This is make or break for Tottenham. Last weeks disappointing 2-2 draw at Wigan left their Champions League dreams hanging in the balance. Spurs have a habit of falling at the final hurdle in seasons gone past and start a week of definition with the visit of Southampton. They face tough trips to Chelsea and Stoke next week and must pick up maximum from the Saints if they’re to maintain hope of staying in touch with the top-four. Andre Villas-Boas has to drill into his side the importance of making this home match count ahead of the showdown at Stamford Bridge.
Mauricio Pochettino can approach the season’s conclusion without the threat of relegation playing on his mind and that of his players. Their capitulation at home to West Brom last week aside, Southampton have been excellent during the second half of the campaign under the Argentine’s stewardship. Some stellar showings against the Premier League big boys have led many to admire Pochettino’s high tempo-pressing game and he’ll require his squad to produce another lung bursting effort if they’re to leave White Hart Lane with a victory under their belt.
Tottenham will have Moussa Dembele’s fitness assessed before kick-off as he struggles to shake off a hamstring injury, but Emmanuel Adebayor (knee) and Jake Livermore (hamstring) are both available.
Gaston Ramirez and Danny Fox both begin suspensions for Southampton after they were sent off against West Brom last week. Left back Luke Shaw has recovered from an ankle injury and should play.
What the managers said…
“I would be extremely surprised [if Bale left] because this is the assurance I have. In football anything can happen, it’s impossible to predict, but this is the assurance I have had from the club. The information that I have from the club is that the player is here to remain independent of the objectives of Champions League qualification being achieved or not.” Andre Villas-Boas is adamant Gareth Bale won’t leave Tottenham (Guardian)
“I think the last game that we played was one of the matches where we created the least number of chances so we have to be able to express all of the anger that we have from the West Bromwich game and channel that into a positive way for the game against Tottenham on Saturday. We have to be confident in our abilities and at one hundred per cent on the day so that we can win.” Mauricio Pochettino wants the right response from Southampton following defeat last week (saintsfc.co.uk)
Pre-match Statistic: Southampton have gone 281 minutes without conceding a goal on their travels in the Premier League.
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Southampton