Tottenham Hotspur are going to Wembley and that is always a wonderful thing. A strong performance against visiting Everton saw Spurs retain the second spot in the Premier League table, while their rout of Millwall at White Hart Lane punched their ticket to the FA Cup semi-finals. Their lackluster February seems solidly behind them and the team is playing superb football at an important time of the year.
That form will need to continue as Spurs host an attack-minded Southampton. The Saints have been particularly high-flying of late posting ten goals in their last three matches, including two four goal showings against Sunderland and Watford, along with another two notched on the scoresheet in their heartbreaking EFL Cup final defeat to Manchester United. They are dead center in the Premier League standings in tenth place with thirty-three points, but have the feel of team that should be a bit higher than they are. While they were devastated by Arsenal and Everton in January, they also posted a 1-0 win over a quality Liverpool side in that same span. In short, they have the talent to knock off anyone home or away.
The deadline day transfer of Manolo Gabbiadini has been an instant success. The Italian has been prolific since his arrival from Napoli, scoring six goals in just four appearances — an incredibly proficient start to his Premier League career that is for sure. Yet Gabbiadini isn’t the only threat going forward for the Saints. His introduction has allowed Dusan Tadic a more central role of which he has flourished in of late, while James Ward-Prouse, Nathan Redmond, and Oriol Romeu are all having fine campaigns as well. Ward-Prouse and Redmond’s play has been rewarded as they are included in the England camp for the coming international break.
The team is without its resident sentinel, Virgil van Dijk, but there is still plenty of quality in their backline, specifically in their outside back positions. Ryan Bertrand continues to be a fantastic player for the Saints since his signing from Chelsea, while Cedric Soares just got a call to the Portuguese National Team camp and has been effective two-way player from the right-back spot.
Without taking too much away from Tottenham’s next five opponents, this Southampton side looks the toughest task until late April and Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final. Its a match that Spurs should win, but one that will require ninety minutes of supreme focus. Southampton is more than capable of nabbing a point and maybe even three if Spurs don’t bring it. Look for Tottenham Hotspur to attempt to hold second place in the Premier League on Sunday against the Saints.
How to Watch
Date/time: Sunday, 2:15 p.m. (UK), 10:15 a.m. ET (USA)
Venue: White Hart Lane, London, UK
Official: Andre Marriner
TV: NBCSN (NBC Sports Live Extra), Sky Sports 1 HD/UK, Sky Go UK, BBC Radio 5 Live (UK), TSN1, TSN5, TSNGO (Canada), Optus Sport (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
The awful news is that Harry Kane is injured and Spurs struggle to collect three points when he isn’t leading the line. Sheer optimism has me thinking that we’ll be okay without him due to the favorable run-in in his predicted absence, but we weren’t okay in October when he was sidelined. We are never fine without Harry in the lineup, but lets hope Janssen or Son can step-up and keep the train running on the right track. Kyle Walker and Victor Wanyama are reported to have minor knocks, but both are expected to play. Danny Rose will also be unavailable for the match, while Erik Lamela’s likelihood of return this season seems ever more improbable.
Much like Danny Rose’s injury, Harry Kane’s leave doesn’t necessarily effect the way Spurs will line-up too much. Poche will stay with the 3-4-3, the big question is who will start up front in Kane’s stead. Son is the odd man out when Spurs sacrifice the third man in the attacking band for an extra central defender in the 3-4-3 and is usually the first one to be introduced when Pochettino wants to make a change. Janssen, on the other hand, is an out and out center forward and an appropriate direct replacement for Kane.
I’d love for Janssen to be given this run of games and see if he can have a breakthrough, but this isn’t how Poche thinks. He will prefer the best eleven to start on the pitch over the more natural substitute that is Janssen. Thus, Heung-Min Son will be handed the starting striker role on Sunday. Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli will play and interchange behind him, while Moose and Victor will roam the center of the park. Kyle Walker and Ben Davies will be in their wing-back positions, while Dier, Alderweireld, and Vertonghen will form the back three. Hugo will start in net.
What an interesting matchweek in the Cartilage Free Captain Prediction League standings! Jake Meador predicted a draw two Sundays ago, while two of his chief rivals came out firing by nailing accurate results. GN Punk predicted a 1-0 Spurs win, while Brian Mechanick was a MASSIVE fan of second half stoppage time and secured himself two points with a dead-on prediction of a 3-2 Spurs win. Both of these fine young lads move into a three-way tie in first place with perennial front-runner Jake Meador.
Cartilage Free Captain Prediction League Standings
|Earl of Shoop||13|
Dustin Menno: No Kane? No problem. Sonny gets the start, but Vincent is a second half substitute and bags a quick brace to prove the naysayers wrong. 3-0 Spurs.
Matthew Pachniuk: With Harry Kane joining Danny Rose on the sidelines, Spurs are now without two of their best players but, more importantly, two of their grittiest leaders. It will be interesting to see who steps up in place of Kane and if the team can produce without him. I think they can, even against a very good Southampton side. Whoever starts, Janssen or Son, will get a goal and so will Christian Eriksen. 2-1 Spurs.
Brian Mechanick: No Kane worries me on the offense. The defense is at full freight though, and that is what matters. An Alli goal, a Son goal, and thank you very much for three points. 2-0 Spurs
Pardeep Cattry: Harry Kane is dead -- I mean injured. Worry not, though, someone will pick up the slack (probably Dele). Spurs 1-0.
Jake Meador: We make it dumb and annoying and more complicated than it needs to be but pull out a 1-0 win.
GN Punk: With Danny Rose at 90% forever, Harry Kane out, and Erik Lamela still dead.....I'm still confident Spurs can get this done. Spurs 2-1.
Alex Greenberg: I'm going to regret this: But I think we'll be fine without Kane for a few weeks. Dele and Son to the rescue, as they both score and we win 2-0.