Tottenham continue to struggle to find their stride under Jose Mourinho and they will be hoping for more consistency in 2020. Their first test will come on the South Coast as they travel to St Mary’s Stadium to face Southampton. The Saints have shown improvements during recent weeks, moving away from the bottom three in the process. However, they have a difficult run coming up and will realise the importance of continuing to pick up points. This is a fixture that both sides will feel is winnable, which should make for an excellent game.
Ralph Hassenhuttl will admit that Southampton’s home form hasn’t been good enough. They have only taken eight points from ten home matches so far in the Premier League, averaging 2.5 goals conceded per game. Despite this, they have managed to move four points clear of the bottom three and built a platform from which to push on. Their manager deserves a lot of credit for improving the performance level after the embarrassing 9-0 defeat to Leicester City. It would have been easy for the club to lose confidence and be cut adrift after such a result. However, they have improved on the pitch and earned some very credible results. They will cause problems for Tottenham on Wednesday.
Mourinho will now know the task that he has ahead of him to guide Tottenham to a top-four finish. They now trail Chelsea by five points, but he will take encouragement from the inconsistency shown by the rest of the top four challengers. There will be an opportunity to make up points in the coming months. For Spurs, they need to show more consistency in performance, as they are currently unreliable in both halves of the pitch. They will be helped by the returns of Hugo Lloris and Son Heung-min in 2020. Following an underwhelming performance against Norwich, they need to be better on Wednesday to pick up three points.
Danny Ings has scored 50% of Southampton’s Premier League goals. This is the highest proportion of any player in the top flight this season.
No team scored more own goals than Tottenham in the Premier League during the calendar year of 2019. They scored four.
The striker is in a purple patch of form, following a run of eight goals in his last nine Premier League matches. Ings has already reached his best goals tally for a single top-flight season and it is expected that he will improve on it further over the coming months. There has been a clear resurgence in the striker’s career, since his injury-ravaged time at Liverpool. The year of 2020 could see him get a recall to the England squad and it would be well deserved based on his current output for Southampton. His form has been made even more impressive by the situation that Southampton have found themselves in. They have been fighting at the bottom of the league with a threat of relegation. If they are to stay up with comfort, they will need to find a way to support Ings, as he is currently scoring a huge percentage of their goals. However, at this point in time, he is the key player in the team. Tottenham have struggled to keep clean sheets away from home and that will give Ings confidence that his form can continue.
The absence of Son Heung-min means that Tottenham need to rely on Harry Kane for goals. He scored from the penalty spot at the weekend to make it two goals in two games. Mourinho will be hoping that 2020 will see the return of the world-class striker, as he has been under par at times during the first half of the Premier League season. Despite this, he has managed to score 11 times in the Premier League. He will be hoping to become more clinical in front of goal over the coming months, ahead of the European Championships. Southampton have been a side that Kane has fared well against in the past, with nine goals scored against them. This could be a fixture that sees the striker burst back into form.
Shane Long is expected to be missing for the home side, following a knee injury. Yan Valery is a doubt with illness.
Erik Lamela, Davinson Sanchez and Lucas Moura are all available for Tottenham again, with the trio pushing for a start. Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko will return from suspension, but Son Heung-min remains out.
Tottenham need to perform better than they did against Norwich, if they are to secure three points. They will take confidence from Southampton’s recent home form, as they are struggling to find the winning formula at home. However, they have shown in recent weeks that they can produce a good performance against a top team. They were convincing winners away to Chelsea and they will be looking to deliver a similar display on Wednesday. The visitors should have enough to win, but they will need to be more assured at the back to keep Danny Ings at bay.
Southampton 1-2 Tottenham