Spurs march on with win over Saints
Son replaces injured Kane as goals from Alli and Eriksen make it 10 consecutive wins at the Lane
19 March, 2017 — By Dan Carrier
SPURS 2, SOUTHAMPTON 1
THERE has been an understandable state of nervousness about how Mauricio Pochettino’s team will cope without the injured Harry Kane for the coming few weeks – but as his side clocked up another home victory this afternoon, dispatching Southampton 2-1 in a workman-like performance, taking on Burnley, Swansea and Watford in their next three fixtures without the number 10 does not seem quite such a problem after all.
Pochettino opted to play Heung-Min Son up front, a totally different type of player to Kane, and, while he ran doggedly, Son did not provide much of a physical presence as an outlet.
But no matter: Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen did the damage in the first half to secure the win.
Speaking after the game, Pochettino said he felt his team were superior. He added: “You always need to work hard to get the three points and it was difficult, tough – but in the end we were better and we deserved the win.
“We played very well in the first half, but then in the second we conceded a goal through a mistake. But it’s another victory and we have reason to be happy.”
From the start, Spurs pressed: Kane’s stand-in Son nearly drew first blood with a minute on the clock when he chased down a ball by Eriksen and forced Fraser Forster in the Southampton goal to save at his near post. It was a sign of things to come as Spurs enjoyed early dominance and there was a sense of inevitability when Eriksen struck the first.
He received the ball from the outstanding Mousa Dembele and drove at the heart of the Southampton defence. They stood off him, he reached the D and from there he placed his effort in the bottom corner.
Forster was far busier than his opposite number and had to be at his best to get a hand to a Toby Alderweireld header midway through the first half. But with Southampton unable to build up any possession to take the sting out of Spurs attacks, it felt another was coming, and the lead was doubled on 33. Alli was tripped as he looked to spin and shoot, and the number 20 drilled home the resulting penalty.
Southampton made a game of it on 50 when James Ward-Prowse popped up at the back post to capitalise on a rare lapse by the excellent Alderweireld – but it was a false dawn. Pochettino brought on Harry Winks and Vincent Janssen to help see things out and they did so admirably. Winks was eyecatching with his bold runs, snappy tackling and intelligent distribution, while Janssen battled hard to hold the ball up and tested Forster with a lashed shot that the goalkeeper needed to be at his keenest to parry to safety.
The win – Tottenham’s 10th on the spin at home – ensures Pochettino’s charges head into the international break in second place. While Chelsea are surely uncatchable with the gap standing at 10 points, Spurs look good as the best of the rest, and on today’s showing the loss of Kane for some fairly run-of-the-mill league fixtures before the FA Cup semi-final in April may not be such a disaster after all.
SPURS: Lloris, Walker (Trippier, 77), Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Son (Winks, 74), Wanyama, Dier, Dembele, Alli, Eriksen (Janssen, 85), Davies.
Subs: Vorm, Janssen, Trippier, Sissoko, Onomah, Wimmer, Winks.