ten-man-southampton-dig-deep-to-hold-tottenham

Ten-man Southampton dig deep to hold Tottenham

Harry Kane continued his return to form with a third Premier League goal in as many games as Tottenham were held to a 1-1 draw by 10-man Southampton at St Mary’s.

James Ward-Prowse scored a brilliant opener for Saints (25), but after Mohammed Salisu was sent off for fouling Heung-Min Son inside the box, Kane made no mistake to haul Spurs level (41) from the penalty spot.

Kane thought he had completed the turnaround when he collected Harry Winks’ pass to fire past Fraser Forster, but VAR intervened due to a fractional offside against the forward.

The result means Antonio Conte remains unbeaten in his opening seven games as Spurs manager – the first to do so in the club’s history – but this felt like two points dropped, with West Ham leapfrogging Tottenham into fifth place courtesy of their 4-1 win at Watford.

Southampton moved one place up to 13th ahead of the remaining midweek matches having extended their unbeaten run to three games.

Southampton's James Ward-Prowse (second right) celebrates teammates

Image:
Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse (second right) celebrates teammates

Player ratings

SouthamptonForster (6), Valery (8), Bednarek (8), Salisu (6), Walker-Peters (7), Perraud (6), Stuart Armstrong (6), Ward-Prowse (7), Diallo (7), Long (7), Adam Armstrong (6).

Subs:Redmond (n/a), Broja (6).

TottenhamLloris (6), Sanchez (6), Dier (6), Davies (6), Emerson (6), Winks (8), Hojbjerg (7), Reguilon (4), Alli (5), Kane (8), Son (7).

Subs:Doherty (6), Gil (n/a), Lucas Moura (6).

Man of the match:Harry Winks.

How Spurs failed to make extra man count

This was a fine point for Southampton, with boss Ralph Hasenhuttl confirming afterwards that he discovered striker Che Adams had tested positive for Covid-19 at 10pm on Monday night.

“I was very tired after the game but super happy with what I’ve seen,” he said. “The atmosphere was one of the best since I’ve been here. The fans were pushing us until the end. I felt we deserved to get something as we were so good in the first half. We were fighting so hard, and against all the issues we had – Covid cases, injuries, and 10 men down for nearly 60 minutes. I couldn’t be more proud.”

Spurs headed to the south coast on Tuesday on the back of a fourth win in five matches, a stirring 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace.

Harry Kane battles for possession with Jan Bednarek

Image:
Harry Kane battles for possession with Jan Bednarek

Hasenhuttl said he was preparing to face “one of the best teams in the league”, but the Austrian’s decision to make six changes to face Antonio Conte’s reinvigorated Spurs suggested he had one eye on the weekend’s home clash with Newcastle.

Writing in his programme notes, Hasenhuttl spoke of being pleased at the five clean sheets his side have mustered so far this term, setting his players the target of returning to a high level of defensive organisation having conceded twice in the win at West Ham – and the hosts started on the front foot.

Team news

Southampton make six changes from the side that beat West Ham, with Shane Long, Adam Armstrong, Romain Perraud, Stuart Armstrong, Ibrahimo Diallo and Yan Valery coming in.

Lucas Moura was rested for Tottenham as they visited Southampton. The Brazilian scored one and made the other two in Boxing Day’s 3-0 win over Crystal Palace but dropped to the bench and was replaced by Dele Alli as Spurs made three changes. Harry Winks came in for Oliver Skipp and Ben Davies replaced Japhet Tanganga.

Shane Long, on his first Premier League start since December 2020, darted in front of Davinson Sanchez to meet Kyle Walker-Peters’ cross to head just wide, albeit from a fractionally offside position.

It was a warning sign for Tottenham, who responded with Ben Davies meeting Son’s set piece to glance into the net beyond Forster but he too was flagged for offside.

This was Tottenham’s first Premier League away game in 51 days, since a 0-0 draw at Everton on November 7, but they fell behind on 25 minutes when a loose ball fell to England midfielder Ward-Prowse on the edge of the area and he lashed a first-time effort into the far corner, leaving Hugo Lloris helpless.

James Ward-Prowse opens the scoring at St Mary's

Image:
James Ward-Prowse opens the scoring at St Mary’s

Spurs responded with Kane failing to test Forster from a 25-yard free-kick but the visitors found a route back into the contest with five minutes of the opening half remaining. Harry Winks was the architect as he slipped a slide-rule pass in behind Salisu for Son to chase, and as the South Korean was about to pull the trigger, the Saints centre-back bundled him to the ground.

Anthony Taylor didn’t hesitate to brandish a second booking and red card to Salisu, who had been cautioned earlier in the half, with Kane dispatching his penalty following his trademark stuttered run-up as Forster dived the wrong way.

Tottenham were ninth when Conte was hired at the start of November but had picked up 14 points from their previous six games since then, one of only two unbeaten teams in the competitions in that period.

The onus was on them to attack Southampton from the restart, and they thought they had completed the turnaround seven minutes after the break when Kane collected another brilliantly measured pass from Winks to fire low to Forster’s left.

Harry Kane steers his penalty beyond Fraser Forster

Image:
Harry Kane steers his penalty beyond Fraser Forster

But VAR Martin Atkinson intervened as replays showed Kane had drifted just ahead of Jan Bednarek to give Saints a welcome reprieve.

Bednarek was the scourge of Spurs once more moments later as his last-ditch challenge stopped Son from scoring, and Son then turned provider for substitute Matt Doherty but Forster was out quickly to save with his feet.

Forster was somewhat fortunate, however, when the ball deflected off his boot into his own net only for referee Taylor to deem Doherty to have fouled him as the pair rose to meet Winks’ lofted delivery.

Anthony Taylor was at the centre of the action

Image:
Anthony Taylor was at the centre of the action

Tottenham continued to stream forward in search of a late winner with Lucas Moura and Bryan Gil introduced by Conte for the disappointing Dele Alli and Emerson Royal but Southampton were stubborn in defence as Walker-Peters took a blow to the head as he blocked Ben Davies’ fierce strike.

Spurs continued to probe in the closing minutes as Lucas’ speculative shot from batted away by Forster. During a frantic final six minutes of stoppage time, substitute Armando Broja dispossessed Eric Dier only for his shot to be deflected over by Sanchez.

There was still time for Forster to tip Gil’s shot over the bar and from the resulting corner, Sanchez’s header was off target. When Taylor blew to end this breathless contest, it meant a share of the spoils, and a point Southampton had fought ferociously to earn.

What the managers said…

Harry Kane and Jan Bednarek battle for possession

Image:
Harry Kane and Jan Bednarek battle for possession

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl: “We had a little bit of luck with the long ball [for Kane’s disallowed goal], but we had some good moments offensively in the second half. Everything was working today. We played in this shape one time against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup so we knew what we needed to do.

“The lads were convinced and from the first minute, the lads put everything out onto the pitch. The lads are becoming more and more flexible as you never know what games are going to throw up.

“We’ve never spoken about the points we’ve dropped because we know we always start well. In a few weeks, I’ll be told we dropped two points against Tottenham but we see this differently. We took a point away to Man City so we’re super competitive and have young lads who are getting better.”

On the absence of Tino Livramento with a knee injury and Che Adams testing positive for Covid-19: “I hope it’s not so tough the injury [for Livramento] and I found out at 10pm last night that Che had tested positive. It required a few phone calls during the night. Unbelievable.

“They all knew they were playing on Friday as we set up two teams for the two games so they could prepare for it mentally. We were clear we had to play in this way, and I’m very happy it worked.

On Salisu’s red card and penalty incident: “We’re happy with the response from the players as we’ve told Sali that he doesn’t need to make the tackle and that he could leave it to the goalkeeper.”

Antonio Conte cuts a dejected figure at St Mary's

Image:
Antonio Conte cuts a dejected figure at St Mary’s

Tottenham boss Antonio Conte: “They were very good and defended really well. The first phase wasn’t easy but at the same time, we can do much better and we can move the ball quicker and in one-v-one situations. To play after 44 hours is not easy for any team and I think I am seeing a bit of fatigue in my players.

“For this reason, we make some times not the right decision in the final pass or in our finishing. We can do much better but I know that it’s not easy to play 44 hours after the previous game.

“Harry scored twice – one a penalty and then the second goal but I don’t want to comment on the VAR decision. They are there to do their best.

“For sure [a missed opportunity], and you have to try to exploit this situation to try to get three points. We knew very well to play Southampton in this stadium is not easy. At one point in the game, a draw would’ve been a positive for us but we felt the fatigue and our mind wasn’t very clear to do the best of the situations.

“I tried to change things in the second half and I also took Reguilon off as he was on a yellow card and it was much better but we couldn’t find the solution for a second goal.”

Tottenham’s Champions League hopes hit roadblock

Heung-Min Son shows his frustration at full time

Image:
Heung-Min Son shows his frustration at full time

Sky Sports’ Ben Grounds at St Mary’s:

Southampton registered their sixth home draw of the 2021/22 Premier League campaign, as many as they’d drawn at St Mary’s in 2019/20 and 2020/21 combined, but this was a point Hasenhuttl celebrated with real gusto.

The Austrian acknowledged Antonio Conte at the final whistle, someone he declared a “world-class coach” in the prelude, before embarking on a lap of the pitch to show his appreciation for his supporters.

Hasenhuttl had called for greater defensive solidity, and his side responded with buckets in a second half where Southampton had their backs to the wall and weathered an almighty Spurs storm.

By the end, Fraser Forster had made a remarkable 10 saves to frustrate a Tottenham side who were ultimately punished for taking a sending off to get going. Yan Valery was also instrumental in keeping Tottenham out, playing out of position at centre-half.

In making six changes, some Saints fans may have been forgiven for thinking this was a bit of a bonus match in the eyes of Hasenhuttl – coming so hot on the heels of the hard-fought 3-2 win at West Ham and with a perhaps more winnable home clash with Newcastle next weekend.

But those who were called upon truly rose to the occasion, none more so than Shane Long – a year on from his last Premier League start. Tottenham remain unbeaten under Conte in the Premier League but this was a bump on the nose, and yet another twist in the race for the Champions League places.

Man of the match – Harry Winks

Harry Winks made a decisive contribution in midfield

Image:
Harry Winks made a decisive contribution in midfield

Following Oliver Skipp’s fine display in the 3-0 win over Crystal Palace, it was Harry Winks’ turn to remind his manager of his qualities and here he delivered a clinic in midfield.

Spurs had lacked penetration for much of the opening period when it was his pass which set Son on his way leading to Kane’s penalty and Salisu’s red card, while he very nearly had an outright assist of his own only for the flag to deny Kane in the second half.

Winks completed 71 of his 77 passes (93 per cent accuracy) – better than any other player on the pitch – while he also had more touches (92) and made more interceptions (2) than any other Spurs player.

Opta stats

Mohammed Salisu takes down Heung-min Son conceding the penalty

Image:
Mohammed Salisu takes down Heung-min Son conceding the penalty
  • Each of Tottenham’s last three Premier League matches have seen an opposition player sent off (Robertson, Zaha, Salisu), with this the first instance since West Ham’s opponents did so in October 2015.
  • Since Ralph Hasenhüttl’s first Premier League game in charge of Southampton in December 2018, only Arsenal (13) have been shown more red cards in the competition than Saints (11).
  • Tottenham’s Harry Kane has been directly involved in 17 goals in 12 Premier League starts against Southampton (11 goals, 6 assists).
  • Tottenham’s Harry Kane has had a direct hand in more away goals at St. Mary’s than any other venue in the Premier League (6 goals, 5 assists).
  • James Ward-Prowse has scored in three consecutive Premier League appearances for the first time since March 2019, when the third goal in that run also came against Spurs. Only versus Watford (4) has Ward-Prowse scored more Premier League goals than vs Spurs (3).

What’s next?

Southampton host Newcastle at St Mary’s in the Premier League on Sunday, January 2; kick-off 2pm. Tottenham visit Watford at Vicarage Road on New Year’s Day at 3pm.