WEDNESDAY 9TH FEBRUARY, 2022
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2(1) SOUTHAMPTON 3(1)
Bednarek (o.g.), 18
Referee:- David Coote
Assistants:- Harry Lennard, Nick Hopton
Fourth official:- Graham Scott
VAR:- John Brooks
Assistant VAR:- Lee Betts.
Spurs (3-4-3):- Lloris (Capt.); Sanchez, Romero, Davies; Emerson Royal, Winks, Hojbjerg (sub Bentancur, 60), Reguilon (sub Bergwijn, 83); Lucas Moura (sub Kulusevski, 76), Kane, Son
Subs not used:- Gollini; Doherty, Rodon, Sessegnon; White; Scarlett
Booked:- Sanchez (foul on Adams), Romero (Unsporting conduct)
Southampton (4-4-2):- Forster; Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Salisu, Perraud; Stuart Armstrong, Ward-Prowse (Capt.), Romeu, Elyounoussi (sub Diallo, 90+7); Adams (sub Long, 88), Broja (sub Walcott, 90)
Subs not used:- Caballero; Stephens, Valery; Djenepo, Smallbone; Adam Armstrong
Booked:- Perraud (foul on Kulusevski), Romeu (foul on Son), Forster (time wasting)
Saints beat Spurs sinners
Just when we thought Spurs were ready to beat a bottom half side and pursue their challenge for a top four place, they let us down. Spurs were second best throughout this game. Just when you thought that having taken a 2-1 lead Spurs would hold on for an “ugly” three points, they let us down not once but twice, conceding identical goals, created by sweeping crosses by “Saints”’ captain James Ward-Prowse in the space of three minutes. Spurs were sinners to allow the same cross twice and to concede almost identical headers. Just when we thought that Steven Bergwijn had at least rescued a point in added time, VAR let us down. As the old saying goes, it certainly is the hope that kills you.
Antonio Conte selected the same starting line-up and bench as he had on Saturday against Brighton. One change, and a mystery for me, was that Sanchez played to the right of Romero in the back three. This may have been crucial to the winning goals. Mind you Spurs’ failure to prevent those crosses was just as crucial and Conte reacted by immediately taking off Reguilon for Bergwijn. I was also a little surprised that there was no change to our starting personnel, as I thought perhaps Bentancur would come on for Winks or Hojbjerg. When he did come on (for the under par Hojbjerg) Bentancur did look accomplished and will surely be a good addition to the squad.
Southampton kicked off, playing towards the South stand, where they were camped for most of the first six minutes. Salisu, who had been sent off in the return fixture in December, was given a chance to utilise his long throw from the left. The visitors, playing in a yellow strip had a chance after only three minutes when Elyounoussi crossed from the left and Adams had a chance from the back post where Lloris saved and Romero cleared.
Finally Spurs did get forward when Lucas Moura received a ball from Romero, but was fouled by Armstrong. Harry Kane hit a free kick from some 30 yards out and this was fodder for Forster. Hojbjerg was fouled by “Saints” enforcer Romeu and Son took the free kick from deep on the right. Romero headed into the net but he had been offside.
At last Spurs were beginning to look like the home side with Lucas, Son and Kane advancing together. Son passed to Kane whose ball across the area reached Reguilon. “Reggie”’s shot was saved by Forster and cleared for a Spurs throw. It wasn’t long before we did have the lead. The goal was announced as Son’s but it turned out to be the seventh own goal in Spurs’ favour this season. Lucas Moura came in from the right and slipped a clever pass to Hojbjerg who got to the bye-line before crossing to the near post where Bednarek’s touch put the ball in the net with Son ready to pounce.
Southampton responded immediately with Lloris having to save at his right post from Broja who had advanced from the left flank. Another corner followed when Lloris dived to his right to save a Ward-Prowse shot. Ward-Prowse took a couple more corners after which Armstrong had a shot go wide.
To be honest, Southampton’s equaliser was the least they deserved for all their efforts on goal. Spurs were guilty of poor defending as Davies mis-kicked an attempted clearance. We failed to clear and Chelsea loanee Armando Broja scored from close range. Lloris soon had to save a downward header by Armstrong after the ball was crossed from the left.
Spurs broke forward after 31 minutes with a ball to Son, who passed to Kane. Kane’s attempted pass for Reguilon was too strong. Harry Kane was our best creator in the game. Son’s performance was probably the only other one by a Spurs player of a satisfying level. Broja was in the clear following a long ball by Kyle Walker-Peters, but thankfully he put his right foot shot wide. Armstrong had a shot go wide of Hugo’s left post after a Southampton free kick. Spurs suffered more pressure with Southampton winning two more corners. I thought the Southampton fans were chanting “Bale, Bale!”, but I think this was in fact “Yellow, yellow!” After the second of these corners Perraud hit the woodwork to the right of Lloris with a powerful shot.
There were no changes for the second half, by which time we had rain being driven by the blustery wind. Our first chance of note came after 52 minutes when Kane had fed Reguilon who passed inside to Lucas Moura, whose left foot shot passed just wide of the post. Kane sent another great ball to Reguilon and this cross was met by a downward header by Kane with the ball finally bouncing over the target.
Bentancur was called upon by Conte and replaced Hojbjerg. Immediately Bentancur sent a lovely ball to Lucas Moura down the right flank, but his cross was poor. Reguilon crossed into the area for Kane who went down, but there was no foul. Kane had been offside. Sanchez found Lucas Moura with a good pass, but Southampton cleared and Forster started to eat time. This would eventually be punished by the referee.
Spurs came under pressure after a failed pass by Lucas Moura in their half, but a shot by Ward-Prowse was blocked. Spurs took the lead. Kane was our fulcrum and sent Lucas Moura forward down the right wing. Lucas crossed and Son was well-placed in the Southampton area to guide the ball into the net.
Broja was injured inside the Spurs half and needed lengthy treatment. At this stage Antonio Conte had to restrained by his fellow staff as there was some sort of contretemps on the touchline. Maybe Southampton thought play should have been stopped over a head injury.
Kulusevski replaced Lucas and operated down the right side. I’d seen comments about his lack of pace after the Brighton game and there was one occasion when he certainly did not have the measure of left back Perraud. Spurs had a free kick after a foul by Romeu upon Son (for which he was booked). Spurs quickly lost the ball and Broja raced forward, but thankfully hit his shot over the target.
“Saints” scored with their next attack though as Ward-Prowse crossed from deep on the right and Elyounoussi met the ball perfectly with an unstoppable header from 8 yards. Those Southampton chants began again, and their celebrations became wilder as Ward-Prowse repeated his delivery with Che Adams meeting the ball this time with a powerful header.
With added time looming Harry Kane was challenged and the ball ran to Son, who went down in the box, but got no foul. There were six minutes of added time and we thought we had equalised in the third of these when Kane crossed from the left, Romero got a head to the ball and Bergwijn finished from close range. We celebrated and the teams lined up for a restart but the dreaded VAR ensured the score stayed at 3-2 for Southampton’s first win at The Lane in six years.
Spurs remain in seventh place and we still have games in hand that could take us into the top four. We have to dust ourselves down and face the challenge of an in-form Wolves team on Sunday afternoon.
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