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Saints V Tottenham Hotspur The Verdict
Wednesday, 1st Jan 2020 22:24

Saints won at St Mary's against Spurs in a game that was not one for the purists but was pulsating and Saints got the result by their hunger and desire.

Danny Ings was again the hero winning the game with a goal that many pundits described as similar to Paul Gascoigne's strike against Scotland at Wembley in Euro 96, but this was a rare moment in a game that was about winning ugly rather than in style.

Saints knew when the game kicked off that this was a day that would either see them drawn back into the relegation struggle or could see them up into the middle ground and putting distance between themselves and the bottom three.

It was clear from the off that this was a Saints side up for battle, but Spurs were still a side with talent if a little disjointed at the moment.

The game was won in the 17th minute with Ings piece of pure classand from then on Saints fought for every ball, every tackle and every inch, even though at times they seemed to be also up against referee Mike Dean who seemed to give everything he could to Spurs and very little to Saints, how Dele Alli was not booked for a host of various offences is beyond me, but even Dean could not beat VAR that saved Saints in the second half ruling Kane offside and to rub salt in the wounds the Spurs striker went off with a hamstring injury, this being his last kick of the game.

But Saints had to win this game and they were led by the engine room of James Ward Prowse and Pierre Emile Hojbjerg who battled for every ball and again it was hard to pick a man of the match because quite literally it could have been at least 8 of the starting XI

Danny Ings was everywhere and ran himself into the ground and surely will get an England call up this season.

A few weeks ago you could not see Saints not letting a goal in, today they rarely looked like doing so, although there was the odd lapse of concentration that could of but didn't cost us dearly.

When Mike Dean signalled 5 minutes of extra time you could not see Saints giving the game away now after coming so far and they saw it out as they had seen the previous 90, by digging in and not giving an inch, some of the tackling would not have been out of place for their tenacity if they had been performed by Mark Dennis or Dennis Hollywood or any number of our past hard men.

Ralph Hasenhuttl has admitted he had to get back to basics and he has done just that and the last few weeks have seen several players finally get back to form with no passengers and that has given us the springboard.

We finished the day in 12th after Arsenal's in in the final fame of the day, but we are now 5 points from the relegation zone and perhaps 4 wins from safety.

This time last year we were 3rd from bottom on 16 points, three years ago under Claude Puel a season where we finished 8th we were 13th with 24 points at this stage and in that great 2015/16 season we were 12th with 27 points.

Many said this was the worst season ever a couple of months ago, but it could yet prove to be a decent one, Saints are only 5 points off of Spurs in 6th and we could have indeed sat there or thereabouts now but for those late dropped points.

A couple of good signings in January and we could easily look at a top finish again, that would be sweet, but first we need to get the points on board for safety and we have some winnable games in the next month or so to do so.

Photo: Action Images

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codge added 22:39 - Jan 1
Anyone considering coming to Saints can look at the table now and see us in 12th rather than 17th and looks more inviting to them now.

SaintNick added 22:41 - Jan 1
Good point, if we can get a win or two in January then we will be an attractive proposition again

saint66 added 22:53 - Jan 1
No mention of how well Jack Stephens played and controlled the back four.
What a surprise.

Saintsforeverj added 22:54 - Jan 1
I am certainly surprised by how good the team is now looking. Full credit to Ralph and the players for proving that they are a good side after all. Long may it continue. I thought Pierre H was excellent today, as was Stephens, Ings and Ward Prowse. Ward Prowse's tackle that resulted in a yellow card for their free kick was certainly taking one for the team and loved his aggression today. All played well but those players stood out for me. Thoroughly enjoyed it and great to see the buzz back at St Mary's. Loving Ralph too.

bstokesaint added 22:58 - Jan 1
Wow, didn’t see 7 points from those 3 games. Credit where it’s due Ralph has got the boys up for a fight. Something‘s clicked pretty much overnight. Let’s just hope we can bolster the squad and push on instead of just being content. The turnaround is miraculous but an Ings’ injury would be a massive concern. That goal, I thought it was a bit LeTissesque.

bstokesaint added 23:00 - Jan 1
On a related note, I know VAR is still up there chasing Ings for POTS, but it had a shocker today. A “natural position” for the hand of the Spurs’ player my ass.

SaintPaulVW added 23:37 - Jan 1
Well deserved win. Good goal though it was, I'm never sure where a great goal begins and a poor bit of defending starts. Toby perhaps reminded us that even supposedly great CB's make mistakes.

The ref was bad but bad both ways, even the VAR evened itself out. Dele Ali was pretty annoying though, McCarthy didn't rise to it though. Jose showed what a nasty little man he is and again Ralph dealt with it perfectly.

Great set of results over Xmas but the bottom half of the table looks like it's going to be a dog fight this year.

Just when things look great for Saints they often take a turn for the worse so I'm expecting a few bumps now. Got a bit of a cushion though so hopefully the confidence can keep bubbling along rather than evaporate again.

Great way to start the year.


Colburn added 23:45 - Jan 1
Jack Stephens was man of the match, his best game to date. Again he provided the assist with a wonderful 60 yard ball in to that same channel. He also cleared many balls, intercepted many and read the most dangerous moment to make a great tackle. Thats a few top performances from Jack now and he deserves the accolade missing from this report. Bednarek was also a rock and maybe they can continue to forge a good partnership the more they play together. Credit where credit's due, JWP and Hojbjerg provided a strong shield for the back 4 who were faultless to be fair, I didn't notice any lapses in concentration. Djenepo was a threat and I like Armstrong, good energy, movement and positivity. Top effort today Ralph and the lads!

dirk_doone added 00:09 - Jan 2
Jack Stephens was MOTM and better than Alderweireld today. He leads the team from the back like Fonte used to.

schatfield added 00:36 - Jan 2
As others have said jack Stephen's was immense today and strange that this wasnt highlighted in the report. He is our number 1 defender now, over bednarek. Great team performance in general and lovely Ings goal.

Peterx added 00:43 - Jan 2
The difference to me is consistency of selections and shape with players playing in familiar positions and the players are responding big time.

Also Saints injury management and the fitness of the team look really strong. Whoever handles that deserves kudos. If you compare that to Bournemouth for example.

The turnaround since the Arsenal game has been amazing.

landerwal added 02:24 - Jan 2
Brilliant win though I agree Jack Stephens also deserved the the plaudits for the goal with a peach of a pass. Our form over the Christmas period is the best in the Premiership except for our ex players on the Mersey. Based on this performance, we can do really well this season, a season which up to only a few games ago looked like being another dog fight for Premiership survival. My only gripe, we played well enough to have at least a couple more goals.

Saint55 added 07:05 - Jan 2
Jack Stephens was brilliant, but let’s not forget he’s always been a good footballer. Hopefully he can now bring some consistency and concentration to his game which has been lacking in the
past, with the support of the fans, including Nick!!

perazi added 08:11 - Jan 2
The upturn in intensity and grit in this team lately has been incredible. So sweet to tough out a win over the grumpy Mourinho. Stephens played a blinder; Ings finish was different class; Armstrong was lively; PEH and JWP were up for the battle and special mention to the maligned Cedric - he has played well the past month, as has Bertrand. Great win - not out of the woods yet, but the mood now is quietly confident and long may it continue.

davidargyll added 08:26 - Jan 2
Another cracking game. I hope everyone else is enjoying being up here on Cloud Number 9 as much as me.
I thought we might have got three points in four games...but 10!
Everybody was again great, everyone that is apart from poor old Nathan Redmond who seems to have completely lost it: he huffs and puffs but never tackles, never heads the ball, does a few great passes but at least as many rubbish ones; he looks to me that needs a rest and/or a kick up the arse.
As for Spurs, I was expecting them to be a lot more impressive than they were. but without Son they were a shadow of their former selves, thank God!
And that Deli Alle. Running around in his little black gloves when it’s way above freezing, trying to do pretty things but falling over all the time and appealing to Mike Dean for a penalty. What a complete berk!
But their whole team gave the impression that nobody has the divine right to beat them so don’t seem to try very much. Whereas we keep playing, keep running, keep pressing, keep TRYING. Thank Christ we don’t have any prima donnas like Alle.
And as for Jose! Nothing’s changed has it?! His whole afternoon’s performance was summed up by what was, without a doubt, the highlight of the day: us singing at the tops of our voices: “Shit Pochetti-no, you’re just a shit Pochetti-no...!”

saintmark1976 added 09:03 - Jan 2
Definitely not a game for the purists but wonderful "blood and guts" Saints performance against a Spurs team which was an example of everything wrong with the supposed top teams. They appeared to be of the mind set that they just had to turn up to win, dive all day long and con the ref to get a result. Bill Nicholson must be spinning in his grave that his once great club has been contaminated by the likes of Mourinho and all that he stands for.

As for Mike Dean, to me he looked over weight and unfit for purpose as well as being biased towards Spurs throughout.

allsaint54 added 09:53 - Jan 2
Wow, what a great result over the divers. I agree about the transformation in Stephens & JWP. JWP tackling hard & even getting yellow carded is a pleasure to watch, a few weeks we would have conceded. As I've said before with a bit more our defence doesn't look so bad. 1 or 2 signings in Jan & we can look forward to good second half of the season. Let's hope though that Ings stays fit.

Consigliere added 09:56 - Jan 2
As this article says, that game was to football what lumber-jacking is to marquetry, and all the better for it! I've not seen a better holiday game since Herne Bay v Guernsey two years ago, played on Whitstable Town's potato field of a pitch and with similar levels of sophistication (barring the Ings' goal which was pure class). If anything tells us what has changed since before Christmas, this is it - don't try to do pretty football, just get stuck in, defend from the front and tackle like you mean it. JWP deserves special mention for the haymaker you could hear all round the ground. Much better, praise where praise is due, Ralph has started to turn the ship around. No try to maintain some consistency.

PS brother in law says he's not made a final decision yet about the season tickets........

Consigliere added 09:56 - Jan 2
Now, rather

davepid added 10:06 - Jan 2
Nick suggests that 37 PTs. might be the safety bar . Has anyone a historic take of what we should be aiming for given that 9 clubs are within just six points of each other at xmas and that only one club ,Norwich, look to be seriously adrift of that group.

Happy New Year to all Saints fans and thanks Nic for running this site in 2019.

wibbersda added 10:30 - Jan 2
Finally a clean sheet. It is no coincidence that during this game there was no sideways or backwards passing, so no pressure was inivited on us. Great performance and a great win. Happy 2020 to all.

LordDZLucan added 11:22 - Jan 2
Hassenhuttl has definitely turned it round. I thought he had to go after the Leicester debacle and I'm now pleased to admit I got it wrong. He has brilliantly managed the transition from a back 5 to a back 4 and we now look defensively solid. Yes, there is the odd moment when we make mistake at the back but that is football. All teams make mistakes. So I now call upon you, Nick, to admit that you've got it wrong about Jack Stephens. He has been immense the last few games. We should get him signed up on a new contract immediately otherwise we'll be talking about another one that got away for years to come.

ItchenNorth added 11:27 - Jan 2
I thought JWP was fantastic yesterday. Armstrong as well, he's a real team player ( much like Steven Davies was). Ings is on fire though.

saintmark1976 added 11:55 - Jan 2
LordDZLucan, in regard to Nick and Stephens I think the expression you need to look up is " Live in hope, die in expectation". Rather similar really to that of Nick's old friend from Japan.

LordDZLucan added 11:59 - Jan 2
You're probably right there, saintmark1976!

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