WEDNESDAY 28TH DECEMBER, 2016
SOUTHAMPTON 1 (1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 4 (1)
Van Dijk, 2
Alli, 19, 87
Attendance:- 31, 853
Referee: Mike Dean
Assistants: S Long, H Lennard
Fourth official: S Attwell
Southampton (4-3-3):- Forster; Cedric, Fonte (Capt.), Van Dijk, Bertrand; Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Davis (sub Hojbjerg, 72); Redmond, Rodriguez (sub Long, 72), Boufal (sub Tadic, 72)
Subs not used:- Taylor; Yoshida, Martina, Reed
Booked:- Long (Un-sporting conduct)
Sent off:- Redmond (preventing goal-scoring opportunity) (57)
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Walker, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose; Wanyama, Dembele (sub Winks, 82); Sissoko (sub Son, 74), Eriksen, Alli; Kane (sub Janssen, 89)
Subs not used:- Vorm; Wimmer, Davies; Nkoudou
Booked:- Dembele (foul on Redmond), Walker (foul on Bertrand), Rose (foul on Cedric), Vertonghen (un-sporting conduct)
Spurs sweep up after Van Dijk goal!
After falling behind after only 69 seconds when Southampton defender Virgil Van Dijk rose to head home a free kick un-challenged, Spurs weathered the early Southampton storm to take control of the game after 20 minutes, before ultimately winning a “Christmas Sweep” 4-1. Dele Alli scored two; Harry Kane got a much-needed goal after a three game blank spell, and substitute Son Heung-min also hit the net.
It was a game which had almost everything a non-partisan Sky TV viewer could desire with goals, a penalty (which Harry Kane missed) and a sending-off, which also caused debate. For the travelling Spurs fans, the game had everything we wanted with an away win leading to “Jingle Bells”, and three points which keeps us just one point away from the top four. The top seven teams have all won in this round of fixtures, and Southampton have been overtaken by Everton, led by their former manager Ronald Koeman.
There was one unpleasant surprise for Spurs fans with the pre-match news that Toby Alderweireld would miss the game with a virus. The back four was therefore unchanged from that which faced Burnley, and the only outfield change was that Mousa Sissoko started with Harry Winks on the bench.
Southampton kicked off playing towards the away fans in The Northam Stand. The “Saints” were given a one goal start when Bertrand was fouled by former “Saint” Wanyama. Ward-Prowse swung in the free kick from deep on the left, and centre-back Virgil Van Dijk rose unchallenged to head into the net across Lloris. Spurs just were not prepared and I don’t know who was supposed to marking Van Dijk.
Southampton certainly had their tails up in those early stages, especially with their goal, and the home fans roared their team on with delight. Spurs were taken by surprise, and didn’t seem to be at the races, as the “Saints’” runners kept beating us for pace as they chased through balls. Not that Hugo Lloris had to make any notable saves that I can recall.
Spurs got a free kick after 4 minutes on the right-hand side, and Eriksen hit that deep with Kane hitting over from the back of the box. Cedric Soares sent Jay Rodriguez away down the right channel, and Rodriguez was too fast for Vertonghen, getting a shot on goal, but hitting that wide across the goalmouth. “Saints” were looking very lively down their right-hand side and Nathan Redmond hit a shot just outside Hugo’s right post. Fonte and Redmond also had efforts either wide or blocked in the following minutes with Bertrand involved with one cross from the left.
At last Spurs started to slow the game down and take control, dominating possession. Mousa Sissoko was strong and lively and has won over Spurs fans who had been disappointed with his early shows in a Spurs shirt. Sissoko was turning up on the left as well as the right of the field. When on the right he combined well with the ever-active Kyle Walker. It was a Sissoko cross from the left which Dele Alli converted with a header going in off Forster’s left post. Spurs were level, and they never looked back from here, although it did take a long time to make the game safe, even against 10 men after Redmond’s sending-off.
Eriksen had a couple of shots go wide. Firstly after Dembele’s pass, winning a corner, then after receiving a Walker cross from the right.
A poor ball by Dembele put the Spurs defence under pressure with Redmond giving Cedric a chance in front of him, but Jan Vertonghen coming to Spurs’ rescue. Another Sissoko cross from the left gave Dele Alli a half-chance, but Dele pushed his shot over. Sissoko provided the final pass for a Victor Wanyama shot, which was blocked. There were plenty of good performances by Spurs players tonight, and after one or two stray passes, Wanyama enjoyed himself at his old hunting ground, joining in plenty of attacking moves. Spurs fans were happy to deride the “Saints”’ fans with their reason for Victor joining Spurs.
Spurs took the lead in the 52nd minute after good work by Kyle Walker, who got in to the box and forced a corner, which was taken by Eriksen. Harry Kane met it in front of the near post and headed into the net across Forster for his first league goal since the Swansea game at the beginning of the month. Harry now has 8 Premier League goals to his name this season.
Fonte had a header go wide after another Ward-Prowse free kick, and then Kyle Walker got a yellow card for his foul on Bertrand. This is Kyle’s fifth booking meaning he will miss Sunday’s game at Watford. Like Jan Vertonghen, who also got a fifth yellow card late in the game after a spat with Shane Long, Kyle only needed to stay clear of trouble in this game as an amnesty comes into force after this month.
Spurs won a penalty after 55 minutes following a good move forward with Sissoko to the fore again. Dele Alli got into the box towards the right and hit his shot wide, but referee Mike Dean adjudged that Nathan Redmond had unfairly impeded Alli, and thus prevented a goal-scoring opportunity. After some consideration, Dean sent off Redmond, who had been pulling Alli back rather than trying to win the ball with a tackle. Had the latter been the case, then apparently this would not have been a sending-off offence under the new rules.
Harry Kane stepped up, but apparently blames a new piece of turf on the penalty spot for his appalling miss when he hit his shot high over the bar. To his credit, Harry later tweeted his kicking skills to any watching NFL coaches!
The ten men of Southampton put up a good fight until Spurs sealed the win in the last 10 minutes. Spurs had lots of good approach play around the hour mark, and Sissoko headed the ball into space inside the Southampton box, but the ball was cleared. After a Spurs throw on the left won by Sissoko, it was Wanyama who stung Forster’s hands with a rising shot. Dele Alli also had a shot blocked and cleared. Christian Eriksen collected a Danny Rose cross, which was half-cleared to his feet, and then hit the top of the bar with his shot.
Saints’ manager Claude Puel threw everything he could at the situation, making a triple substitution with almost 20 minutes of the game remaining.. However, it was mainly Spurs on the attack, taking advantage of the space left as the home side tried to get back into the game. Alli had a shot go over, and Eriksen had a shot deflected for a corner after a Walker ball.
Spurs did put themselves under pressure when Lloris tried to head clear when outside his area, but Hojbjerg’s shot was weak.
Spurs secured the win with two quick goals late in the game. Firstly Eriksen’s diagonal pass seemed to take a favourable deflection and fell for Son Heung-min, who placed his shot left of Forster’s hand into the far corner. Then Danny Rose led a break and passed inside to Dele Alli, who also hit the net, beating Forster’s left hand.
So, with Kane’s missed penalty, and that Eriksen shot hitting the bar, Spurs could have had six. It’s the second time this season we have hit four goals away from home, and the first time Southampton have conceded four goals at home in a Premier League game since 1998. Mind you, they haven’t been in the top flight all the time since!
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino has a good record at his old stomping ground with two wins and a draw, and Spurs are now unbeaten in five visits with four wins and that draw.
The Spurs squad is strong enough to withstand those two suspensions to ensure a Happy New Year’s Day at Vicarage Road on Sunday. See you there!
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