Opposing views: Southampton vs Tottenham Hotspur fan preview
Ronald Koeman’s Southampton side have been struggling to string a set of results together in recent weeks, without a win since early November. The South coast outfit have not been playing poorly but luck has simply not been on their side. On the other hand, Spurs had been unbeaten since the first weekend of the Premier League season until they came unstuck against Newcastle United last time out. With both sides looking to return to winning ways, will we see a victor or is a draw perhaps the most likely outcome? Either way, expect an exciting game.
Ahead of Saturday’s highly anticipated match-up, we had two of our followers pen their thoughts:
The hosts: Southampton
I’m Dan Noutch, a journalism student at the University of the West of England and a big Saints fan.
The away win at Sunderland last month seems ages ago now after picking up just one point in the following four league games plus an embarrassing exit from the Capital One Cup at home to Liverpool. We’ve got a tough run of fixtures over the festive period starting with a difficult match against Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs and we desperately need a win to boost confidence after this very poor run.
Manager approval rating – 9/10
As much as I was disappointed to see Mauricio Pochettino go, I don’t think Ronald Koeman has put a foot wrong at St. Mary’s. We’re playing good football under him, he’s recruited well and got us into Europe – albeit a poor showing. It’s great to have a manager that speaks with a refreshing honesty which is why he’s so popular down on the south coast.
Predicted starting line-up
I think the big question for Koeman will be whether to stick with Gazzaniga in goal or choose Stekelenburg if he’s fit. Gazzaniga hadn’t done much to win over the faith of the Saints fans before last week’s superb showing at Palace, so I think Koeman will return to the experienced Stekelenburg in this big game. There’s a lot of depth to our midfield this season and no one has seemed to cement themselves into the hole left behind by Morgan Schneiderlin. I would expect Pelle to replace Long upfront and I hope the Italian will cause as many problems to the Spurs backline as he did in this fixture last season.
Player to watch – Saido Mané
I love watching Saido Mané play. When he has a good game, he’s unplayable and untouchable. He is the player the Saints fans look to when we need a goal or a moment of magic. Mané was unfazed by the reported interest in him in the summer and continues to be a crucial part of the team.
Most feared opposition player – Christian Eriksen
Eriksen is a very good, creative player and he’s deadly from set pieces. He has been influential in Spurs’ recent good games against us but he is just one player out of many that Pochettino has improved at Spurs. He’s turned Kane into an England international, made Alli’s transition from MK Dons to Spurs look easy and is getting the best out of Lamela.
2-2. I think this could be one of our toughest games so far this season and there have been quite a few goals in this fixture recently. Spurs have got plenty of goals in their team and, although struggling in front of goal recently, you can almost always back Saints to find the back of the net, especially if Spurs are as poor as they were in the second half against Newcastle.
The visitors: Tottenham Hotspur
My name is Shem Timothy, I am a Spurs fan who was born in London but lives in the Caribbean.
After going 14 games unbeaten, which is a Premier League record for the Club, Spurs are starting to hit a sticky patch. They have failed to win any of their last three matches. Last time out against a rejuvenated Newcastle United, Spurs failed to make use of their dominance and finish the game in the first half, instead allowing Newcastle to equalize late in the second half before scoring a last minute winner.
Manager approval rating: 9/10
Mauricio Pochettino wasn’t the preference of every Spurs fan when he was hired. A “proven winner” in the form of Frank de Boer or Rafa Benitez was preferred. However, the majority eventually accepted his appointment, even if it was a case of “wait and see”. Eighteen months later and there isn’t a Spurs fan who is not thrilled by the tough, but caring Argentinian who has brought back exciting football to White Hart Lane with a core of young, predominantly British players and has given the Spurs fans a team to be proud of.
Predicted starting line up:
Player to watch: Erik Lamela
After two subpar seasons, Erik Lamela is beginning to come into his own at White Hart Lane. A hat-trick in the first half against AS Monaco was followed by a strong performance against Newcastle and had he not been denied twice by Rob Elliot, could have topped it off with a brace. Southampton can expect tenacity, creativity and a newfound goal threat from Erik Lamela this weekend.
Most feared opposition player: Sadio Mané
Every time I’ve watched Southampton, Sadio Mané always stood out. He is a live-wire, never stops running and will be a handful for the Spurs defence on Saturday.
Southampton have not been in the best of form and while Spurs have slipped up these past few weeks, they will be eager to return to winning ways. It is going to be a close game. 1-0 to Tottenham or, yet another 1-1 draw.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Kody Platter