Southampton secured their fifth win in their last eight Premier League games as they beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 at St Mary’s on New Year’s Day.
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Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side should have won by a more comfortable margin but Danny Ings’ superb first half goal was enough to beat Jose Mourinho’s Spurs who were poor throughout.
To add insult to injury Harry Kane hobbled off injured as Spurs lost a great chance to make up ground in the top four race.
With the win Southampton move to 25 points for the season and up to 11th in the table, while Tottenham are on 30 points.
3 things we learned
1. Kane’s injury a huge concern: Harry Kane injured his hamstring as he scored a goal from an offside position and that is a big problem for Mourinho and Spurs. Heung-min Son will step up as he returns from suspension but Kane’s absence will leave a massive hole in Tottenham’s attack. He’s not just a supreme goalscorer and he doesn’t get enough credit for his hold-up play and creativity in the final third. At a pivotal point in the season the last thing Spurs wanted was Kane injuring his hamstring after the busy festive period.
2. Spurs’ woeful defending continues: Tottenham haven’t kept a clean sheet away from home in the Premier League for one year. One year. They’ve now conceded 18 goals since Mourinho arrived and a coach who prides himself on his defensive organization was miserable on the sidelines at St Mary’s. He needs to add new defenders across his back four in January or this summer because he’s tried pretty much every combination possible and it isn’t working. Vertonghen and Alderweireld were run ragged by Southampton’s pacy attackers and that is a reoccurring theme for whoever Spurs play against.
3. Saints’ improved defense, Ings deliver: Danny Ings is in the form of his life for his hometown club. He has scored 12 goals in his last 14 starts for Saints and has been hugely important to Southampton’s turnaround in form, but just as important has been their defensive improvement. Their clean sheet against Spurs was their first at home since February last year against Fulham. Bednarek and Stephens have been rocks at the heart of their defense and Cedric and Bertrand solid at full back. Saints have found the right balance at the back and their season has taken off with shutouts wins at Chelsea on Boxing Day and then against Spurs on New Year’s Day.
Man of the Match: Jack Stephens - Yet another towering display from the center back who has been ever present after their 9-0 drubbing by Leicester. Kept Kane quiet and held everything together. A massive performance, with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Ings also brilliant.
Southampton had a great chance to take the lead but Cedric, totally unmarked, headed wide at the back post after Ryan Bertrand found him.
At the other end Harry Kane’s shot deflected towards the top corner but Alex McCarthy saved well.
Nathan Redmond then dribbled into the box and his low shot was saved by Paulo Gazzaniga and Spurs cleared just as Stuart Armstrong looked set to tap home the rebound.
Ings then put Southampton ahead as one long ball over the top caught out Tottenham’s defense and Ings lobbed the ball over Toby Alderweireld’s head with his first touch and finished with his second.
Tanguy Ndombele was forced off with an early injury and Dele Alli went down in the box looking for a penalty kick but Spurs couldn’t get going.
Alderweireld deflected Redmond’s shot wide after great work from Armstrong as Saints ripped open Spurs’ defense time and time again in the first half.
Spurs improved going forward at the end of the first half as Kane’s shot from distance was spilled by McCarthy but Southampton’s goalkeeper redeemed himself as he saved at the feet of Alli. From the resulting corner Jan Vertonghen smashed over the bar as a glorious chance came and went.
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At the start of the second half Redmond volleyed over the bar as he was left completely unmarked by Spurs.
Saints then had a big shout for a penalty kick for a handball on Alderweireld but Mike Dean didn’t award it and VAR was used and didn’t overturn his decision.
Tottenham had plenty of the ball but struggled to carve out any clear chances, as Kane then injured himself.
Spurs’ captain stretched to flick home a free kick but the offside flag went up and not only was the goal disallowed but Kane hobbled off with a hamstring injury.
Late on Tottenham threw everything at Southampton but the hosts held on fairly comfortably to seal a huge win in their battle against relegation.