On Mauricio Pochettino’s 5 year Premier League anniversary, his Spurs side travelled to the south coast where Poch’s Premier League journey began. However, this would be no fairy tale visit for the Argentine.
As the match kicked off in terrible conditions, Spurs fans were extremely loud in the away end, while anyone associated with the Saints appeared to be in a state of subdued anxiety.
Tottenham had the early pressure, however the mood in the stadium changed dramatically when Davinson Sanchez reached out a leg to deflect a wide cross from Ryan Bertrand past Michel Vorm into his own net.
Spurs came back strong, and just 3 minutes later, Harry Kane headed home from a corner to score his 99th in the premier league.
From here on out the game became increasingly scrappy. Referee Kevin Friend had an extremely inconsistent day. How Moussa Dembele got away with not receiving a yellow in the first half is beyond me. Friend’s inconsistency with playing advantages in the second half was also rather perplexing.
As the game descended into entertaining chaos, chances were missed at both ends. In the final minutes, 17 year old Michael Obafemi missed an excellent chance to put Southampton in the lead as he failed to get enough on Dusan Tadic’s whipped cross from the right.
Harry Kane and Erik Lamela then both missed golden opportunities inside the Saints’ box. Harry Kane dragging a left footed shot wide right, and Lamela taking too long on the ball and getting his shot deflected from point black range, the calamity worsened by Friend’s decision to award a goal kick instead of a corner.
For Southampton, this is the type of result they needed to get their so far underwhelming season back on track.
For Spurs, there are questions that need to be asked. For the first time in Pochettino’s tenure I am starting to develop the slightest of doubts. He’s still the best manager Spurs have had in my lifetime, but he’s starting to do and say some slightly perplexing things.
In a press conference earlier this week Pochettino claimed that he had no need for a pacey wide player. How that can be the case is totally baffling. Watching Spurs’s front 4 try and pass they way through a 10 man Southampton defense camped no wider than the penalty box, it seemed unbelievably obvious that width was exactly what was needed to break them down.
Similarly, Pochettino claimed that they did not need to focus on their transition and their counterattacking. Both elements let Spurs down today and cost them vital points.
Both Lucas from PSG and Malcom from Bordeaux would be perfect additions to help alleviate these issues.
How Sissoko is still playing for Spurs I have no idea. Dele Alli was poor again, and Spurs really missed Eriksen today.
Pochettino always says it is important to remain calm and keep doing the same thing. The definition of insanity is to continue doing the same thing and expecting a different result.
I keep saying this, but if Spurs really want to compete for titles, then they absolutely have to address these issues. It is getting increasingly frustrating to watch the same issues blight the team. Yes they beat Real Madrid and Dortmund. But both teams have been poor this season and both their defences are sieve like at best.
Credit to Southampton who broke up play, ran hard, defended well and upset Tottenham’s rhythm.
MOM: Pierre Emile Hojbjerg did as much as anyone in a red and white shirt to earn Southampton the draw. He got under Moussa Dembele’s skin early on and rendered him ineffective. Dogged in defence and creative going forward, Hojbjerg was fantastic today among others including Tadic and Ward-Prowse.
Written by Chris Wyles