coit couldn't ask him for his views on the referee !! The break had come at a good time for Tottenham who had taken the lead and there wasn't really a chance for Southampton to do too much in the time left before the teams turned around.
The second half was going to be a long 45 minutes as Southampton were surely going to pepper our goal, using their extra man to find space and run Spurs around. The ball was worked wide and crosses played into the Tottenham box, but the visitors weren't the first to put together a decent move. Tanguy won the ball in midfield and played Kane away, running into the box, but he looked to pass inside to Eriksen, but was closed down and had the ball taken off him. Southampton did have a chance from a free-kick in the 56th minute, when Son tripped Boufal and Ward-Prowse curled it over the wall, but Hugo reached up to tip the ball over the bar as it headed for the left hand top corner of his goal. From the corner the Saints tried something different by playing it long from Redmond to Hjobjerg at the far corner of the box, where he volleyed it at goal and missed by a considerable distance. Just after an hour of the match had elapsed, Tottenham were under a bit of pressure and Sissoko covering well in the right back slot gave a corner away, which was headed behind by Kane. From this one, Ward-Prowse picked out Yoshida and his header looked as though it would beat Lloris to his left. However, with good footwork and an elastic stretch of his arm, he clawed the ball away to make an excellent save. No doubt all those who cat-called him after his goal were praising him now.
Pochettino made a risky substitution in the 65th minute, bringing on Lamela in place of Son. Heung-Min had run himself into the ground and was involved in both goals, but Lamela's entrance brought worries of his tackling in front of a referee more than willing to book Spurs players. As it turned out, Lamela played a sensible game and held onto the ball, taking it towards the Southampton goal. Danny Rose did just that and put a low cross in front of goal, agonisingly too far ahead of Kane sliding in. As he had gone past Redmond, the winger pulled at him and that furious reaction (quite justified really) was what earned him a telling off. At the other end a couple of crosses were teased into the corridor of uncertainty, but Ings couldn't get himself on the end of them.
It took until the 68th minute for Scott to bring his yellow card out for Yoshida, who was the latest Saints player to tackle illegally from behind. Tottenham were moving the ball quickly and confidently when they got possession, taking the ball up the field to win a few corners. When Southampton did attack, they found the Spurs team determined to keep them out, with Jan putting a good head on a |Redmond cross to take it way from the goalmouth and Danny Rose tidied up at the far post, but Sissoko, Rose and Alderweireld were all giving their all the deny the eleven men.
Another caution for a Southampton player came eight minutes from the end, when Bednarek took down Kane on halfway, which was ironic, as it wasn't as bad a foul as two he made in the first half and a crude tackle on Lamela just after Yoshida was booked. With consistency, there would have been about five players dismissed and when the referee was giving free-kicks to Spurs, when most of the people around me could not figure out why, it was a performance where control had been lost very early on.
Kane still had running in his legs when he took on Romeu, who wasn't good enough to foul him and Harry put the ball across the face of the goal going for a shot on target, rather than picking out Eriksen coming into the area late. Somewhat cynically, Boufal's substitution saw him leave the pitch by the closest point. I know this is the new rule but the player had been time-wasting from the off and his departure showed a little more urgency when his side needed it.
Substitute Armstrong hit a shot to Hugo's near post, where he held it comfortably. Winks' head injury needed treatment, despite Ward-Prowse's claim that he was putting it on and the Southampton midfielder is turning into an objectionable character who can't take it when he wants to be the one who hands it out. Yoshida won a late free-kick in the box, but his header bounced tamely through to Hugo, who fell on the ball and wasted a few vital seconds. That was it apart from another foul on Kane on the halfway line, by Ward-Prowse.
At the final whistle, there was a collective sigh of relief and the fact that the team had showed great character in holding out for the victory will hopefully put some of the snide reporting behind us. It wasn't a great performance and we will never know whether it would have been, with Aurier sent off and Hugo's mistake making the score-line closer than it might have been. The important thing was getting the three points and getting them ugly is probably a better outcome for Spurs than just rolling over a team, as we have done a few times to Southampton in recent years.
With Aurier's red card meaning a one match ban, we will have to hope that Foyth or Walker-Peters have recovered sufficiently to play right back when we travel to Brighton on 5th October. Before then, we have to face Bayern Munich on Tuesday n the Champions League and will need to step our game up a fair bit to compete with them. Aurier will be available, with Ndombele hopefully ready to play again., as he is becoming a vital player in midfield for us. Hopefully, we can put in a good performance to get us closer to qualification for the knock out stages, but today's display was well worth the three points and left the full complement from the South Coast return with nothing, which was just about what their sad play deserved. Spurs are notoriously poor when we go down to ten men, but perhaps this is a turning point, as we did well and could have even snuck another goal, although were indebted to Lloris at the end, who more than made up for his error.
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|What you thought|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Bournemouth||2||West Ham United London||2||Saturday|
|Chelsea||2||Brighton & Hove Albion||0||Saturday|
|Crystal Palace||2||Norwich City||0||Saturday|
|Leicester City||5||Newcastle United||0||Sunday|
|League Table 2019-20|
|5||West Ham United London||7||3||3||1||10||9||12||+1|
|7||Frank Lampard's Chelsea||7||3||2||2||14||13||11||+1|
|16||Brighton & Hove Albion||7||1||3||3||5||10||6||-5|
Position before match :
Position after match : 4th
Position after the weekend : 6th
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