Sports Mole previews Wednesday’s Premier League clash between Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Antonio Conte‘s men eased past Brighton & Hove Albion 3-1 in the fourth round, while the Saints only just scraped past Coventry City 2-1.
With new arrivals Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur in tow, Tottenham relied on the old faithful Harry Kane to get the job done against Brighton, with the England captain bagging a brace to keep Spurs’ fleeting hopes of silverware alive this term.
Emerson Royal‘s mazy run preceded his effort flying into the back of the net following a significant deflection off of Solly March from a tight angle as Yves Bissouma struck a consolation for Brighton, and FA Cup giant killers Middlesbrough are now standing in their way of a quarter-final appearance.
Ending the 14-year trophy drought would be a sure-fire way for Conte to etch his name into the Tottenham history books after less than a season in charge, as would steering the club back into the Champions League, but defeat to former club Chelsea did not aid that bid before the international break.
The Lilywhites return to Premier League action still with their top-four destiny in their own hands despite their seventh-placed standing, as Manchester United sit just two points clear of Spurs in the final Champions League spot having played two more matches, and they also have games in hand over Arsenal and West Ham United.
Spurs have taken 13 points from a possible 15 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium since Conte took charge and have also found the back of the net at least twice on each occasion, so Southampton fans can be forgiven for harbouring a pessimistic mindset on Wednesday.
Coventry City threatened quite the upset at St Mary’s as they went into half time of their FA Cup tie with Southampton 1-0 up thanks to Viktor Gyokeres‘s effort, and only a Stuart Armstrong stunner could force extra time on the Premier League turf.
Both of Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s half-time substitutions ended up paying dividends in the fourth round, as Kyle Walker Peters propelled the Saints over the line in the 112th minute before they turn their attention to their mid-table obscurity in the top flight.
Walker-Peters was on target once again in the visit of Manchester City to St Mary’s before the international break, with that impressive 1-1 draw against the champions seeing Hasenhuttl’s men occupy 12th position after 22 games, with the Saints in no real position to challenge for Europe or be dragged into a relegation dogfight.
Failure to keep a clean sheet in each of their last 11 Premier League matches does not exactly set the visitors up well for a trip to North London, though, and Hasenhuttl has also witnessed his side ship at least two goals in each of their last six on the road in the top flight.
Southampton did manage to hold Tottenham to a 1-1 draw on the South Coast back in December, but Spurs have won each of their last five home games against the Saints in the Premier League, albeit without a single clean sheet.
Tottenham Hotspur Premier League form:
Tottenham Hotspur form (all competitions):
Southampton Premier League form:
Southampton form (all competitions):
Kulusevski and Bentancur both came off the bench for their Tottenham debuts against Brighton, and Conte may want to keep introducing the pair to English football slowly as they prepare to play substitute roles again.
Dier may be ready to return to the matchday squad here but is unlikely to be risked from the first whistle, with the hosts potentially deploying an unchanged XI after a strong showing in the cup.
Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Romero, Sanchez, Davies; Emerson, Winks, Hojbjerg, Reguilon; Lucas, Kane, Son
Southampton possible starting lineup:
Forster; Salisu, Bednarek, Stephens; Livramento, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Walker-Peters; Redmond, Adams, A. Armstrong
We say: Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Southampton
Tottenham’s affinity for goals at home coupled with Southampton’s inability to keep the back door shut on the road makes it difficult to envisage Hasenhuttl’s men making their midweek trip to the capital worthwhile.
Conte will stress the message to his players that dropped points in games such as this one is simply not an option if they want to remain in the driving seat for a top-four place, so we can only back Spurs to prevail comfortably here.