Tottenham will be looking to bounce back from their North London derby defeat with a win over managerless Southampton on Wednesday night. The match at Wembley comes at a great time for the home side, as they have an opportunity to recover so quickly after their loss on Sunday. It was a wake-up call for the Spurs’ supporters, as it was a reminder that they aren’t at the level of Manchester City or Liverpool. A title challenge is likely beyond them, but they will be looking to strengthen their hold of a top-four place with a strong festive period.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side find themselves out of the Champions League positions after their weekend defeat. They are level on points with Arsenal in 4th, but they have a worse goal difference after their loss against their local rivals. In the Premier League, they don’t face a top-six team until 13th January, which means that they now have an opportunity to build some momentum over the next few weeks. It is important that they do this if they want to finish in the top four for another campaign.
Southampton have taken the decision to part ways with Mark Hughes and it is difficult to argue with that call. The Saints find themselves in the bottom three and have only won once all season. They showed fighting spirit against Manchester United, but they collapsed from 2-0 up and it was another body blow to this group of players. Last season, they managed to fight back from the brink, but they will need another recovery this season if they are to keep their Premier League status. There is talent in the squad and a new manager could be what is required to see them climb the table.
Jan Vertonghen won’t be available after being sent off against Arsenal. Erik Lamela and Kieran Trippier are both doubts for the midweek fixture. Davinson Sanchez and Victor Wanyama remain on the sidelines. Mousa Dembele won’t feature until 2019.
Mario Lemina will be suspended for the Saints on Wednesday. Danny Ings could be in line for a return. Meanwhile, Matt Targett and Ryan Bertrand are both doubts for the trip to Wembley. Shane Long won’t be available for the visitors.
- Harry Kane has now scored the joint-most North London derby goals in the history of the Premier League, with eight.
- Southampton are the only Premier League team that have failed to win a home game this season.
The South Korean international has been back to his best in recent weeks and set for a major part over the festive period. There is some question marks regarding his final ball, but his direct running and confidence on the ball make him a threat to opposing defences. That was evident against Arsenal, as he regularly created space with his dribbling ability. The penalty award in the first-half was debated, as it seemed that Son dived, but it was his movement and low centre of gravity that led to the spot-kick being given. Tottenham have been reliant on Harry Kane for goals during recent seasons, but when on form, the South Korean offers an alternative option and it is clear to see why he is back in the starting eleven. Southampton haven’t been great at the back during recent weeks and Tottenham will have chances on Wednesday. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Son take a starring role against the South Coast club.
The former Bayern Munich player will be expected to step up in the absence of Mario Lemina. The latter was excellent against Manchester United, as he completed eight ball recoveries and 97% of his passes. Southampton will need a player to move into that role and Hojbjerg is an individual with the talent to do it. Since breaking through as a young player, he has been tipped for big things, but so far, he has failed to achieve those. There have been a lot of bright moments for him in England, but a lack of consistency has held him back. The managerial change could provide him with a new lease of life. Tottenham have been vulnerable in central areas during recent matches. This could be the perfect stage for Hojbjerg to show his quality.
This fixture arrives at a good time for Tottenham as they will be facing a team without a manager. That can sometimes be dangerous, but the home side should have more than enough to return to winning ways. There will be worries about their defensive options, but Toby Alderweireld gets another opportunity to prove why he deserves to be a regular starter. Harry Kane scored at the weekend and he will want to build momentum over the Christmas period ahead of 2019. He could be among the goals on Wednesday night.
Tottenham 3-0 Southampton