Southampton was the dominant side to start, with the team’s attack forcing Hugo Lloris into making three saves in the opening ten minutes. For the visitors, the most convincing of the early shots came from Sofiane Boufal in the seventh minute, who made a strong run into the penalty area before his shot was saved.
Regardless, it was Tottenham who opened the scoring courtesy of an own goal. Ryan Sessegnon won the ball after a long ball from Harry Winks, and made a run into the penalty area before attempting a shot that was blocked by Jack Stephens. The ball then ended up at the feet of Tanguy Ndombele, whose shot then hit Stephens before the ball ended up in the goal.
Though the score benefitted Spurs, the match went back to its previous dynamic and Southampton began its search for an equalizer. Danny Ings came up with Southampton’s first great chance to equalize in the 19th minute, but sent the ball over the goal despite having a clear shot. Still, Southampton had fully established its dominance by the middle of the half, maintaining more than 60% possession for almost the entirety of the first half.
Southampton was eventually rewarded for its efforts in the 34th minute. Nathan Redmond took a shot in a crowded penalty area, which Lloris managed to save. However, he sent the ball back into play and a nearby Shane Long was able to finish the chance.
Both sides ended up with further chances to end the first half, but the score was even. Southampton, though, was clearly the better side.
The visitors maintained their momentum to start the second half, showing off a nicely working press. Spurs managed another early opportunity to go ahead, but Lucas Moura’s 53rd minute header missed the target. The match continued its flow of Southampton dominance coupled with an underperforming Spurs defense, which was evident on Long’s goal. The efforts resulted in José Mourinho taking off Jan Vertonghen in the 54th minute for Gedson Fernandes in an effort to change things up.
Though somewhat slowly, Spurs finally managed a strong spell of possession by the middle of the half. The team spent several minutes in Southampton’s half, though ended up with few meaningful opportunities. The match quickly turned after that, though.
Southampton scored their own go ahead goal in the 72nd minute, with Ings getting the credit. The play started with stellar work from Redmond, who ran almost the entire length of the pitch before sending the ball to Ings. From there, Ings made a run into the penalty area before scoring past Lloris.
Spurs were not out of it for long, with Lucas scoring the equalizer just six minutes later. Substitute Dele sent the ball to Lucas, who had made a long run and eventually beat out Jannik Vestergaard to score on the edge of the penalty area.
The momentum finally shifted Spurs’ way after that goal, setting up for a competitive 12 minutes with extra time looming. The teams never made it that far, though, with the referee awarding Spurs a penalty in the 86th minute after goalkeeper Angus Gunn appeared to foul Son. Son then successfully converted the penalty, and the team was able to successfully close out the match, in part by killing the clock in Southampton’s half.
The result means Spurs next face Norwich City at home in the FA Cup, with the match scheduled for March 5.
Thoughts on the match
- Though Spurs eventually won, most of the starters were not at their best, and particularly those in defense. Though it was a group effort when it came to Southampton’s first goal, Vertonghen and Eric Dier stood out as weak links.
- Between this match and the previous, Spurs look to be grinding out matches while not performing perfectly. There are positives and negatives to take from that, but in the case of this match, Spurs were lucky to get the win despite a poor opening 60 minutes.
- Though it was hardly a great day for Spurs, a few players impressed: Sessegnon did well to keep the attack going, particularly in the first, pressing nicely. Dele’s entrance in the 61st minute changed the match, and Gedson continues to show potential.
- A further positive: Tanguy Ndombele may not yet be 90 minutes fit, but 60 minutes is a pretty nice shift.