Down a man for most of the match, Spurs dug deep and put in a herculean effort at home to dispatch Southampton by a final score of 2-1.
The first ten minutes of the match were not great to watch as Spurs looked lethargic to open up. There didn’t seem to be a sense of urgency on anything, whether it was turning the ball over and trying to get possession back or just building up an attack. Southampton had a couple of half chances early on, then had a big chance just before the ten minute mark as James Ward-Prowse one-timed a shot for the low corner. Hugo Lloris, returning to the lineup after his wife gave birth last weekend, made a big save to keep it scoreless.
Spurs adjusted after that chance and started to handle Southampton’s press better, getting deeper into the attacking half and earning a free kick in the 16th minute. A well-worked routine where Eriksen chipped the ball over the defensive wall to Kane could easily have been a goal, but Kane’s plant leg slipped before he could pull the trigger.
Tottenham got their breakthrough in the 24th minute. After Kane headed a ball backwards to Heung Min Son, the Korean international flicked a pass to a waiting Tanguy Ndombele for a one-time attempt. The shot fooled Gunn and might have taken a slight deflection, but it found the back of the net regardless to put Spurs up 1-0.
Spurs looked bright after the goal, but that changed after Serge Aurier picked up yellow cards in quick succession in the 29th and 32nd minute to get sent off. If Spurs were going to get all three points, they’d have to do it down a man for 60 minutes.
Spurs handled going down a man well, but gave up the equalizer in one of the dumbest possible ways in the 39th minute. With the ball played back to him, Hugo took his time and looked ready to send the ball deep. He changed his mind and tried to play a pullback, but missed it and Danny Ings pressed at the right time for Southampton. He got the ball and just pushed it into the net as Hugo flailed at it falling to the ground.
After 62,000 people opted not to commit seppuku after that blunder, Spurs got right back on the attack. A great build up led to Eriksen feeding Kane near the penalty spot. The ball popped up on him but it made no difference to the England #9 as he blasted a volley into the low corner to restore Spurs’ lead at 2-1, ending one of the weirdest halves of football I’ve watched in recent memory.
Tottenham made no changes at the half and settled into a 4-4-1 formation, with Sissoko remaining at right back while Eriksen and Son dropped back into deeper midfield positions. Subs would have to wait until deeper in the second half.
Spurs gave up a free kick in the 56th minute about 30 yards out from goal, definitely within the range of the dangerous James Ward-Prowse. His free kick was a very good one but didn’t go top corner like he wanted, allowing Hugo to make an acrobatic save over the crossbar. The ensuing corner kick led to nothing but a goal kick for Spurs.
The ball basically lived in in Spurs half for the first twenty minutes of the second half, and another corner kick in the 62nd minute almost resulted in another equalizer. Hugo was called into action again, making an amazing save to deny Maya Yoshida on a free header.
The second half turned into a sh*thousing affair as both sides found new and interesting ways to commit fouls and get away with them. Eventually, Pochettino brought on Eric Dier in the 77th minute to refresh the midfield and pulling Tanguy Ndombele, who had a solid shift overall.
Tottenham almost put the match away in the 84th minute as Kane came free on a run into the penalty area. His shot was aimed for far post and rolled past Gunn, but was just a bit too far wide and rolled out to touch. That was basically the final chance of the match for either side as Spurs wasted time when they could and stifled the Southampton attack. The final whistle came to hand Spurs all three points.
Thoughts on the match:
- Well that match was definitely....something. A weird first half and a sh*thousing second half sure made it a memorable one.
- Man of the Match for me goes to Sissoko. He slotted into right back and clamped down. Big shout out to him for making the best of a bad situation.
- Hugo had one of the wildest matches ever. His blunder goes on the Mount Rushmore of f*ck-ups, yet he made three big saves to preserve the match. Next time, just clear the damn ball.
- Sonny covered so much ground in his shift today. He was fantastic on the wing.
- Tanguy Ndombele was fantastic as well. He makes such a damn difference with his movement and passing.
- This could have easily been an awful match after going down to ten minute in the 32nd minute, but the boys put in a massive effort today and got three points when we needed it the most.
- Next up is Bayern Munich in the Champions League.