Southampton – Tottenham (Premier League)
Sunday Tottenham visit St. Mary for one of the most interesting games of the Premier League week 17. Both sides will go in missing something essential in a football team. The Spurs are without a Manager, the Saints without victories. Expect both to go all in.
Southampton are 9th with 24 points, 1 behind United, 3 apart from their next opposition. They have failed to win any of their last 5 Premier League fixtures. It sounds bad when you say it like that but that look closer. They have drawn 1-1 twice, to Newcastle and Manchester City, lost to Chelsea (3-1) and Arsenal (2-0). All tough matches, top league squads, nothing to be ashamed here. The only odd moment was that defeat to Villa at home (2-3). In every case they’ve putted up a good show and a struggle. Having said that, a point or three could do wonders for the Saints confidence and standings. The chance of topping Tottenham in the Premier League table with a win is really just a bonus. And if there ever was a good time to try to beat the Spurs is now.
There has been almost a year since Mauricio Pochettino took over Southampton with impressive results. Even caught Roy Hogdson attentions and lately the Southampton boys – Jay Rodriguez, Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana – are having the opportunity apply for a spot in Brazil 2014.
Lallana is likely to start this time. Last week he came in from the bench and proved he was ready to drop the training wheels. Finally some good news in Southampton’s roster. They should be praying for relieve from this strain of injuries. Paulo Gazzaniga will be in goal for lack of alternatives, Kelvin Davies and Artur Boruc continue out. Nathaniel Clyne will face a fitness test before the tie. The long list of casualties also includes Danny Fox, Guly do Prado and Victor Wanyama.
Probable line-up: Gazzaniga – Clyne, Lovren, Fonte, Shaw – Schneiderlin, Cork – Ward-Prowse, Lallana, Rodriguez – Osvaldo.
Spurs have a good record away this season (5-1-2), only Arsenal has done better. The only points they’ve dropped were to top 5 teams, City, Everton and the Gunners.
Tim Sherwood showed his hand in the West Ham tie. He did his master’s biding reintegrating Adebayor and aligned the Spurs in a 4-4-2 formation, a system the squad is not routinised into and probably has no players for. Wednesday, the first match in the post-AVB era Tottenham entered the pitch roaring, but has time went by the buzz started to fade. Right about Adebayor’s hit the tide was turning for the Hammers, they’ve persevered and eventually won. The mid-week home defeat costed the Spurs more than the 3 points. Andros Townsend suffered a hamstring injury and was forced out. He will probably be out for 4 weeks, which means no winger for the entire Holliday’s period schedule.
Paulinho is still suspended. Kane, Kaboul, Vertonghen and Sandro remain in the sidelines. Townsend is a recent signing to the injury list, the only good news being Michael Dawson will be back after suspension.
Probable line-up: Lloris – Walker, Dawson, Chiriches, Rose – Lennon, Capoué, Dembélé, Chadli – Adebayor, Defoe.
Tottenham Hotsurs sit in the 7th place with 27 points, level with Newcastle United. They have eight to ten days to get their act together before they travel to Old Trafford and the Emirates. They need to sort this managerial business before the damages done to the struggling André Villas-Boas achievements are beyond. repair, at least for the season. I sincerely hope Pochettino resists the temptation to move to White Hart Lane. For his sake and the Saints’.