Tottenham face a tricky FA Cup tie as they travel to Southampton to face a team that have already beaten them in the Premier League earlier this month. Jose Mourinho was brought into the club to win trophies and this competition will offer the best opportunity for him to do that in his first campaign as manager. On the other hand, the home side have moved into a relatively safe position in the league. Ralph Hasenhuttl will be looking at this as a chance to have a cup run, especially given they beat their more illustrious weeks ago.
Southampton moved into the top ten during the week with a good display against Crystal Palace. They opted to rest their top scorer, Danny Ings, but it had no impact on the result, as they delivered an assured display. It was important to bounce back after they lost a two-goal lead at home against Wolves. By resting Ings, it looks like Hasenhuttl will try to win this weekend. It was a signal of intent that he plans to go full-strength against Tottenham. If they do, they will be confident that they can beat Spurs for a second time in a number of weeks.
It has been a very difficult season for Tottenham. Last year, they managed to beat the odds to reach the Champions League final, despite nearly being knocked out of the competition on a number of occasions. They showed tremendous team spirit to get to the final and were unlucky to lose on the day. It was a close affair decided by a questionable penalty decision. It should have been a stepping stone for the team, but it now looks to have been the end for the current squad. Mauricio Pochettino struggled to bounce back and it is clear that the squad needs an overhaul. Mourinho is the man chosen to oversee that. It has been a challenging start for him, but a cup run could provide a welcome respite. He will be determined to win on the South Coast on Saturday.
During the week, Southampton didn’t concede a single shot on target against Crystal Palace, highlighting an improvement in their defence.
Serge Aurier has assisted seven times across all competitions. Only Trent Alexander-Arnold has more assists as a full-back in the Premier League.
This could be the best season of Danny Ings’ career, as he continues to score on a regular basis. There is no doubting that he is Southampton’s talisman up front, as he has scored 14 Premier League goals. Although he isn’t a complete striker, with only one assist, he is perfect for the team’s system as he finishes off the moves with quality finishing. It is nice to see the 27-year-old steer clear from injuries, as his career stalled at Liverpool due to these. The move to Southampton has been positive for him and he is finally returning to his best form. The current injuries suffered by Marcus Rashford, Harry Kane and Tammy Abraham mean that Gareth Southgate needs to consider his forward options. Ings is the obvious choice, as he is scoring regularly and thriving under the pressure of being the main man of the attack. He averages 2.4 shots per game, showing his impressive movement and awareness in the final third. In the meeting earlier this month, he was the match-winner for Southampton with a well-taken goal. They will be hoping for a similar story this weekend to help them through to the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Jose Mourinho picked Dele Alli out as a key man when taking the Tottenham job. It was speculated that the midfielder was picked out on the training ground and the managerial change appeared to do wonders for the midfielder. He quickly became more consistent in the final third and started to impact games. Following a quiet spell, he may now be back to his best following a goal and an assist against Norwich City. Without Harry Kane, Spurs need more quality up front and Alli could be the player to provide it. Like Ings, he has the motivation of breaking back into the England squad. He has previously been a regular under Southgate, but he dropped out of squads in 2019. With the European Championships around the corner and Spurs needing a star, 2020 could be the year that sparks the return of Alli. Southampton will be wary of him this weekend.
Southampton have a number of players missing this weekend. Jannik Vestergaard has a head injury and won’t be available. Shane Long, Jan Bednarek and Yan Valery will also be missing. Cedric Soares won’t be back until next month.
Harry Winks went off injured during the week. He is a major doubt for the weekend. Ben Davies, Harry Kane and Moussa Sissoko are long-term absentees.
This is going to be a very difficult cup tie for Tottenham. They have already lost once to Southampton this month and the home side will be motivated by that. Despite Spurs’ win over Norwich City in the week, the performance was still a concern. On another day, they would have lost the game. They need to be much better this weekend to beat an in-form Southampton team. This could go to a replay.
Southampton 1-1 Tottenham