TUESDAY 28TH DECEMBER, 2021
SOUTHAMPTON 1(1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(1)
Kane (pen), 41
Referee:- Anthony Taylor
Assistants:- Dan Robathan, Derek Eaton
Fourth official:- Tim Robinson
VAR:- Martin Atkinson
Assistant VAR:- Richard West.
Southampton (3-4-3):- Forster; Valery, Bednarek, Salisu; Walker-Peters, Ward-Prowse (Capt.), Diallo, Perraud; Stuart Armstrong, Long (sub Broja, 71), Adam Armstrong (sub Redmond, 83)
Subs not used:- Caballero; Small, Simeu; Romeu, Tella, Elyounoussi, Walcott
Booked:- Walker-Peters (foul on Reguilon), Salisu (foul on Emerson Royal), Adam Armstrong (foul on Emerson Royal)
Sent off:- Salisu (39)- second yellow, foul on Son – preventing goal-scoring opportunity
Spurs (3-4-3):- Lloris (Capt.); Sanchez, Dier, Davies; Emerson Royal (sub Gil, 77), Winks, Hojbjerg, Reguilon (sub Doherty, 46); Dele (sub Lucas Moura, 62), Kane, Son
Subs not used:- Gollini; Rodon, Tanganga; Skipp, White, Ndombele
Booked:- Reguilon (foul on Diallo), Winks (handball)
Conte has a record, but Spurs are frustrated by 10-man Saints.
Thanks to Andy Park for this image of Harry Kane about to take his penalty at St. Mary's Stadium
Antonio Conte became the first Spurs manager ever not to be beaten in his first seven league games (we won’t talk about NS Mura), but Spurs were frustrated firstly by the fresher legs of the Southampton team, then by the two banks of four who defended stoutly after Salisu was shown a second yellow when he brought down Son inside the area to concede a penalty from which Harry Kane scored. James Ward-Prowse had opened the scoring after Spurs failed to properly clear a Salisu long throw.
Spurs were also frustrated by some of the leniency of referee Anthony Taylor with the home side somehow allowed to challenge in quite uncompromising fashion at times. The home fans were just as incensed as Spurs fans with some of the decisions. Conte was quite minimal regarding his changes with Ben Davies back in for Tanganga and Harry Winks replacing Oliver Skipp in the middle. We missed the bite offered by Skipp in that midfield. Dele started with Lucas deserving a rest after a hard game on Boxing Day, but sadly, I don’t think he made the most of his opportunity. Five years ago, to the very day, at this ground, Dele had scored two goals for the first of three consecutive games in a season when he scored 18 Premier League goals. Those days have sadly gone.
Southampton on the other hand had 6 changes after their victory at West Ham. Ralf Hasenhuttl played both Stuart and Adam Armstrong and matched Conte’s formation with Valery (normally a full back) playing at centre-back. Former Spur Kyle Walker-Peters was right wing-back and in a very combative frame of mind. Southampton even dominated the early possession (61%-39%), but that soon swung Spurs’ way after the sending-off.
Eric Dier was making his 300th club appearance. The crowd was described as a sell-out, but I have yet to see figures. Spurs fan Michael McIntyre was picked out in the main stand with David Pleat sitting behind him. Southampton’s Che Adams was absent due to Covid.
Spurs kicked off and there was an early foul by Walker-Peters on Reguilon. Walker-Peters hit a dangerous cross aimed for Shane Long after five minutes, but Long had been offside. Long was making his first Premier League start since Boxing Day last year. Southampton continued to see more of the ball and after another Walker-Peters cross Adam Armstrong hit a looping header which was held by Hugo Lloris outside his goal-post. Hugo didn’t have a meaningful save to make all game.
Valery tried a shot from distance, but that passed wide. At last Spurs created something resembling a chance when Kane hit a ball for Dele, but that was just slightly over-hit and easily collected by Forster. Walker-Peters collected a fifth booking of the season for a foul on Reguilon. This was after a Kane pass for our left wing-back from the centre of the pitch. Davies headed into the net from Son’s free kick, but had been offside, along with three other Spurs men as Southampton’s line was across the 18-yard mark.
Harry Winks had a dodgy start to the game, but would later redeem himself with some good passes, one of which led to our penalty. However, on this occasion he dithered and lost the ball just outside our area but recovered the situation himself after colleagues had initially rescued the ball. Southampton’s fresher legs were pressing hard and working well.
Referee Anthony Taylor had “words” with Salisu after a heavy challenge upon Dele in the Spurs half. Salisu is a long-throw merchant and after the Spurs defence (I think chiefly Dele) failed to clear properly, James Ward-Prowse seized the opportunity to hit a right foot shot beyond Lloris’s left hand into the net. It wasn’t long before Salisu was booked for a foul on Emerson Royal. Again, this was in the Spurs half, and he had been warned.
Harry Winks was fouled 25 yards out and the free kick was taken by Kane, going through the wall before being held by Forster.
The Southampton manager was booked for arguing over one of Mr Taylor’s decisions. Naturally Hojbjerg was getting booed with almost every touch, but the home crowd tired of this in the second half. Spurs were penalised for a handball by Harry Winks when he was convinced (I was too) that he had been fouled. Spurs broke forward after Southampton’s first corner. Kane sent a good pass to Son, who chose to shoot. Forster held and “Sonny” put his hand up in apology to the two decent passing opportunities he had.
After 38 minutes, Winks found Son with an excellent long through ball. Son was brought down inside the area as he was about to pull the trigger and Mr Taylor had no hesitation in showing Salisu a second yellow. It took a while for the penalty to be taken but Harry Kane scored with power to the right of Forster who might have been psyched into going the other way. It was Kane’s first club penalty of the season.
Southampton reverted to a back four. Reguilon was booked when over-stretching and fouling Diallo. He didn’t come out for the second half. In added time, Dele crossed from the right and Kane tried a left foot shot, but that passed just wide of the far post.
“Reggie” was replaced by a right-footer – Matt Doherty.
Adam Armstrong was booked for a foul on Emerson. Son took the kick and Eric Dier stooped to head on target, but Forster held the ball. Again, Dier and others were probably offside. We thought we had taken the lead after 53 minutes following another excellent Winks pass, taken on by Kane who “scored” with a right footer. Sadly, VAR found him to be offside, but we were never shown the lines from a straight angle.
Southampton did get forward occasionally, and they often caused our defence problems. Stuart Armstrong got into the box on the right after a short run and passed back to Ward-Prowse, but his shot was fodder for Hugo. Son was closed down at the other end after a great ball by Kane. I was surprised that Son was not replaced as he seemed to be tiring more than others. Son won a corner after a cross by Ben Davies, but that came to nought. At the other end a shot by Stuart Armstrong was blocked by Dier and that had the home fans baying for a handball that did not exist. Mr. Taylor came in for plenty of stick from the home crowd.
Dele was replaced by Lucas Moura, but he struggled to find the degree of penetration he had on Boxing Day against this determined defence. Winks put in a high ball and Forster seemed to collide with Doherty after he had dropped the ball which went into the net off the keeper. Mr Taylor found a foul by Doherty and of course VAR agreed. The incident did occur within the 6-yard goal area where contact against the keeper is still sacrosanct unbeknown to many fans, and indeed pundits. “Refereeing expert” Mark Clattenburg did not think there had been enough for a foul.
Doherty won a corner with a shot after a pass from Son. A little later, Spurs got into the area and had a chance, but Winks had handled the ball when advancing into the box, so he was booked.
Chelsea loanee Broja came on for Long. “Sonny” failed to manage a shot after receiving from Lucas in a good position, and Doherty stretched to hit the ball way too high after a decent ball over the top by Winks. Bryan Gil (left-footed) replaced Emerson and played on the right. After a cross by Gil, Son headed to Forster. Kane had a shot well saved after Hojbjerg’s pass, but he had been offside.
Lucas crossed for Kane, but Southampton cleared. Davies had a shot blocked when Walker-Peters took the blow full in his face. Kyle was okay after attention.
There were five minutes of added time. Son had a header saved after a Winks cross, and then after a mistake by Dier, Broja advanced and hit a shot on target which was well blocked by Sanchez, at the expense of a corner. There was still time for Kane to head just wide from another Winks ball, and for Gil to have a shot saved before the final whistle.
Clearly this was regarded as quite a heroic performance and a great point for the home side, but it was very frustrating for Spurs who were overtaken again by West Ham who won 4-1 at Watford. That’s where we are heading on Saturday. My post-match services will not be so swift then, as I intend to travel to Vicarage Road!
I wish all readers a truly happy, healthy and safe 2022!
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