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Southampton v Spurs, 20.09.20

(12 noon)

Southampton scorers:-
Ings, 32, 90 (pen)

Spurs scorers:-
Son, 45(+2), 47, 64, 73
Kane, 82

Attendance:- 0

Referee:- David Coote
Assistants:- Harry Lennard, Nick Hopton
Fourth official:- Keith Stroud
VAR:- Chris Kavanagh
Assistant VAR:- Richard West.

Southampton (4-4-2):- McCarthy; Walker-Peters, Stephens, Bednarek, Bertrand; Armstrong (sub Tella, 68), Ward-Prowse (Capt.), Romeu (sub Smallbone, 55), Djenepo; Ings, Adams (sub Long, 80)

Subs not used:- Forster; Vestergaard, Vokins; Obafemi

Booked:- Romeu (foul on Hojbjerg), Adams (prevented Lloris from kicking the ball out), Bertrand (foul on Doherty), Stephens (foul on Lucas Moura)

Spurs (4-2-1-3):- Lloris (Capt.); Doherty, Sanchez, Dier, Davies; Hojbjerg, Winks; Ndombele (sub Lo Celso, 46); Lucas Moura (sub Lamela, 61), Kane (sub Bergwijn, 84), Son

Subs not used:- Hart; Alderweireld, Aurier; Sissoko

Booked:- Ndombele (foul on Adams), Doherty (foul on Djenepo), Lo Celso (preventing free kick)

4-goal Sonny to the fore!

Spurs’ lovable South Korean star Heung-min Son scored his first Premier League hat-trick at St. Mary’s Stadium Southampton today, and for good measure he added a fourth. Harry Kane assisted all four of Son’s goals and added one to his own tally as Spurs eventually overwhelmed what turned out to be a somewhat naive “Saints”’ defence. And yet in the first half, Southampton had clearly been the better team and more threatening with legitimate chances. I say legitimate because the ball had been in the net on three other occasions in the opening period (that was 2-1 in Spurs’ favour) with all three correctly over-ruled by VAR. You could argue that the game turned on Son’s first goal scored in first half added time.

Jose Mourinho left Dele Alli at home, and former Southampton man Toby Alderweireld on the bench. Much of the pre-match talk was of course about another ex-Saint – Gareth Bale – who also had not travelled, but was interviewed for BT by former team-mate Peter Crouch. With three more games in the next eight days, Jose has to manage the minutes of his men and he gave Tanguy Ndombele a start in this game, playing behind the front three. Tanguy made some neat forward moves, not least when he started the move for Spurs’ first goal, but I felt he was something of a luxury in the Spurs midfield which gave Southampton’s runners little in the way of obstruction. Ndombele’s replacement by Lo Celso was definitely an impactive move by Jose, as Gio gave our midfield much more energy. Perhaps Southampton tired, but all the talk was of Hasenhuttl’s insistence on such a high line being well and truly exposed by Spurs in the second half.

Southampton kicked off and their strategy was clear as four players were lined up on their left flank to attack Spurs’ right side. That’s how it turned out too with both Armstrong and Djenepo turning up on Doherty’s side. It was an exciting and entertaining end to end game, with little evidence of control in the middle. Spurs had the ball in the net in the third minute with Son racing down the left flank, successfully chasing a long ball. He crossed deep and Doherty headed the ball back into the danger zone where Kane turned and beat McCarthy who did get a touch with a right-footed shot. VAR reviewed the early run by both Kane and Son, and it was probably Kane who was called offside. The instruction to assistants not to raise their flag will frustrate the fans all season (and players) as moves are allowed to proceed to their conclusion before review.

Romeu got an early yellow card for a crunching challenge upon his former team-mate and captain, and it would seem there was no love lost here. After a free kick by Ryan Bertrand the ball fell to Che Adams who hit a powerful shot superbly pushed over by Lloris with a good strong hand. Ndombele sent a good ball forward to Harry Kane who passed to Son. This time the flag was raised as Sonny hit his shot and both players had been offside. Danny Ings was not offside as he raced forward to present a clear danger in front of Lloris who had advanced outside his area. Lloris actually headed the ball onto Ings’ arm and whilst Ings did hit the ball into the net, the assistant had spotted the handball, and a free kick went to Spurs.

Spurs were under the cosh and next Djenepo advanced to the bye-line on the left, cutting the ball back to Adams, who was brilliantly blocked by Ben Davies. Davies was uncompromising with his tackles on Kyle Walker-Peters, who did well for "Saints” coming forward. Referee David Coote had “words” with the Spurs left back after a second strong challenge.

Spurs had the ball in the net again after 26 minutes. Doherty passed forward to Lucas Moura (who was offside). Lucas crossed and Harry Kane had an easy finish, but again Spurs were frustrated by the late offside decision. Lucas is required to track back by Jose, and he did defend well in the middle in front of the back four to frustrate Djenepo. Djenepo was getting a chance due to the absence of Redmond through injury, and did his best to impress.

Southampton had the ball in the net again and this time it did count when Kyle Walker-Peters’ long ball reached Danny Ings, whose movement and anticipation was better than that of Eric Dier. Ings scored with a right-footed shot across Hugo Lloris inside the far corner. Lloris had to make a save from Djenepo after a pass from Adams. The save came with other players in close quarters and Adams was booked, perhaps for a challenge on the keeper. The referee’s card was also shown to Bertrand and Ndombele before the interval.

The last significant piece of action before the break was started by Ndombele, in his own half. He showed strength and skill on the turn before sending the ball to Harry Kane who was moving forward left of centre. Harry’s pass to Son was instinctive and Son scored with his right foot from the right side of goal.

That equaliser gave us hope. I anticipated a change of Lo Celso for Ndombele, but Southampton had the first chance after kick-off with Djenepo advancing into the spurs area on the left, before he passed inside to Armstrong. Armstrong teed up Adams, who probably should have done better, but Lloris held the shot. Spurs took a 47th minute lead with a quick ball by Lo Celso from the half-way line directed to Kane. This time “Sonny” was on Harry’s left and another quick pass and the pace of Son gave our hero the second goal, scored with his left foot.

Armstrong hit a left footed shot over the target from the right side of the Spurs area before Son was away again breaking down the left side and hitting a cross which was cleared. There was another delayed offside decision against Son, but clearly Mourinho had identified the frailty of Southampton’s high line.

Romeu hit a pass to his captain and James Ward-Prowse hit a shot from 22 yards which Lloris held. Harry Kane tried a cheeky 40 yard shot with McCarthy well forward, but the attempt was misdirected. Romeu had looked at risk of getting a second yellow, so he was taken off by his manager with 20-year-old Will Smallbone coming on. From this point the “Saints” probably started to tire a bit, and they certainly missed Romeu’s strength in the middle.

Ings did tee up Armstrong for another shot which Lloris saved, but again a late offside decision was made. In this situation with defenders making challenges I can envisage occasions when players will be inured at a time when play should have been stopped. Armstrong had another shot go over the target, but in this build-up the Spurs defence had been at sixes and sevens, as they were again pressed on their right side.

Lucas Moura took a bit of a knock and was replaced by Erik Lamela. Adams hit a shot just wide, before Spurs made it 3-1. Kane was again the provider and Son had timed his run well scoring this time with his right foot for a hat-trick goal. Son was subsequently thwarted by a good tackle by Kyle Walker-Peters after Lamela’s ball. Son was called offside after he made a run onto Dier’s pass, but he put this shot woefully wide anyway. He did get his fourth goal though in the 73rd minute (so that was four in 28 minutes). Lamela was involved again, winning the ball on the right before passing inside to Lo Celso. Lo Celso passed forward to Kane, who crossed from the right with another instinctive pass which drew post-match praise of the highest order from none other than Glenn Hoddle. Son controlled the ball with his chest before banging it past McCarthy with his left foot.

Harry Kane hit what was described as an “Eriksen-like” pass from half way for Erik Lamela, but this time McCarthy was out to clear. Harry had his first Premier League goal of the season at the end of a move which had started with “Sonny” threatening deep on the right-hand side. He was surrounded by four defenders and had to pass the ball back. Lo Celso was again involved and sent the ball to Lamela who was left of goal. Lamela’s shot across the goal took a touch from McCarthy but rebounded off the post for Harry to plant the ball into the net.

Southampton substitute Shane Long headed wide from a Ward-Prowse free kick before Southampton were gifted a second goal through a VAR decision. Harry Winks (with his arms behind his back) and Matt Doherty (with one arm outstretched) were challenging Djenepo for the ball just inside the area when the ball bounced up onto Doherty’s arm. The referee saw no offence and play was only called back after a while when Mr Coote looked at the monitor and decided it was handball. Danny Ings made no mistake from the spot, and thus prevented Southampton’s biggest home league defeat by Tottenham. Bergwijn had replaced Harry Kane late in the game, and in added time he passed to Lo Celso whose shot was deflected away from danger by Stephens.

This was a much needed win for Spurs after last week’s slip-up at home to Everton. Next up is the short trip to Leyton Orient on Tuesday tea-time when he could field a strong team which could include Serge Aurier, Toby Alderweireld, Moussa Sissoko and Dele Alli to name just four.


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