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Southampton V Tottenham Hotspur The Preview
Tuesday, 28th Dec 2021 09:09

Ralph Hasenhuttl is set to ring the changes as his team play the second game of the festive period and covid issues take their toll, Spurs are on a roll coming into this game, can Saints take a big step forward.

Saints haven't won their last of a calendar year since beating Huddersfield Town in 2010, so the odds of them beating Tottenham don't look good, especially as the North London Soccer Chickens are in good form since changing manager.

But Saints themselves have been hard to beat of late and after the win at West Ham their confidence is rising.

Nathan Tella, Jack Stephens & Lyanco all missed that game through Covid but Tella will be available for this game.

The main changes will be in midfield or up front, Che Adams and both Armstrong's are back in contention and the temptation must be there to rest Broja who took a battering against the Hammers.

Ralph has to decide who needs a rest with the game that really counts being Newcastle in the New Year.

The game is a sell out, but whether everyone will turn up is another question, at West Ham on Boxing Day the stadium was half empty and later that day Brighton also played in an Amex stadium that was more than half empty.

For some the hassle of attending the game might be too much and for others they just won't want to risk catching Covid.

Whatever the result today though Saints have had an ok first half of the season, with 20 points on the board they have foundations to build on for the second half of the season, there is a feeling that this side has underperformed yet they are still comfortably mid table.

Getting something out of this game would be a real bonus, but I think Ralph will be focusing on resting some key players ahead of the Newcastle game, the good news though is the calibre of players he will be bringing in to the side, the second half of last season saw us stretched to the limit and having to play kids, this season although we have been stretched, we have still put out strong benches and this will hopefully see us through.

Photo: Action Images

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Block8 added 09:27 - Dec 28
In a sense Newcastle is the more important game but I think we can claim at least a point here. Ralph knows who is fit so that will be that but against Tottenham we know that the 4 2 2 2 system doesn't work, Son just fills the space the full back leaves and attacks the stretched two CB's, Moura does much the same. If we play a back three (Simeu?) we can play five across midfield, with two sat a little deeper. Or a three man midfield like Boxing Day, we had our scary moments but did look a bit more compact, the CB's looked less exposed and cuts down the space behind us. That will also force Kane back towards his own goal and then perhaps use the undoubted pace we have to hit them on the break. Or maybe I should put away my subutteo, and get my wet suit out ready for the game :)

JoeEgg added 12:30 - Dec 28
I dont understand why you keep going on about our injuries or even the need to save players for the Newcastle match. Every team in the League, and many far more so than Saints, have their injuries and loss of players. Relatively speaking we have been lucky with injuries and Covid.
Perhaps you should also remember that Nexcastle have lost more than half their first choice side but they will not be an easy team to beat and I hope Eddie Howe is given the time and money to show what a good manager he is.
I find our manager most of the time incoherent. But our players are now playing with great fighting spirit - and this I believe is our most significant asset right now. So come on - we should be looking to beat Spurs - its about time!

Colburn added 12:31 - Dec 28
I don't think many fans expect a win today, we put a lot into the game on Sunday and if we grab a point, that will be great. But, although some may see the Newcastle game as more important, I actually think it could be a tougher game as Newcastle are now desperate. With Conte whinging about the schedule, perhaps we can catch Spurs in the wrong head space and you never know, we might get an overdue game against ten men (of a top team) and Spuds get an overdue red card..
So I'm not generally a fan of looking at one game as easier than another on paper and think we should treat today as winnable as the weekend. Spurs are beatable and Newcastle can beat us.
I agree with your comments about squad depth Nick, this year we have more to draw on, partly due to the youngsters' growth which comes only from playing more games. Hoping to see Stuey A and Tella back today, refreshed and raring to go and Smallbone too.

KriSaint added 18:46 - Dec 28
A great point gained - 1-1 with us playing 10 against 11 for about an hour!

Playing 5-3-2 we got ahead with a nice first timer from JWP after Salisus throw in bounced off Alli into JWPs path just inside the Spurs box , and he hesitated not, firing the ball hard with outwards spin into the net to the left of Hugo Lloris.
Salisu got a very soft first yellow (for nothing) early on :( , and then he brought down the top diver of the PL, Son, in the box, about 10 minutes before half time -> Salisu off with his second yellow :( and Kane converted the penalty :( . 1-1.

In the second halt we played on in our new 5-3-1 formation with Valery, Bednarek and Perraud as centerbacks, KWP as RB and Adam Armstrong as left back (!!!) - and our team put in a very good fight to gain a point.
We were lucky when Doherty was penalized for having pushed Forster in the 6 yard box when Forster lost hold of the ball which dropped to the ground where either Forsters or Dohertys heel somehow put the ball over our goal line. Bizarre situation. In slow motion it looked like we got lucky there. Apart from that, Spurs never looked really dangerous in the second half, and Forster took the few attempts that were inside his goal frame (apart from Kanes second goal, which was correctly overruled for offside).

Well done to Ralph and the team.
Yan Valery gets my MOTM for getting so well through such a difficult match - as center back :-D

Shane Long battled hard up front and won some important air duels and Broja who replaced him with 20 minutes left had our only big chance of the second half when he broke into the Spurs penalty area from the right and saw his shot blocked to a corner.
JWP and Stu Armstrong also had shots blocked, and many of us Saints supporters thought Dier hand balled Stu Armstrongs shot. Slo mo showed it was not a penalty.

Well done to the home crowd who sang and made noise throughout the match.
> 31.000 were at St. Mary's. :-)

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