Mauricio Pochettino is returning to St Mary's after Christmas with Tottenham looking fully charged towards a Champions League place. But can Spurs take their home form on the road to Pochettino's former team? Read on to find out.
Tottenham Hotspur have amassed four more points in 2016/17 than they had at the same stage last season and yet their rivals’ vast improvements give the perception of a difficult season for Mauricio Pochettino’s team. They remain compact and tidy in defence but are struggling to score goals.
Against Southampton, whose games have seen fewer goals than any other Premier League team, we are unlikely to witness a goal-fest. Under 2 and 2.5 goals is worth a bet at 2.02*, with a bore draw looking like the most probable outcome (3.28*).
Southampton average 0.51 goals per game, while the Spurs have conceded only 12 goals in 17 league matches.
Southampton matches average 0.51 goals per game, thanks largely to a rock-solid defence led by Virgril van Dijk and a meek attack that sorely misses its fulcrum, Charlie Austin. Only Burnley, Hull, and Sunderland have scored fewer than their 17 goals, but only Spurs and Chelsea have conceded fewer than Southampton’s 16.
What’s more, the Saints have kept three consecutive clean sheets at St. Mary’s while Spurs have not won any of their last five away matches – scoring just three goals in the process. When a stale Tottenham attack meets the cagey defensive tactics of Claude Puel, the result seems a foregone conclusion.
Southampton may have struck three at the weekend with Jay Rodriguez netting twice, but Spurs are extremely tough to score against; they have only conceded 12 goals in their previous 17 league matches. The fact that this match comes in the middle of the draining winter fixture list only adds to the sense that this one will not be a classic.
A defeat for Spurs could leave them ten points off the top of the table and level on points with a resurgent Manchester United. As such, they will be desperate not to lose this one and nicking a win will be very tough. Only Chelsea (twice) have won at this ground in the league since Spurs beat Southampton in December 2015. If you believe that Tottenham can steal all three points from Southampton, they are currently priced at 2.67*.
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