Two sides hoping to end the season in the European shake-up meet for a festive fixture at St. Mary’s Stadium which should be pleasing on the eye for the neutral.
Southampton are in a slump, having picked up just one point from the last available 12 – last weekend’s deserved 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace saw them remain in the bottom half of the table.
The Saints also need to prove that they can mix it with the Premier League’s top teams; all five of their wins so far this season have come against teams in the bottom seven.
The hosts haven’t beaten Tottenham in the Premier League since March 2005, when Nigel Quashie’s second-half goal secured a 1-0 win for the Saints. A similar result this weekend would bring Southampton to within two points of Spurs; despite there being seven places between them going into this match, an illustration of how condensed the league is at this moment in time.
Spurs saw their impressive unbeaten run come juddering to a halt last weekend at the unlikely hands of Newcastle United, who staged a noble second-half comeback to pull off a 2-1 win inside White Hart Lane.
It brought their total of points lost from winning positions to 11 – the highest total of its kind in the Premier League this season. With the top four looking up for grabs, it is a habit that Spurs must break themselves out of if they have serious Champions League ambitions.
Despite last weekend’s setback, Mauricio Pochettino’s side sit just three points off fourth spot. Tottenham will spend Christmas in the top four if they win at St. Mary’s and Manchester United slip up against Norwich City.
Graziano Pelle should return to the hosts’ starting XI after having an injection in his knee, whilst Paulo Gazzaniga will continue to deputise in goal in place of Maarten Stekelenburg.
Mousa Dembele is doubtful for Spurs; who are also without fellow midfielders Clinton N’Jie, Ryan Mason and Alex Pritchard through injury.
League Position: Southampton – 12th (21 pts); Tottenham – 5th (26 pts)
Last Meeting: Southampton 2-2 Tottenham (April 25, 2015)
Key Players: Southampton – Sadio Mane; Tottenham – Harry Kane
Form: Southampton – WWLLDL; Tottenham – WDWDDL
Prediction: Southampton 1-1 Tottenham