Southampton rounded of the 18th week of fixtures as they played host to Tottenham and it meant that it was a Christmas to forget for Claude Puel’s side as they suffered a 4-1 defeat at the St Mary’s. Today they will look to bounce back to winning ways as they play host to West Brom.
That encounter with Tottenham didn’t end well but it certainly started that way. Virgil Van Dijk added another £1m to any potential transfer fee as he put The Saints ahead within the first 90 seconds. Unfortunately for Southampton that was as good as the night was going to get.
After going behind they then had Nathan Redmond sent off after a contentious Penalty award by Mike Dean. Although the subsequent spot kick was missed by Harry Kane the damage was done and Tottenham went on to use their numerical on pitch advantage to great effect as they ran out 4-1 winners.
Defeat for Southampton means they stay 8th in the table and you get the feeling that losing to Tottenham means that the Top 6 is all but locked out. They are now going to be fighting with Everton in a race to be the best of the rest come the end of this season.
And Today their opponents are West Brom who they themselves cannot be ruled out for earning the honour of being the best of the rest. That’s because The Baggies currently sit in 9th and a win at St Mary’s this Afternoon would see them leapfrog The Saints.
Boxing Day saw Tony Pulis’ side just come up short against Arsenal. It needed an 87th minute Oliver Giroud goal to break the deadlock as Arsenal stuttered to a much needed victory in front of their own fan. A win that they perhaps deserved but they made hard work of breaking down West Brom.
But once again West Brom can be accused of sitting back and not having a go. When you see Ben Foster trying to waste seconds of time as early as the 20th minute then you know exactly what game plan Pulis has set out that afternoon.
I can’t say it comes as a surprise as the same happened away at Chelsea. But like at Stamford Bridge they only really had a go once behind. Again it was too little too late from The Baggies, if you were a fan who had made those two trips to London then it must have been incredibly frustrating.
And those fans will have to hope that the same frustrations arise Today as they travel to The South Coast. It’s well documented that Southampton don’t score lots and bar the blip against Spurs they do not tend to give away a great deal either.
I don’t think Southampton will make the same mistakes as Wednesday night and you would imagine they will also have 11 players on the pitch for the whole of the game. Therefore I think this will be a tight affair with another dose of ‘Pulis Ball’ on offer. I’ll put my money on this one being a draw and probably closing Match Of The Day.