Outside of a few week stretch in late November, what has been fantastic about this year’s Tottenham Hotspur team is their ability to bounce back after a poor result. The team’s form in the Champions League has been remarkable, but Spurs haven’t put in a spell of utter dominance in the Premier League in the season’s first half. Yet Saturday’s 3-0 victory over a strong Burnley side is Exhibit A of what has worked so far. The team hasn’t been masterclass throughout, but they manage to put points on the board, and when they are victorious, they do so in convincing fashion.
The win was fortuitous in that every single team above Spurs, save the fortress that is Manchester City, dropped points. Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, and United all drew, while Burnley lost. That jumps Tottenham up two places to fifth place, one point behind Liverpool in fourth place, five behind third-placed Chelsea, and seven points back from second-placed Manchester United.
Tottenham’s Boxing Day opponent is Southhampton and this is the worst rendition of the Saints that the Premier League has seen in years. Southhampton has only two wins since October 21st and their last win was against Everton on November 26th. In that time period they did draw against Arsenal, but also dropped points to Huddersfield, Brighton, Bournemouth, Burnley, and Leicester — all teams that supporters would feel they are capable of taking three points from. In their defense, they did have matches against City, Chelsea, Liverpool, and yes Arsenal, which isn’t the most straight forward of run-ins.
Dusan Tadic is the club’s most talented offensive player and is the man who makes both their midfield and attack tick. He has started fifteen games thus far and has two goals to his name. The striker situation has been pretty mixed. Shane Long, Manuel Gabbiadini, and Charlie Austin have all had their fair share of playing time, with not one of these strikers really distancing themselves from their other. For Gabbiadini it has been an especially disappointing term as he lit the Prem on fire for a large swath of last season. Of these players, Austin has the least starts, but the most goals at five, though his status for Tuesday is in question due to his antics against Huddersfield on Saturday. Nathan Redmond represents their most direct threat going forward for Southhampton.
The Saints best player is Ryan Bertrand, who has been consistently linked to “bigger” clubs over the past year. The former Chelsea man is a dynamic and athletic outside back, who can absolutely dominate an entire flank when he is in form. Like Austin though, his status in question for Tuesday with a hamstring injury, as is fellow defender Cedric Soares, who didn’t suit up against Huddersfield. Without these two strong outside backs, Southhampton lose a lot on both sides of the ball. Maya Yoshisha has been their most consistent central defender this season as Virgil Van Dijk’s campaign has been mired in speculation and uncertainty. The Saints are ranked seventeenth in clean sheets this season and twelfth for goals conceded. They are a team solid defenders, but nonetheless have conceded more than they would like this campaign.
Its the Christmas season and Southhampton’s form and injury status heading into this fixture looks like a gift to Tottenham Hotspur. And while three points is incredibly important, so is getting Harry Kane on the scoreline. With one single goal he will tie Lionel Messi for the most goals in 2017 at fifty-four. With two, he will surpass Messi as the world’s greatest goalscorer this year. Neither Messi, Ronaldo, Cavani, or Lewandowski, those giant names that surround him, have a match left in 2017. Lets pull for our hero to produce one last bit of magic in 2017 and make more history.
How to Watch
Date/time: Tuesday, December 26th, 2017, 12:30 p.m. (UK), 7:30 a.m. ET (USA)
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London, UK
Official: Graham Scott
TV: NBCSN (NBC Sports Live Extra), Sky Sports Premier League, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio, NOW TV UK, Sky Go UK, Sky Sports Main Event, SKY GO Extra(UK), Sportsnet Pacific, Sportsnet West, Sportsnet World Now, Sportsnet East,Sportsnet Ontario (Canada), Optus Sport, SBS, SBS Live (Australia), other listings at livesoccertv.com
Streaming: NBC Sports Live Extra (USA)Radio: Audio streamed at tottenhamhotspur.com, also often at BBC Radio London,BBC Radio 5 Live, and TalkSport
Harry Winks missed the Burnley match, but his absence doesn’t seem long term. Toby and Victor remain out. I’d imagine that there will a rotation of the outside backs, though it was peculiar that Ben Davies featured in place of Danny Rose when it was technically his turn to play. Maybe Poch viewed Rose’s play as more optimal against Southhampton? Either way both Danny and Kieran will rotate in. Moose came on as substitute on Saturday, so I think he starts on Tuesday. There is also a potential for Erik Lamela to feature, if he does it would be for Sonny.
My guess at the starting lineup is as follows: Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, and Rose across the backline, Eric Dier and Mousa Dembélé in the double pivot, with Eriksen, Lamela, and Dele in the attacking band, and Harry Kane up top.
The majority of the masthead picked a Spurs victory, but nobody thought we’d win by a three goal margin against the defensive minded Burnley at Turf Moor. There were some slip-ups though. Ed F picked a Spurs loss, while Joe Patrick, Alex Greenberg, and Pardeep Cattry all predicted a draw. Menno and Wertheimer retain a share of the lead!
Cartilage Free Captain Prediction League Standings 2017-18
|Earl of Shoop||12|
Dustin Menno: Harry Kane needs a goal to eclipse Shearer and two to eclipse Messi. He'll get them. 3-0 Spurs.
Matthew Pachniuk: Southhampton is banged up and in poor form. It won’t be a cake walk, but I think Spurs will win. C’mon Harry! Spurs 2-0.
GN Punk: All I want for Boxing Day is another Harry Hat Trick. Spurs 3-0
Jake Meador: We're looking good and Southampton has been distinctly average this year. It's tighter than the Burnley game, but we still win 2-0.
Skipjack: TBD (Happy Holidays!)
Pardeep Cattry: Charlie Austin is most likely out of this one, and Harry Kane is in form again. Sounds like a nice Boxing Day for Spurs. Tottenham 2-0.
Earl of Shoop: TBD (Happy Holidays!)
Ed F: TBD (Happy Holidays!)
Salmon Chase: We are coming in hotter than a standing rib roast and slicker than a garlic rosemary butter sauce. 2-0 Spurs.
Bryan A: TBD (Happy Holidays!)
Joe Patrick: The festive fixtures seem like they're gonna be good. 3-1 Spurs.
Alex Greenberg: Harry Kane is going to spend the day after Christmas terrorizing some Saints. 4-1 Spurs.
Joel Wertheimer: This one feels like it might get silly. 4-2 Spurs.
Nathan Giannini: All I want for Boxing Day is another Harry Hat Trick. Spurs 3-0.