Tottenham Hotspur Home lost 1 – 4
Saints made an ideal start against Tottenham when Van Dijk headed home Ward-Prowse’s free kick after just 70 seconds. They looked comfortable with the lead too, with a pressing game denying the visitors any control, but that all changed when they got unlucky in the 19th minute: Sissoko’s cross took a deflection and fell perfectly for Alli to head past Forster, although Van Dijk might have reacted better to the diverted trajectory (potential bidders please note). Since being well beaten by Chelsea, Saints have two styles of play: defend in depth against the top six clubs, while trying to pass other opponents into submission, or boredom. Neither approach is likely to sell many of the half season tickets they’ve now made available, and the cautious game adopted once Spurs were on level terms was causing some disquiet at half time, the bright start by now forgotten. Apart from the non-entertainment value, the problem with sitting back is that something else is needed should the team go behind, as they did here once Kane headed a corner into the top of the net, and although this time maybe Forster might have been quicker off the mark, someone had managed to lose Kane at the set piece. That was on 52 minutes, and five minutes later Alli’s run into the penalty box was halted by a desperate foul in the box by Redmond and referee Dean also saw fit to send the Saints player off – our first dismissal of the season. If you’re sat in row Z you shouldn’t have to duck when the England penalty taker lines up a spot kick, but Kane sent his effort high into the Northam stand – a real let off, but Saints were still behind, and now having to pull the goal back with just ten men. A triple substitution just after Eriksen hit the Southampton bar was a positive move in its way, but by taking off Boufal, Rodriguez and Davis, it was hard to see how the chances of rescuing a point were being improved. At least you always have a chance against a Spurs defence missing Alderweireld, but two late goals for the visitors made any optimism immaterial. Again there was an element of misfortune about the first, scored by Son Heung-Min after a deflected crossfield pass fell perfectly for him, and the other from Alli, his side’s fourth from a similar position, came when Saints had rather given up the ghost.
LSSC Man of the Match: Steven Davis, our best player for the first 70-odd minutes, after which he was substituted!
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