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Friday, 18 January, 2019

Spurs set for a tough Saints scrap to stay in the race

Draw appeals with pair of defences set to keep shape

Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli
1 of 1

Premier League
Sky Sports 1, 7.45pm

Tottenham are under pressure to respond after victories for Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United on Monday but they may have to settle for a point against improving Southampton on the south coast.

Champions League qualification is the aim for the Londoners, who are four points adrift of fourth-placed Arsenal and 13 behind leaders Chelsea.

But they are set for a tough game against the Saints, who are holding out hope of putting some pressure on the top six.

Victory for Southampton would take them to within six points of Spurs and extend their unbeaten sequence to five.

Saints were impressive 3-1 winners at Bournemouth last time out despite Claude Puel, making six changes to the starting line up. And their strength in depth is likely to come in handy as they embark on a run of three games in six days.

The match could showcase a clash of similar styles with both teams looking to adopt a high press, while maintaining a disciplined defensive shape.

Goals could be in short supply given that Spurs hold the second best defensive record in the division (12 goals conceded) and Southampton the third-best (16 conceded).

Tottenham always look more solid when Toby Alderweireld is anchoring the backline and the influential Belgian is set to return after missing the 2-1 victory over Burnley with a minor back injury.

Offensively, Spurs are still reliant on seven-goal top scorer Harry Kane, who heads the first goalscorer betting, although Christian Eriksen is enjoying a purple patch with five goals in the last five league games.

However, away wins have been hard to come by and the most recent – a 2-1 success at Middlesbrough – was achieved more than three months ago.

While Spurs have been finding it hard to win on the road, Saints have been struggling against the heavyweight teams.

They have taken two points from five matches against teams in the top six, scoring just two goals, and their 2-1 win at White Hart Lane last season was at the end of a week which had killed off Spurs’ title hopes.

The main reason for Southampton’s slowish start to this season was a lack of goals and additional firepower may be something they will look to add in January.

For now they must hope for a return to form for Nathan Redmond – no goal in 12 appearances – and an injury-free run of games for Jay Rodriguez, who netted twice in the win against Bournemouth.

However, like Spurs, the Saints have a solid defence to fall back on and should continue to be very difficult to beat.

Three of their last four home games have featured no more than one goal and, with another tight game on the cards, the draw looks a value call.

1pt 23-10 bet365, Paddy Power

Bet on Southampton v Tottenham at

Team news
Oriel Romeu returns after a ban but Jordy Clasie (groin) joins Matt Targett and Charlie Austin on the sidelines.

Toby Alderweireld (back), Danny Rose (thigh) and Vincent Janssen (ankle) are available but Erik Lamela (hip) is out.

Key stat
Tottenham have not won any of their last eight away fixtures


Goals could be in short supply given that Spurs hold the second best defensive record in the division (12 goals conceded) and Southampton the third-best (16 conceded)
E.W. Terms
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