WEDNESDAY 5TH DECEMBER, 2018
(8pm Ė at Wembley)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3(1) SOUTHAMPTON 1(0)
Lucas Moura, 51
Austin, 90 (+3)
Referee:- Anthony Taylor
Assistants:- Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn
Fourth official:- Paul Tierney
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Trippier (sub Skipp, 87), Foyth, Alderweireld, Rose; Winks, Dier; Son, Eriksen (sub Dele, 79), Lucas Moura (sub Sissoko, 74); Kane
Subs not used:- Gazzaniga; Aurier, Davies; Llorente
Southampton (4-2-3-1):- McCarthy; Cedric, Stephens, Yoshida, Targett; Davis (Capt.), Hjobjerg (sub Romeu, 88); Ward-Prowse, Armstrong (sub Elyounoussi, 81), Redmond; Gabbiadini (sub Austin, 70)
Subs not used:- Gunn; Vestergaard, Hoedt, Valery
Clinical Spurs go third!
On a night when Chelsea were beaten at Wolves, and Arsenal were held at Old Trafford, Spurs leapt back above both their London rivals to reclaim third place in a busy Premier League programme. Only 33,012 could be bothered to turn up at Wembley for a game where Spurs hit the woodwork early on, then dominated Southampton, who also hit the woodwork no less than three times, also causing Hugo Lloris to make some great saves once we were three up. Southampton got a late, late goal through substitute Charlie Austin, but new manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, whose appointment was confirmed during the day, watched the game and knows the task facing him, as Southampton remain in the bottom three.
Mauricio Pochettino made three changes to his back four, with Toby Alderweireld, Kieran Trippier and Danny Rose returning. Spurs were of course missing thee suspended Jan Vertonghen, who will return on Saturday at Leicester. There were a couple more changes too with Harry Winks replacing Sissoko and Lucas Moura starting, with Dele on the bench. Winks spent most of the game on the right of Eric Dier, whilst Lucas Moura and Son switched flanks either side of Eriksen. For Southampton Kelvin Davis re-instated Steve Davis (the captain) in front of the defence. Southampton offered promise going forward, and more of a threat on goal than they have offered for much of the season under Mark Hughes, but it was their fragile defence who undermined their teamís efforts, together with Spursí clinical success in front of goal.
Southampton kicked off playing towards the West Stand, away from their fans, who were less than a full contingent. Within two minutes, Spurs had hit the post after Trippier nodded on Eric Dierís long ball, controlled by Son, whose shot beat McCarthy but rebounded off the inside of his left post, before ďSaintsĒ cleared. Son had an excellent game, and showed skill on a number of occasions with his control of long passes before taking the ball forward himself or passing accurately. Of course he got a goal too!
Southampton responded to that early Son chance and Cedric hit a shot from the right which passed Llorisís goal to the right of the keeper, who I would like to suggest had the shot covered in any case. Maybe not though! Spurs took a ninth minute lead after a corner on the left well won by Lucas Moura, taken short then crossed low by Eriksen to the near post where Harry Kane stabbed the ball home. That was Premier League goal number 9 of the season for Harry, his 13th of the season and his 153rd club goal Ė only 6 behind Cliff Jones now. The goal was celebrated on the big screen in rainbow colours, and the Wembley arch was lit in the same fashion in support of the LGBT Rainbow Laces campaign, which has been recognised this week throughout the Premier league.
Southampton had a chance to bounce back after a poorly directed Eriksen backward ball from inside his own half. Gabbiadini fed the ball to Armstrong on his left, but Armstrong fired wide and was offside anyway. Armstrong had scored three goals in his last two Premier League games. Spurs had plenty of pretty approach play around the 20 minute mark, but no shot to show for their domination. Gabbiadini again proved a threat, getting the better of Toby Alderweireld on the right. Gabbiadini passed inside to Hojbjerg, whose shot was pushed onto the post by Hugo Lloris, before Armstrong again followed up with a wide shot, when he was again offside. Ward-Prowse carried the ball down Saintís right flank from a break, crossing for Gabbiadini but Juan Foyth defended well here.
Son demonstrated that excellent control after 28 minutes from a long ball forward, passing to Kane, whose shot was hit straight at McCarthy. Eriksen picked out Son on the left side. Son carried the ball inside before unleashing a powerful right footed shot which was tipped over the bar by McCarthy. From a subsequent corner with Trippier and Eriksen combining on the left, Eric Dierís header was wide of the back post. Lucas Moura and Son combined after 39 minutes before Son teed up Eriksen whose shot was parried by McCarthy with the goalkeeper beating Kane to the loose ball.
Early in the second half, after a corner on the left and an Eriksen cross, the ball was met by Toby Alderweireld in front of the near post. Toby hit a looping header across the goalmouth which was palmed away by McCarthy. Spurs had a free kick from 22 yards out, taken well by Eriksen, with McCarthy pushing the ball away to his right which a defender then put out for a corner. After the corner, Lucas Moura made it 2-0 getting two bites at the cherry. His first shot was blocked, but the Brazilian hit his second into the ground and up into the goal, beating McCarthy on his right.
It wasnít long before Spurs made it 3-0. A Spurs ball on the right rebounded to Trippier, who passed inside to Kane, who in turn fed the ball into the centre of the goalmouth where Son took a touch before firing home.
Spurs seemed to switch off to a degree after this point, and to be honest, I expected the first substitution to be Llorente for Kane to save our ace striker some precious minutes for the crucial programme to come. Once again, Mauricio left his substitutions until later than perhaps justified. Southampton, with nothing to lose, remained positive and had a number of chances. First of all Redmond hit a powerful dipping shot from 25 yards which rebounded off Llorisís bar. Then a Ward-Prowse free kick into the area was not seized upon, except Foyth got a touch before Lloris was able to pick up.
Southampton brought on Austin for Gabbiadini, before Pochettino made his first change with Sissoko replacing Lucas Moura. Moussa played on the right of midfield. Almost immediately, Lloris had to make a super double save from Hojbjerg and ward-Prowse, before also saving from Charlie Austin after a Southampton corner. Spurs replaced Eriksen with Dele, who was involved in a good move which led to a chance. Son got onto a longish ball by Danny Rose, who made a run forward into the area to receive from Dele, after Sonís pass. Rose went down, but referee Anthony Taylor was not interested in a penalty appeal. Mr. Taylor was not given a difficult game by the two sets of players, and did not need to show any cards. Dele also put Kane into a shooting position with Harry taking the ball to too sharp an angle on the left, but winning a corner. No-one was coming forward to take the corner, and Trippier was hobbling, eventually going down for treatment before being replaced by Oliver Skipp for a Premier League debut. Winks took the corner which came to nothing.
With Tripper gone (and apparently suffering from a groin injury again), Spurs lined up with Dier to the right of Alderweireld and Foyth at right back, with Skipp in front of the defence. There were three minutes of added time towards the end of which Elyounoussiís header hit the bar, and finally Charlie Austin scored a consolation goal after Steve Davisís pass. There might have been an offside here, but the goal gave Southamptonís fans their biggest cheer of the night.
Spurs now face a difficult trip to Leicester late (7.45pm) on Saturday night, after Chelsea play Manchester City. I fancy Spurs will need another win to hold onto third place with Arsenal at home to lowly Huddersfield.
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