To say Tottenham are on fire would be something of an understatement. 18 goals in their last six games gives them an average of three goals per game, and in that time they’ve conceded only three times.
Two of those goals, however, came in a home game against this weekend’s opponents Southampton on Boxing Day – though even then they were only consolation goals.
Interestingly, though, whilst the absence of number one goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is clearly a blow for Spurs, you might have said it was he who was at fault for those Saints strikes in December. His absence might negate that, but then again form is only temporary and the France captain is still one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League.
At the other end, though, the big goal threat for Tottenham is obvious. Harry Kane is a man with a decidedly anti-Newtonian effect on the gravitational pull of any set of goalposts he’s in front of. Somehow, he can’t stop scoring – when he finds the net in a game, he does it more than once.
The last time he scored just a single goal in a game was in November, against Leicester City. Ten goals in his last five starts is testament to the prolificacy of one of Europe’s top strikers, and a man who is hunting down Alan Shearer’s all-time goalscoring record with all the relentless rage of Liam Neeson pursuing baddies.
On the other hand, Dele Alli’s record of five goals and four assists against Southampton in his short Spurs career might suggest that it’s not only Kane Mauricio Pellegrino’s side have to worry about.
Spurs are a streaky kind of team in that, when they build up a head of steam it’s very difficult to stop them. We’ve seen over the last two years that when we get to the second half of the season, Tottenham are usually on the best form in the country.
That said, Mauricio Pochettino’s return to the south coast to face his former club is never an easy test, and it’s one with an added emotion. In football that often counts for more than you might originally think.
Without defeat in six games in all competitions, you’d expect Spurs to keep that up. But with Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Juventus coming up in successive games after the FA Cup fourth round next weekend, a blip here could send Pochettino’s side scrambling for form when they need it most.
Ever since that thumping at the Etihad Stadium at the hands of Manchester City in mid-December – when Pochettino tried to add an extra central midfielder by playing Harry Winks and Christian Eriksen either side of Mousa Dembele. And the back three of the start of the season was seemingly ditched a long time ago, after a defeat to Leicester City in November.
Toby Alderweireld is still injured – he could be back for this fixture, but perhaps with big games on the horizon rushing him back would be ill-advised – and that might mean a back four with two midfielders, a number ten and Harry Kane up front is still the most likely outcome in this game, too.
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