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Spurs v Southampton, 05.02.20


Spurs scorers:-
Stephens (o.g.), 12
Lucas Moura, 78
Son (pen), 87

Southampton scorers:-
Long, 34
Ings, 72

Attendance:- 56,046

Referee:- David Coote
Assistants:- Lee Betts & Simon Bennett
Fourth Official:- Jarred Gillett
VAR:- Stuart Attwell
AVAR:- Marc Perry

Spurs (4-3-3):- Lloris (Capt.); Aurier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen (sub Gedson Fernandes, 54), Tanganga; Winks, Dier, Ndombele (sub Dele, 61); Lucas Moura, Son, Sessegnon (sub Sanchez, 90)

Subs not used:- Gazzaniga; Cirkin; Skipp; Parrott

Booked:- Gedson Fernandes (foul on Boufal)

Southampton (4-4-2):- Gunn; Ward-Prowse (sub Vestergaard, 40), Stephens, Bednarek, Bertrand; Boufal (sub Armstrong, 67), Romeu, Hojbjerg (Capt.), Redmond; Long (sub Adams, 81), Ings

Subs not used:- Lewis; Vokins; Smallbone; Obafemi

Booked:- Bednarek (foul on Lucas Moura), Romeu (foul on Lucas Moura), Adams (foul on Aurier), Gunn (foul on Son for penalty)

Substitute Dele provides creative spark

Spurs v Southampton - 5th February, 2020

Only when the team was announced one hour before kick-off did we learn that Spurs would be missing Lo Celso (thigh) and Lamela (groin). Once again the team news a day before the game had misled us. With Eriksen gone; Lo Celso injured, and Dele Alli starting on the bench, it was evident all too soon that Spurs lacked creativity and guile in the middle of the park. They also matched the degree of interest and skill shown by a Southampton side that looked likely to win this game until substitute Dele offered the creative spark behind both Spurs’ late second half goals. Somehow, despite being outplayed for most of the game, Spurs won their way through to the fifth round when they will entertain Norwich in a midweek fixture in 4 weeks’ time.

Spurs’ formation looked like a 4-3-3 with Ndombele accommodated as a support to the three-man attack of Lucas Moura, Son and Ryan Sessegnon. Winks and Dier had the job of protecting the back four which included Jan Vertonghen. Super Jan, 33 in April, and a former Spurs Odyssey player of the year (twice) cut a forlorn figure when he was replaced early in the second half, leaving the pitch on the far side of the Spurs goalmouth and having to traipse around the edge of the playing area. Jan’s lack of pace had been cruelly exposed – particularly by Nathan Redmond, who turned up on the left and right of the “Saints”’ to terrorise the Spurs defence. It was a stupendous run from deep in his own half and advancing down the right channel that had led to Danny Ings’ goal which gave Southampton a deserved lead. A 5,600 contingent of Southampton fans, occupying the lower and second tiers in the north-east corner had been crowing throughout the game and were only silenced by those late Spurs goals. They particularly like to taunt Spurs with chants of “Bale”, once of Southampton before he went to Spurs all those years ago.

Southampton kicked off and played away from their fans, but it was Spurs who had the first chance with a long ball to Son who passed to Sessegnon, whose shot was comfortably held by goalkeeper Angus Gunn. A minute later Redmond offered Ings a chance. The in-form striker controlled the ball well before hitting a left foot shot that was held at the second attempt by Lloris. Boufal took a run towards the left two minutes later and hit a dangerous cross which took a deflection, passing across Lloris’s goal and winning a corner. From another attack three minutes later, Redmond was teed up by Long and hit a shot which was saved by Lloris, not too cleanly.

Spurs had hardly had a look-in or an attack, but they took the lead against the run of play. Son had advanced down the left channel and took a shot which was blocked rebounding out to Ndombele outside the area towards the right side. Ndombele took a shot which took a massive deflection beating Gunn. It was announced as an Ndombele goal (he had scored in the home league game against this opponent), but the shot had not been on target and was formally accredited as a Stephens own goal.

Danny Ings beat Lloris and hit the bar with a rising shot after 18 minutes, having received the ball from James Ward-Prowse improvising at right back for the second consecutive game. A minute later Bertrand tried his luck. Hugo did not seem to see this shot too early. He saved, but it was not straightforward for him.

At last Spurs showed some determination coming forward, and it was a good combination down the left flank by Lucas Moura and Sessegnon. It was the latter who passed forward to Son, but as 2Sonny” got near to a scoring position, he was closed down. In another attack Lucas Moura advanced in the middle and tried to find Son, but all Spurs got out of it was a corner. Son was the corner taker tonight and nothing came of this one. Nothing also came of Son’s possession, or should I say lack of it, when he received a ball from Serge Aurier.

It came as no surprise when Southampton equalised, and to be honest it was a thoroughly deserved goal. Redmond took a shot from the right side, which Hugo could only parry. Shane Long snapped up the rebound for his second goal in four games. Not so long ago, Long had endured a fallow period of nearly a year, but he has looked sharp for the “Saints” in his recent appearances.

There was a lengthy delay when james ward-Prowse required treatment after he had fallen when block-tackling Sessegnon. Sessegnon looked distraught and was comforted by Southampton players before Ward-Prowse was stretchered off, applauded by both sets of fans. Ward-Prowse would be a big miss for the “Saints” but I understand his injury is not as bad as was originally feared. Vestergaard was his replacement. Kyle walker-Peters has gone on loan to the South coast club and may get exposure at right back in their remaining Premier League games.

A minute before the allocated four minutes of added time, Son tried to take the play left and right of centre, but he failed to make an incisive pass. In added time, Son got to the box, but passed to Aurier to his right. Aurier’s best option would have been to shoot, but he chose to pass to Son who failed to get a shot in. Son also went down and required brief attention – not from the physio.

Spurs kicked off the second half, but the ball was soon heading the wrong way as Redmond crossed from the left and Hojberg headed onto the top of the net. Ings had space in and around the Spurs area, having a shot blocked which fell to Boufal. Boufal hit a shot wide across the goal, and could have done better. Ryan Sessegnon did well chasing a ball down the left touchline. The ball just about stayed in play and Ryan crossed to the middle where Lucas Moura glanced a header wide across the goal.

When Vertonghen was replaced by Fernandes (who played towards the right of midfield), Tanganga reverted to centre back. Ryan Sessegnon fell back on the left and it looked as if Ndombele was on the left of a Spurs 4-man midfield. Southampton centre-back Jack Stephens received a long ball down the right, before he passed to Shane Long, who hit his shot wide across the goalmouth. Fernandes hit a good long cross-field ball from the right and Son received this, hitting a shot which took a deflection and won a corner. Now Ndombele was replaced by Dele, who had not been fit enough to start, but who would have great effect upon the rest of the game.

Lloris could only parry a cross/shot by Boufal with Redmond’s attempted follow-up blocked by Aurier. Spurs then failed to take the ball clear and ultimately Redmond had another shot which was held this time by Hugo Lloris. Son received a long ball by Alderweireld, but frustrated with his failure to take advantage of the situation. Lloris was then required to make a good save from Vestergaard header following a Southampton corner. Spurs had now reverted to a 4-3-3 with Dele between Lucas and Son and Fernandes on the right of Harry Winks and Eric Dier. This midfield duo seemed to have no impact upon the game in either direction, and generally speaking Spurs were being closed down well in all areas whilst they were affording the visiting side too much room and too much time on the ball.

Dier did have a shot from 25 yards which took a deflection and won a corner, but Southampton took the lead with an excellent goal by anyone’s standards. Redmond had carried the ball out of defence, firstly moving to the right flan before cutting a diagonal towards the middle once he got into the Spurs half. It was a great run and a good pass to Danny Ings who curled his shot around Tanganga’s left side and into the net to the left of Lloris. This goal was of course scored in front of the visiting fans who sniffed victory.

However, Spurs finally managed to out the Southampton defence under some pressure. The equaliser came from and advance through the middle with Lucas takin g a one-two pass from Dele before he beat Gunn with a well-placed shot inside his right post.

Shane Long required treatment but initially carried on before being replaced by Che Adams. Spurs had a corner taken by Son and headed over by one-time Southampton player (on loan from Atletico Madrid) Toby Alderweireld.

Spurs were awarded a penalty after 85 minutes. Fernandes advanced on the right with Dele to his right. Gedson passed the ball right to Dele, who hit a dangerous pass across the defence into the area where Son was brought down by Gunn. It looked an out and out penalty and that was the award by referee David Coote, but we had to wait for VAR to confirm it. Gunn protested his innocence, but was shown a yellow card. After the delay, Son planted his spot-kick inside Gunn’s right post.

As Daniel Wynne has pointed out on Twitter, 30 years ago (almost to the day), Angus Gunn’s father Bryan brought down Gary Lineker who scored a hat-trick penalty goal. That was a Spurs v Norwich game.

Jose’s final change (and his use of substitutes was a definite strength tonight) was Davinson Sanchez for Ryan Sessegnon with Tanganga now reverting to the left back position. It was a better house than that we had for the Middlesbrough Cup replay. Most of the crowd went home smiling, wondering just how we had turned this one around. I am sure the TV viewers will have enjoyed the game too. Now we have to wait till Sunday February 16th for our next game at Villa Park.

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