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Southampton vs. Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Steadying the ship

Spurs look to make it two in a row heading into the international break.

Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton FC - Premier League Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images

Though a managerial change still feels inevitable and squad turnover — to at least some extent — is rapidly approaching this summer, Tottenham Hotspur stopped the bleeding a bit with a comprehensive victory over Forest last weekend. Harry Kane scored a brace! Heung-Min Son started and got on the scoresheet! Fraser Forster...saved a penalty?

Three points against Forest is the expectation, but that is true for many of this season’s remaining matches. With just one midweek fixture left on the schedule, there is no reason Spurs cannot secure fourth place, despite three or four competitors who also benefit from a large cohort of relegation-level clubs at the bottom of the table.

Tottenham will face another one of these teams trying to survive this weekend. Southampton is currently in the worst position of all, staring up at 19 clubs ahead of them. This is a great way for Spurs to bounce back from their Champions League exit, taking a pair of wins into the season’s last international break.

Southampton (20th, 22pts) vs. Tottenham Hotspur (4th, 48pts)

Date: Saturday, March 18
Time: 11:00 am ET, 3:00 pm UK
Location: St. Mary’s Stadium, Southampton, England
TV: USA Network (USA)

Saints do not do a lot of things well, which explains why they sit in last place. Like Forest, they are bottom-three in scoring and have scored just three goals in their past eight league contests. Defensively, Southampton sits fourth-worst in goals conceded, but xGA sees this team closer to league-average; prior to Wednesday’s defeat to Brentford, the defense had allowed just one goal in four matches.

The last time these two sides met was way back on the season’s opening weekend. It was an interesting assortment of goals, and Spurs had relatively few problems carving through Saints, especially after going down early. Look for the attack to stay aggressive again in the reverse fixture this weekend.

Recent results:

I try not to caveat Tottenham wins based on level of competition, as anyone who has followed this club knows that there is no such thing as a guaranteed three points. That is why last Saturday’s win felt important, and why following it up with another victory would be great, especially given the overall vibes at the club right now.

The game plan can more or less stay the same, with last weekend’s starting XI looking pretty solid. Ben Davies appears to be the best option on the left, especially with Pedro Porro (finally) starting to look like the player he was touted to be. Sitting one of Son, Richarlison, or Dejan Kulusevski is never easy, but the former two had good outings against Forest and should start again.

How this season ends up will be determined by whether or not the players perform up to their potential. It is clear that this squad is not really greater than the sum of its parts, but it sure would be great to see those individual components actually look up to the task. There is no reason Spurs should struggle against Southampton, and this match will be yet another indicator of what to expect down the stretch.