Just the one Premier League fixture this afternoon but it is certainly an important one as the result will have ramifications for both ends of the table. Southampton go into this game in the bottom three after Stoke’s win while a win for Tottenham would see them move into the top four at least 24 hours.
It is the battle of the Mauricio’s today at St Mary’s as Pellegrino takes on Pochettino, the latter returns to his old managerial stomping ground while the former is under pressure to deliver a result as Southampton’s slide down the table continues.
Not only that but the Saints now have the longest run without a win after West Brom beat Brighton last weekend, one that coming into this game stands at a not so perfect ten. This barren of results sees them start today in 18th and two points from safety.
However such is the tight nature of the bottom half of the Premier League, a win later today would see them move up to 14th. It is fair to say that it is tight down there, you could even add the word brutal. You cannot afford to relax when so many clubs are fighting for the lives.
If Southampton do win today, then it would mean that their would then be just three points between Watford in 10th and Stoke in 18th and right now you could make a case for each of the nine teams in that group as ones that could get relegated.
The fact that Southampton are too good or too big a club to go down is not one that can be used anymore, the table does not lie and this is a fair measure of their performances as of late. There has been little cheer on the South Coast since they comprehensively beat Everton at home earlier in the season.
And there was little cheer when Southampton traveled to Wembley on Boxing Day as they had to witness Harry Kane run riot for Tottenham as the home side won 5-2. To be fair even the two goals flattered Southampton with Hugo Lloris having something of a day off on what was his birthday.
It was a long day in London for the Saints as they setup to squeeze Tottenham and then try and hit them on the counter but it was tactic that they never got close to implementing and the same can be said for Spurs last opponents Everton.
Sam Allardyce’s men were simply swept aside by a Tottenham team that was firing on all cylinders with Harry Kane bagging a brace. However it was not the England forward who has grabbing the most plaudits, that honour was bestowed to Hueng min-Son.
The South Korean has all but made a first team berth his own now and although it will eventually cause Mauricio Pellegrino something of a headache when Toby Alderweireld is fit, that is not an issue for right now. As of now it is about reaping the benefits that Son’s form is bringing as of late.
If Southampton need to win to arrest their slide, Tottenham need to win to enhance their chances of a top four finish especially with a trio of season defining fixtures coming up soon. Quite simply they will be identifying this fixture as nothing less than three points.
Not only that but with Liverpool playing tomorrow night it presents the perfect opportunity in which to pile the pressure on Jurgen Klopp’s men as they travel to the Liberty Stadium to face Swansea. At the same time though Tottenham will only be focusing on what they need to do in a few hours time.
Results did not go their way yesterday with Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal all winning yesterday therefore this will turn the screw on Tottenham ever so slightly, but at the same time it does not change a great deal in the grand scheme of things.
Southampton may be 18th and without a win in 10 matches but at the same time their fans will be demanding a performance therefore they cannot be taken lightly. However I think Tottenham will have enough to earn all three points and move into the top four. An away win for me.