Tottenham are back in Premier League action after an impressive victory in the Champions League against Borussia Dortmund. During recent weeks, they have showed signs of slowing down, taking only one point from their last three matches in the Premier League. This weekend, they travel to Southampton with the focus being on returning to winning ways in the league. The home side showed that they can be a difficult nut to crack against Manchester United last weekend and will pose problems for the North London team.
Southampton are currently outside of the relegation zone, but they are far from safe. They will take positives from their defeat at Manchester United and there is an opportunity to build on those this weekend. It would be a huge shot in the arm if they managed to pick up something from the game at St Mary’s Stadium and there is a possibility to do so. Ralph Hassenhuttl’s appointment was a coup for the club and the supporters will be hoping he can guide them to a brighter future away from the bottom of the Premier League.
Spurs’ win over Dortmund hasn’t received the credit that it deserves, as they kept two clean sheets against a team that has scored 58 goals in the Bundesliga this season. At times, they had to rely on last-ditch defending, but both Hugo Lloris and Jan Vertonghen were excellent on Tuesday night. The former can be a figure that attracts criticism, but he proved his worth to the team in Germany. The league title is now beyond them, but a top-four finish is far from secure. They need to put a good run of form together to address that starting on Saturday.
Tottenham’s draw with Arsenal ended a run of 28 Premier Leagues without one, which was the third longest run from the start of a top-flight season.
James Ward-Prowse has now reached his best Premier League goals tally for a single season with five strikes finding the back of the net.
The Southampton midfielder has been excellent during recent weeks and he will be pushing for an England recall. Although Saints haven’t managed to bring through as many young players as they would have liked in recent years, the 24-year-old’s recent development has been great to watch. Ward-Prowse is a very good technician of the ball and he is crucial to the way that the team play in attack. He is good on the ball and has one of the best deliveries from a dead ball in the Premier League. That was evident last weekend, as he scored a superb free-kick to get his team back in the game at Old Trafford. The appointment of Hassenhuttl has brought about a huge improvement in Ward-Prowse, especially since the turn of the year. In that time, he has scored five Premier League goals. He will be a player that Tottenham will be wary of this weekend.
There has been a lot of discussion about Harry Kane since his return from injury. It can be argued that he hasn’t been as good and his return has disrupted the form of Son Heung-min. However, the England captain has been scoring goals and he showed his quality again on Tuesday with the winning goal against Borussia Dortmund. Tottenham will remain confident of a top-four finish, but it isn’t the foregone conclusion that it was a few weeks ago. This weekend is an important fixture to return to winning ways. Their striker will have a huge bearing on the result. If he is on form in front of goal, three points will be on their way back to North London. During his career, he has enjoyed a good record against Southampton with seven Premier League goals against the South Coast team.
Danny Ings is a week or two away from a return to action, while Mario Lemina remains on the long term injury list. There is unlikely to be any changes to the beat that were beaten by Manchester United.
Harry Winks is a doubt for the weekend after picking up a knock on Tuesday. Dele Alli is closing in on a return and could feature in the matchday squad. Kieran Trippier won’t be available until later this month.
Southampton are a much more dangerous team under Hassenhuttl and there is a belief that he will make them a much better outfit in the long term. However, it is difficult to see Tottenham going another Premier League match without victory. They have been consistent since Mauricio Pochettino took over as manager and it would be a shock if they dropped out of the top four. They should have enough to earn the three points and relieve the pressure building in the Premier League.