Tottenham Hotspur continue their challenge for the Champions League spots on Wednesday night, with Southampton set to provide the opposition at St Marys (7.45pm on Sky Sports 1).
Spurs bounced back from their defeat by Manchester United earlier this month with consecutive victories over Burnley and Hull City at White Hart Lane in their last two outings. Being knocked out of the Champions League at the group stage last month was a bitter blow for Mauricio Pochettino (pictured) and the club’s supporters after they worked so hard to qualify for the competition in 2015/16. There is still plenty that can be salvaged this term, with just one point separating Tottenham from the top four after 17 games. Spurs’ problem at times this campaign has been a lack of creativity, but Christian Eriksen has looked much sharper in recent weeks and could play a big part when his side take on a Southampton outfit that can be difficult to prise open.
Southampton also came out on top last time out, beating south coast rivals Bournemouth by three goals to one at the Vitality Stadium. It was an important victory after disappointing performances against Stoke City (a 0-0 draw when the Potters were reduced to 10 men in the first half) and Crystal Palace (a 3-0 loss, the only game the Eagles have won since September) in the last few weeks, with Claude Puel’s charges now up to seventh spot in the standings. They too were recently eliminated from continental competition when a 1-1 draw with Hapoel Be’er Sheva was not enough to see them advance to the knockout rounds of the Europa League. Southampton’s focus is now firmly on domestic matters as the midway point of the Premier League season approaches.
Spurs will probably be unable to call upon Erik Lamela once more, but Toby Alderweireld and Vincent Janssen should be fit enough to feature – the former in the starting the line-up, the latter as a substitute. Eric Dier may have to settle for a place on the bench as Victor Wanyama and Mousa Dembele form a solid midfield pairing, while Danny Rose and Kyle Walker will both be looking to continue their terrific form either side of Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen at full-back.
Southampton remain without Joel Pied, Alex McCarthy and Matt Targett, while Charlie Austin could be sidelined until the middle of April after dislocating his shoulder. Jay Rodriguez should keep his place at centre-forward after his two goals proved pivotal in the defeat of Bournemouth, with Puel likely to stick with the 4-3-3 formation he employed against Eddie Howe’s charges. Sofiane Boufal is a player Tottenham will have to keep a close eye on, with the summer signing in fine form as part of Saints’ fluid and free-flowing front three.
Our Preview’s Saints v Tottenham Betting Tips
This is a tough game for this preview to call, particularly as both Southampton and Tottenham have been a little guilty of inconsistency at times during the first half of the campaign. On balance, though, it could be worth putting your money behind a victory for the visitors at St Marys. Aside from the aforementioned loss to Manchester United, there have been signs in recent weeks that Pochettino’s charges are slowly getting back to their best, and a continuation of that should be enough to get them over the line on Wednesday.
Both teams do tend to keep things tight at the back, however – Southampton have conceded the third fewest goals in the division and Spurs the second least – so an away triumph with under 2.5 goals to be scored in total looks like the best betting tip here. This preview’s second betting tip is for Christian Eriksen to score at any time.
In summary, here are our preview’s betting tips for this Saints v Spurs festive clash: