The Premier League staggered winter break is now here, but unfortunately, the lack of foresight regarding FA Cup replays will affect Tottenham and Southampton. Both sides are supposed to be in their two-week winter break now, but they will face-off on Wednesday for a place in the fifth round of the FA Cup. This is due to the two sides drawing just over a week ago on the South Coast. A late Sofiane Boufal goal denied Spurs, who had taken the lead through a Son Heung-min goal. These two sides have already met twice in 2020, with Ralph Hassenhuttl currently having the better of it with a win and a draw.
Tottenham will be full of confidence following a morale-boosting win against Manchester City at the weekend. It wasn’t easy for them, as they had to rely on Hugo Lloris saving a penalty and the visitors missing some guilt-edged chances. However, they remained resilient throughout and offered a threat on the counter-attack. Jose Mourinho will know that results are more important than performances in Spurs’ current position. That will be the case again on Wednesday, as the Portuguese coach was brought in to win trophies. This competition represents their best chance of that this season, but Southampton will offer a very difficult test. They need to be at their best to overcome this obstacle.
Southampton can approach this replay with little pressure on them. Few would expect them to make the next round, but they have a great opportunity to prove their doubters wrong. Following a strong run of form over Christmas, it is unlikely that they will be relegated, therefore they can field their best available team for this replay. They have already beaten Spurs once this year and they will believe that they can again. They have the players to cause problems for any team, while their style makes them a difficult team to come up against. It isn’t a foregone conclusion that the Tottenham will triumph on Wednesday.
Steven Bergwijn became the 250th player to score on his Premier League debut and the second Tottenham player to achieve that feat this season.
The weekend defeat against Liverpool was the first game that Southampton have failed to score in 2020.
The appointment of Mourinho has provided a fresh start to Dele Alli and the midfielder showed positive signs during the first ten matches under the new manager. It looked to be a match that could revitalise the England international’s career following a period of inconsistency. Gareth Southgate will be keeping a close eye on his development as Alli was once a key part of his England side. The European Championships are on the horizon and a few players will stake a claim for a place in the coming months. The Tottenham midfielder is one of those with the potential to break into the summer squad, given his working knowledge of the current national team set-up. His current return of seven goals and three assists in the Premier League shows his impact in the final third, but he has managed just one in his last nine matches across all competitions. There has been a drop-off and it has come at a bad time for Spurs, who are struggling for attacking quality in the absence of Harry Kane. It will be hoped that he will return to scoring ways on Wednesday to help his team to the next round of the FA Cup.
Like Dele Alli, Southampton’s Danny Ings will have one eye on the summer as he has burst back into England reckoning. Although the recent injury problems in forward positions have accelerated the campaign for him to be included in the summer, it would have been difficult to ignore his goal-scoring form. At the time of writing, he has scored 14 Premier League goals and has an outside chance to claim the golden boot. Southampton’s position in the league table is largely down to his goals. It has been a re-emergence for Ings, who seems to have put his injury woes behind him. Following a frustrating spell at Liverpool, he has found a new home and it has brought the best out of him. He is a constant threat, as shown by his average of 2.5 shots per game. Tottenham will be wary of his movement and quality in front of goal.
Steven Bergwijn wasn’t available for the first game of the tie, therefore he isn’t eligible to feature in the replay. Erik Lamela could come into the starting eleven. Dele Alli is a doubt. Moussa Sissoko, Harry Kane and Ben Davies remain on the sidelines.
Stuart Armstrong could be back to feature for the visitors. Kyle Walker-Peters won’t be available to face his parent club, but it is expected that Southampton will name a strong team on Wednesday.
This is a huge game for Tottenham, as they try to build momentum under Mourinho. It has been a period of false starts for them since the managerial change and now would be the perfect time to go on a run. The cups will also be valued under this regime, with the Portuguese coach winning trophies in every post he has held since breaking into the mainstream. There is a possibility that Liverpool will be knocked out this week, considering their senior players won’t be made available for their replay. There is an opportunity for Spurs to challenge in this competition and that will be made clear by Mourinho. They should have enough to win on Wednesday.
Tottenham 2-1 Southampton