Spurs Away Lost 5 – 2
The row of cameras lined up behind Forster’s goal showed where the press expected the action to be at Tottenham’s temporary home, and of course they were there for the day’s likely big story: an ultimately meaningless stat concerning Kane’s goalscoring exploits in 2017. Saints looked comfortable enough to begin with, but when Højbjerg failed to match Rose for pace, a caution and a free kick on the edge of the box at first seemed the best possible outcome. Doubts soon crept in when Eriksen lined up to take the set piece and there was a sort of inevitability about Kane’s close range finish, but surely the only challenge should not have been coming from Romeu? Southampton’s response was fast, although few visiting players can claim to have had much of a part in a close call; Rose attempted an ambitious header back to his startled keeper who needed two parries just to help the ball on to the post. However, Spurs went further ahead before the interval, with Saints having no answer to a swift passing move on the left, again finished by Kane, but although it might have been difficult to stop the goal, it did expose problems down our right. Realistically the game as a contest was over at half time, but Saints began the second period well and Lemina struck a shot against the bar. It was a false dawn and just over five minutes after the restart, the only strategy remaining was damage limitation, once Alli scored what was actually a far better goal than had first appeared, and then Son Heung Min fired in from the other flank. It was probably as much of a surprise to our team as to the 55,000 crowd when Boufal managed to hit a shot through Lloris to reduce the deficit but chances were still coming a-plenty at the other end, and Kane made up for a couple of misses when he completed his second hat trick in successive games, Yoshida’s attempts to cover him falling well short of the required standard. There was still over twenty minutes to play, but against all odds it was Southampton who completed the scoring when substitute Tadić just about managed to beat Lloris’ despairing clutches. There wasn’t much seasonal cheer inside Wembley’s turnstile C as Saints fans directed precious little goodwill to the eleven men on the pitch, nor to the Argentinian pacing around the visitors’ technical area. A damning MotD analysis will also have threatened the manager’s position, but for all their shortcomings at the back, Saints aren’t the first, and won’t be the last, team to be rolled over when Spurs are on song.
LSSC Man of the Match: Wesley Hoedt, for no better reason than that no-one else was even under consideration.