The defeat at Newcastle was a tough one to take, but we move on. Up next for Spurs is trip to Southampton to face a side that has struggled as of late. While the Saints were unbeaten in all competitions through October, they’ve managed only one point through their past five matches, including a 6-1 loss to Liverpool in the League Cup. This spell has left Ronald Koeman’s side in 12th position on 21 points heading into Saturday’s match.
Last week against Crystal Palace, Koeman changed from a 4-2-3-1 to a 3-5-2, a system that the Dutch manager believes could be useful in the future as well. So come Saturday, both a back four and a back three are possibilities.
Southampton were without starting goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg against Palace through a toe injury – as of Thursday morning he is listed as having a 75% chance of playing Saturday. His replacement, should he remain unavailable, is Paulo Gazzaniga.
If Koeman reverts to a back four, the defense will consist of center backs, Jose Fonte and Virgil van Dijk flanked by left back, Ryan Bertrand and right back, Cédric Soares. Though if the Saints instead line up with a back three, Bertrand and Soares will likely move into wingback roles with Maya Yoshida coming in as the third center back.
In the centereof midfield, we should see some combination of Victor Wanyama, Oriol Romeu and James Ward-Prowse. Against Palace, Koeman opted for Wanyama and Romeu, with Ward-Prowse coming off the bench. Wanyama and Romeu are more defensively minded than Ward-Prowse and will sit a bit deeper than the young Englishman.
On the right side of the attacking midfield, look for Sadio Mané. The Senegalese winger leads Southampton in assists (5) and has scored three times this season. He’ll be a significant threat and should provide a challenge for Rose.
In the other two attacking midfield spots, we could see Steven Davis and Dusan Tadic. Two weeks ago, against Villa, Davis played in the number 10 role and Tadic lined up on the outside. Against Crystal Palace, however, Tadic came off the bench.
Over Southampton’s last four Premier League matches, Koeman has alternated between starting Shane Long at striker and starting Graziano Pellé at striker. Pellé has scored six times this campaign to Long’s two, but both are scoring at a rate of 0.4 goals per 90 minutes. Long got the start last weekend at Selhurst Park.
As of Thursday morning, Dembélé and N’Jie are listed as having a 75% chance of playing Saturday, with Ryan Mason and Alex Pritchard listed as unavailable. While this could change between now and the match, expect a lineup very similar to last weekend’s. Though perhaps we’ll see Chadli replace Carroll and bump Alli back alongside Eric Dier.
The Spurs Project Goal Difference is -.37, slightly favoring Southampton but projecting a draw. This will be Poch’s second return to St. Mary’s since leaving Southampton for Spurs, on the first occasion the match ended in a 2-2 draw.
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