WEDNESDAY 1ST JANUARY, 2020
SOUTHAMPTON 1(1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0(0)
Referee:- Mike Dean
Assistants:- Ian Hussin, Dan Robathan
Fourth official:- Keith Stroud
VAR:- Anthony Taylor
Assistant VAR:- Harry Lennard.
Southampton (4-4-2):- McCarthy; Cedric, Stephens, Bednarek, Bertrand; Armstrong (sub Romeu, 90), Ward-Prowse, Hojbjerg (Capt.), Djenepo (sub Long, 58); Ings (sub Obafemi, 76), Redmond
Subs not used:- Gunn; Yoshida, Vestergaard; Adams
Booked:- Djenepo (foul on Lo Celso), Bednarek (foul on Kane), Ward-Prowse (foul on Lo Celso)
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Gazzaniga; Aurier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Sessegnon; Ndombele (sub Lo Celso, 25), Eriksen; Sissoko, Dele, Lucas Moura; Kane (Capt.) (sub Lamela, 75)
(Armband to Vertonghen)
Subs not used:- Vorm; Sanchez, Tanganga; Winks, Skipp
Booked:- Lo Celso (Dissent), Sissoko (foul on Ings), Aurier (foul on Long), Eriksen (NB:- Jose Mourinho was also show a yellow card for an inappropriate approach to the Southampton bench)
Spurs’ poorest Christmas for years
With only one win and a draw in the four games they have played over this Christmas period, Spurs have surely had their worst Christmas for years. They certainly made a bad start to 2020, and on this form it’s a good job they have got 30 points, because I am afraid I am looking over my shoulder at the lower places, rather than carrying any optimism regarding Europe. Jose Mourinho’s initial impact in his first three games has dissipated and the team seem to have fallen to the same, arguably worse levels displayed before the dismissal of Mauricio Pochettino.
The best decision I made today (in fact I made the decision two or three weeks ago) was to not make the 420 mile return journey from Chesterfield to Southampton. BT had total coverage of all today's fixtures, and I was able to watch our game from the comfort of my settee, rather than have to stand throughout the game in physical discomfort and to suffer the embarrassment of an awful Spurs performance and result.
Southampton have gained 10 points from their four Christmas games, which included a Boxing Day win at Chelsea, and thoroughly deserved this win. The “Saints” climbed up to 11th place after this win, with other games yet to be concluded. There are few worse places to lose and “Saints” fans were crowing at various times during the game, abusing Mourinho. “You’re not special anymore” was the cleanest example. “you’re just a s**t Pochettino” was another ditty. Dele Alli also came in for ritual abuse, particularly over failed penalty appeals. Southampton thoroughly deserved their win, and were clearly the better team. They were better organised; more determined, and their goalkeeper was rarely bothered by Spurs.
Spurs’ disastrous day was completed by the enforced withdrawal of Harry Kane with a hamstring injury after he had put the ball in the net, but suffered the injury as the goal was disallowed for offside. VAR was still reviewing that decision after harry had been replaced by Erik Lamela.
Jose Mourinho is still trying to fathom his best team, and made a couple of changes today. Jan Vertonghen reverted to centre-back and Ryan Sessegnon took up the left back position, although his was more of an attacking role as the game progressed. I don’t think that Ryan is a left back, and I don’t think he has yet fulfilled the potential he showed before Fulham were promoted. He is a work in progress.
Christian Eriksen got another start, but he played deep, beside Tanguy Ndombele, who had to withdraw after 25 minutes. Ndombele had been playing quite well, but it seems he suffered a knock when involved in a meaty collision with Djenepo who seemed to have come off worst at the time. Lo Celso took Ndombele’s place which meant Sissoko dropped back from the right side of midfield.
Ralf Hasenhuttl played a 4-4-2 with Redmond next to Danny Ings and Djenepo on the left flank. The “Saints” closed us down tenaciously and were much more incisive with the forward passing.
Southampton kicked off an d had a bright start with Cedric meeting a Bertrand cross but heading wide after just one minute. Harry Kane did have a shot blocked and then saved by McCarthy after 4 minutes. A corner resulted from that attempt and shortly afterwards Kane floated a ball in from the left and Dele back-headed an attempt which McCarthy held. Dele was often found ahead of Kane. After that midfield clash with Djenepo, Ndombele started a good forward move for Spurs with Dele pushing the ball out to Aurier whose cross was blocked. Dele was onto a long ball by Alderweireld inside the Southampton area and wanted a penalty, but got short shrift from Mike dean, and nothing from VAR.
Spurs were struggling to clear their lines and Redmond might have done better with his left foot shot which was saved by Gazzaniga. Spurs were able to clear the corner. Dele advanced down the right side and passed forward to Eriksen, whose crossed into McCarthy’s arms.
Southampton then scored what would be the decisive goal in the 17th minute when Stephens sent forward a long ball. Danny Ings turned and left Alderweireld on the ground before coring with his left foot. It was Ings’ 13th Premier League goal of the season.
Kane sent Sissoko ahead down the right side, but his intended cross was too deep for Lucas Moura. A Spurs free kick t8aken on the left by Eriksen was easily blocked. Kane had a run and passed to Sessegnon who crossed for Dele. Dele was down again, and appealing inside the area to no avail. Ndombele needed treatment and was withdrawn.
Spurs were under a little pressure at the back after a “Saints” corner and Armstrong scuffed his attempt on goal. Lo Celso and Kane had an exchange of passes which ended in a shot by Lo Celso, but that was deflected and went for a corner. At the other end Armstrong just about kept the ball in play and reached the bye-line before cutting the ball back to Redmond whose shot was blocked. Dele was fouled by Hojbjerg and Eriksen hit a free kick, but Kane was offside in the box. Another shot by Kane was saved by McCarthy and dele followed up, again seeking a penalty, which was reviewed. A corner was all we got. Dele got a touch to the corner, but Vertonghen scooped a shot over the bar.
Lo Celso fed a ball out to Sessegnon and got it back via Dele, but hit his shot wide. In added time Redmond crossed and Armstrong’s header was held, but he was offside anyway. Sissoko hit a cross from deep on the right which reached Lucas at the back of the area, but he fired wide.
Spurs kicked off the second half and played towards their fans who did try to get behind the team. However, it was the home side who had the first chance with Redmond had a chance following Cedric’s cross, hitting the ball over. There were shouts for handball against Alderweireld in the area, but that was turned down by the officials.
Lucas Moura won a ball deep in midfield and fed the ball to dele, but dele’s effort was neither a cross or a shot and failed on both counts. Sissoko was booked for fouling Ings, after Spurs had failed to make good use of a corner and an attacking throw, ultimately putting themselves under pressure in their own half. They conceded a cheap corner, but that was collected by Gazzaniga.
Spurs did then manage a period of some pressure but this showed little end result. Lo Celso floated in a free kick but Vertonghen’s header was easy for the goalkeeper. Gazzaniga collected a Ward-Prowse free kick at the other end. Harry Kane’s injury came after 72 minutes when Eriksen floated a free kick over the defence. Harry obviously over-stretched in his effort to put the ball into the net, and then had to pull up as the offside decision was given. Lamela came on and added energy to the midfield, if not always the right result. Mourinho was booked after he approached the Southampton bench and did some finger pointing.
“Saints” substitute Shane Long headed wide from a corner and Spurs huffed and puffed at the other end in the closing stages (there were five minutes of added time). Lucas Moura had a shot blocked after Lo Celso and Sessegnon combined down the left. Aurier crossed deep and Sessegnon returned the ball, but only another corner resulted. Spurs weren’t making the goalkeeper work in this half. Our last chance came when Aurier hit a cross/shot too deep and over the target.
After the FA Cup tie at Middlesbrough on Sunday, we face Liverpool on Saturday week at home. Even I won’t be predicting victory in that game!
Did you know?
1. It is 10,000 days since the Premier League began on August 15th 1992. Spurs were away to Southampton (at The Dell, of course) on that day and drew 0-0.
2. We have now lost the last five games when Mike Dean has been our referee.
3. Spurs' last away clean sheet in the Premier League was on New Year's Day last year.
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