High flying Southampton travel to The White Hart Lane with a hope of maintaining their impressive start to the campaign.
Much of the focus of this game will be on Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentine, who guided the Saints to a respectable 8th place finish in the Premier League last season, decided to seek pastures new, moving to the North London side.
Despite having lost their influential manager to their Sunday’s opponents, Southampton; now managed by Ronald Koeman, are 2nd in the table.
They head into this game back of an unbeaten streak of 5 games, winning the last four. The unbeaten run also included a 1-2 win at the Emirates against Arsenal in the Capital One Cup. Southampton faced a massive exodus in the summer transfer market. Several first team stars in Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw, Dejan Lovren, Calum Chambers and Gaston Ramirez left the club, with questions being raised about their possible survival in the top flight. But boss Koeman and the board were quick to react, and replaced the departures with quality signings in Graziano Pellé, Dusan Tadic, Shane Long, Fraser Forster and Sadio Mane. Pellé in particular has impressed the most, with the big Italian scoring four goals already. A like for like replacement for Lambert, who left for Liverpool, the recruit from Feyenoord has found his feet running quickly with the Saints, establishing a formidable partnership with Tadic and Long upfront.
Morgan Schneiderlin, who kept no secret about his intentions to leave the club in the summer, has been a revelation for the Saints so far this season. The Frenchman has scored 3 goals this season, and will be looking forward to put in a stellar performance against the side that carved for his services.
Koeman is expected to name the same line-up that made light work of QPR last weekend. On the injury front, teenage midfielder James Ward-Prowse is sidelined for about three months with a foot injury. England International Jay Rodriguez, out with a long term knee injury, will also be unavailable for the Dutchman. Apart from these two injuries, there are no setbacks for the Saints.
Spurs on the other hand, have endured an inconsistent start to their season. Lying eight in the Premier League table with just two wins, the London side are yet to register a win in the Europa League. Despite opening the scoring and impressing in the North London derby last week, Tottenham were unable to protect their lead, with the game ending in a 1-1 draw. Spurs, surprisingly, will be second favourites for this encounter, with the form their opponents are in.
A host of big names were rested for the midweek Europa League fixture against Besiktas, and are expected to return to the starting line-up. 23 year old academy graduate Ryan Mason was handed his Tottenham debut against Arsenal, and is expected to start again. Argentine attacker Erick Lamela, who struggled last season, is slowly finding his feet under his compatriot Pochettino. As far as injuries are concerned, right-back Kyle Walker is only he only major absentee for Pochettino’s side, who is still recovering from an abdominal injury.
Form Guide (all competitions) :
Tottenham : DDWLD
Southampton : WWWWW
Possible starting XI’s :
Tottenham (4-4-1-1) : Lloris; Naughton, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Rose; Chadli, Mason, Capoue, Lamela; Eriksen ; Adebayor
Southampton : (4-3-3) : Forster; Clyne, Fonte, Alderweireld, Bertrand; Davis, Wanyama, Schneiderlin; Tadic, Pelle, Mane.