Southampton vs Tottenham: Premier League – LIVE!
Tottenham make the trip down to the south coast to take on a Southampton side rooted to the bottom of the Premier League. Antonio Conte’s side saw fifth-placed Newcastle cut the gap to them in fourth to just a point on Friday night and are under pressure at St Mary’s Stadium to ensure they head into the international break in the driving seat.
Spurs last time out enjoyed a routine win against Nottingham Forest to round off a difficult week for the club on a slightly positive note. With now only one game a week to focus on, following the club’s Champions League exit, the hope is that Conte’s experience will get them over the line for the second season running.
Saints, meanwhile, lost to Brentford on Wednesday but have taken points off both Chelsea and Manchester United under manager Ruben Selles’ watch. Fighting for their lives, Southampton will prove tricky for Spurs. Follow all the action LIVE with Standard Sport’s dedicated match blog! Dan Kilpatrick will be providing expert analysis from the ground.
Spurs are unchanged.
A couple of good omens for Spurs today: Both Richarlison and Heung-min Son have scored more goals against Southampton than any other side.
Son is also on 99 Premier League goals – will he hit the century today?
Both teams have started to arrive at the stadium. We’ll be getting team news shortly.
Spurs won the reverse fixture on the opening day of the season, and everything looked hunky dory as they ran out 4-1 winners. Wing-back Ryan Sessegnon opened the scoring, Emerson Royal bagged an assist along with Heung-min Son and Dejan Kulusevski both scored and assisted. A brilliant Antonio Conte-inspired display.
Kulusevski has scored just once in the league since, Son has barely contributed and the wing-backs have largely struggled.
Conte: Fourth place is vital
Antonio Conte has underlined the club’s need to finish fourth this season but is frustrated by a lack of silverware once again.
“To finish in the top four could be very important for everybody,” he said this week. “First of all for the club, for the players, the manager and the fans. For sure if you finish in the top four many, many situations are more simple.”
He added: “In my mind and in my heart there is always the will to lift trophy. For this reason since I arrived in Tottenham I tried to push a lot the total environment in the right direction.
“After a year and a half we improved many aspects but we need to continue to work on this path and sometimes during this path I think we’ve failed. We failed because we weren’t ready to face the right pressure and stress. This aspect I think we are working on.
“This season wasn’t good to lift a trophy but at the same time I can tell the fans we are working very hard to make them proud and to try to bring this club to be optimistic for the future and be ready to lift trophies.”
Selles: I respect Conte but can also beat him
Southampton manager Ruben Selles has plenty of respect for Antonio Conte, but insists his struggling side can spring another surprise.
“I have big respect for Antonio,” the rookie Saints boss insisted. “He fought his way to the top and had time in the Italian national team. I met him a couple of times when they played in Baku.
“Juventus, Inter Milan, Chelsea and now Tottenham, it is always an identity, always solid and always difficult to beat. He has been one of the top coaches in the last 10 years and it will be my pleasure to play against him and try to beat him, but with the biggest respect always.”
He added: “I know the results at home have not been the ones we wanted but we don’t feel any pressure to play in front of our fans. We have confidence in what we do.
“We are fully ready for [Spurs]. It is not extra pressure to play at home. It is the opposite. It should be a boost for us to go out there and compete at home.”
Prediction: Narrow Spurs win
Spurs simply have to win this. Newcastle’s injury-time win over Nottingham Forest means they will leapfrog Spurs should they win their game in hand. Brighton can draw level if they win their two games in hand.
A slip-up is out of the question, therefore. Saints may tend to up their game when playing against the bigger teams in the division but anything other than three points would be a disaster for Antonio Conte and the club.
Tottenham to win 2-1.
Richarlison and Porro to start?
Tottenham are expected to name a largely unchanged side after a convincing victory over Nottingham Forest last time out.
Richarlison will hope to keep his place ahead of Dejan Kulusevski, while January loan signing Arnaut Danjuma is barely had a sniff since arriving with, bizarrely, the outgoing Lucas Moura preferred.
Further back, Pedro Porro should again start at right wing-back ahead of Emerson Royal after his key contributions against Forest. Conte’s only other decision is likely to come at left wing-back, where Ivan Perisic and Ben Davies are competing for a place. If Perisic does return, Davies will likely revert to back the three in place of Clement Lenglet.
Walker-Peters a doubt
Southampton are sweating over the fitness of former Tottenham defender Kyle Walker-Peters, though it is thought the full-back should be fit to feature in some capacity.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles, on loan from Arsenal, is hampered more by his own fitness issues. Theo Walcott will be pushing to start up front.
How to watch
Those inside St. Mary’s will be the only ones in the UK able to watch the game live, as it falls inside the traditional 3pm television blackout.
So, there is no live UK TV coverage but BBC Radio London will be broadcasting uninterrupted commentary.
Good afternoon and welcome to the Evening Standard’s LIVE coverage of the Premier League clash between Southampton and Tottenham.
Spurs head to the south coast needing to beat the league’s bottom club to maintain momentum in the top-four race. Newcastle on Friday night secured another late win to keep pace with the north Londoners. A slip-up today could be very costly.
Southampton have endured a torrid season, which Spurs may well have set the tone for with a 4-1 victory on the opening day of the season. Saints are currently two points from safety, and that gap could be considerably more before the end of the weekend.
Kick-off at St. Mary’s is at 3pm, and we have chief football correspondent Dan Kilpatrick there for us.