Mauricio Pochettino makes a return to St Mary’s in Saturday’s early kick-off, as his Spurs side take on Southampton. Both sides will still have their eye on fourth place, even if Europa League qualification seems much more feasible.
Southampton are currently in seventh place, eight points off fourth-placed Manchester City, after winning three and drawing one of their last six games.
Tottenham are one point, and one place ahead of the Saints in sixth place, level with Liverpool – who have a game in hand – in fifth. Three points is a must for both sides, if they have any intention of clawing their way up the table.
Toby Alderweireld is a doubt for the hosts, as he struggles to recover from a dislocated shoulder. The defender, currently on loan at Southampton, has been an important player this season, and Saints fans will be hoping his stay becomes permanent in the transfer windows. Emmanuel Mayuka, Fraser Forster, Filip Djuricic and long-term absentee Jay Rodriguez will also miss out through injury, while Victor Wanyama is suspended.
Spurs will be without Kyle Walker, who could miss the rest of the season with an ankle complaint. Hugo Lloris and Danny Rose could also miss out, though it is expected that Lloris will pass a late fitness test in time for kick-off. Paulinho could start after impressing against Newcastle.
- Both teams have an identical record over the last six matches; won three, drawn one, lost two.
- Southampton have kept a clean sheet in five of their last seven league matches at home.
- Spurs have beaten the Saints however, in their last five matches in all competitions.
- There have been three or more goals scored in twelve out of the last thirteen matches involving Tottenham as the away side.
- Graziano Pelle needs one goal to hit double figures in the Premier League this season.
- Christian Eriksen already has ten league goals, while Nacer Chadli has equalled Pelle’s tally of nine.
Southampton: Morgan Schneiderlin.
The Southampton midfielder has been regularly tipped for a transfer away from St Mary’s this season. He was widely tipped to follow Pochettino to Spurs last summer, but fans worried about his commitment should have no complaints. Schneiderlin has scored four goals and contributed one assist while having a pass completion rate of almost 90%. The Frenchman has been named man of the match on three occasions, and he is a crucial component of Southampton’s defensive unit which has conceded the fewest goals in the Premier League. Southampton will fight tooth and nail to keep him, but he may face a new challenge next season.
Tottenham: Harry Kane.
Kane has been phenomenal this season, scoring twenty goals so far, as well as recently being nominated for both PFA Players’ Player and Young Player of the Year. His performances have catapulted him from fringe player, to leading man in Pochettino’s expensively assembled cast. In addition, Kane’s impressive work rate and unselfish play – the youngster has also laid on three assists – have earned him an England call up. Kane scored within moments of coming on for his England debut, and it speaks volumes that nobody expected anything less. Spurs fans will be hoping that Kane remains ‘one of their own’ for some time.
Davis, Clyne, Yoshida, Fonte, Bertrand, Schneiderlin, Davis, Tadic, Mane, Long, Pelle.
Lloris, Dier, Fazio, Vertonghen, Davies, Paulinho, Bentaleb, Lamela, Eriksen, Chadli, Kane.
I think this will be a cracking match. Lots of attacking talent on both sides, but Southampton’s measly defence may just give them the edge. Southampton to win 2-1 looks a good bet at 15-2 with William Hill