Saints kick-off 2020 in style

By SFC Media time Wed 01 Jan Saints v Spurs
Photo by Matt Watson | Danny Ings
Wed 01 Jan 3PM
Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur
Ings [17']
Djenepo (53') Bednarek (68') Ward-Prowse (72')
yellow card
Lo Celso (36') Sissoko (61') Aurier (70') (77') Eriksen (90+2')
Referee: Mike Dean | Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 30,976

Southampton welcomed in a new decade at St Mary’s by continuing where they left off in 2019, as another Danny Ings-inspired victory extended the club’s festive purple patch.

Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men made it 10 points from four games thanks to a typically immaculate Ings finish, his 15th of the season, as he embarrassed former Saint Toby Alderweireld to score the only goal of the game in the 17th minute.

Perhaps most pleasing of all for the boss will be the clean sheet – that’s two in a week – as a wholehearted display from back to front was rewarded at both ends.

Hasenhüttl made two changes to his side who kept their momentum building with a hard-fought point last time out against Crystal Palace.

Two of the men who came off the bench against the Eagles, Moussa Djenepo and Stuart Armstrong, were restored to the starting line-up, at the expense of Ché Adams and Sofiane Boufal.

Saints started brightly, with Djenepo posing a problem for namesake Sissoko, before Ryan Bertrand’s cross was met by an indecisive Cédric at the far post, whose header back across goal bounced somewhere between the bottom corner and any onrushing teammates.

Spurs skipper Harry Kane led the visitors’ response. Kane, a scorer in each of his last six appearances against Saints, hit a 20-yard snapshot that deflected off Jan Bednarek and forced a sprawling fingertip save from Alex McCarthy.

Then Kane’s cross was helped on by Dele Alli, but safely gathered by the Saints keeper without the necessary power to trouble him.

Alli was asking questions of referee Mike Dean soon after, when he turned inside Jack Stephens and went to ground in the box, but no VAR review was forthcoming.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: Danny Ings of Southampton opens the scoring during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary's Stadium on January 01, 2020 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Danny Ings makes no mistake to continue his remarkable scoring streak

Back came the hosts in an entertaining start, as Nathan Redmond jinked his way into shooting territory and tested former Saint Paulo Gazzaniga, who couldn’t hold on and was bailed out by his defenders as red shirts swarmed round the loose ball.

With chances at both ends, it came as no surprise when the deadlock was broken sooner rather than later. Even less surprising was the identity of the goalscorer.

Not Kane, for once in this fixture, but a man who is seriously laying claim to join forces with the England captain at this summer’s European Championship.

Latching on to a clever ball over the top from Jack Stephens, Ings left Alderweireld statuesque, as he lifted the ball over the defender’s head and changed direction in the blink of an eye, composing himself to score on his left foot after the ball dropped back down to earth.

By the 25th minute, a doubtless irate José Mourinho was being forced into an early change, with Tanguy Ndombele unable to continue, prompting the introduction of Giovani Lo Celso.

Tottenham were rattled, as Saints hounded their opponents into mistakes, and when Armstrong improbably kept the ball in play on the touchline, his low cross was turned goalwards by Redmond and deflected behind by a relieved Alderweireld. 

Once the visitors regained their composure, Alli became a menace. Having escaped a booking for knocking the ball out of McCarthy’s hands, the midfielder was quickest to react when Kane’s daisy-cutter proved too hot to handle, but the Saints keeper got just enough of a touch on the ball as Alli attempted to round him on the rebound.

Then a Christian Eriksen corner found its way through to Jan Vertonghen at the far post, who could not adjust his body in time to hit the target, instead ballooning the ball over the bar from inside the six-yard box. 

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: Ralph Hasenhuttl of Southampton during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary's Stadium on January 01, 2020 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Saints boss Ralph Hasenhüttl encourages his team from the sidelines

Hasenhüttl would have been expecting a Mourinho-inspired improvement from Spurs, but it was his team who resumed on the front foot after the half-time interval.

Redmond volleyed over virtually straight from kick-off, before Bertrand’s driven cross clearly struck Alderweireld’s raised arm, but VAR agreed with Dean’s on-field decision – no penalty.

The Saints boss played his first card just shy of the hour mark, with Shane Long adding fresh legs to the attack in place of Djenepo. 

By the midpoint in the second half, the home team were retreating further and further back, as Spurs upped the ante, despite struggling to create anything clear-cut from open play.

McCarthy did need to have his wits about him to hold on to Vertonghen’s downward header from a free-kick, before Kane had the ball in the net from another set-piece in a similar position.

Cue VAR and a long delay, but again the evidence supported the officials. Kane was offside by a shoulder – a double blow for Mourinho, whose talisman pulled up injured in finishing the chance, forcing him off.

Things were unravelling for the Portuguese, who was then shown a yellow card for some overexuberant touchline antics, as the natives showed their support for popular predecessor Mauricio Pochettino, just to rub it in.

The closest Saints came to putting the result beyond doubt was a header narrowly wide from Long, who soared to meet a James Ward-Prowse corner as only he can.

At the other end, bodies rushed out to meet Lucas Moura, who twice saw shots blocked, as Saints showed guts to come through five minutes of added time unscathed.


Head to Head Stats

Tottenham Hotspur
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Alex McCarthy (GK)
Jan Bednarek yellow card
Cédric Soares
Jack Stephens
Ryan Bertrand
James Ward-Prowse yellow card
Stuart Armstrong
replace Oriol Romeu (90′)
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (C)
Moussa Djenepo yellow card
replace Shane Long (58′)
Danny Ings goal
replace Michael Obafemi (76′)
Nathan Redmond
Angus Gunn
Michael Obafemi
Oriol Romeu
Jannik Vestergaard
Shane Long
Maya Yoshida
Che Adams

Tottenham Hotspur

Paulo Gazzaniga (GK)
Toby Alderweireld
Serge Aurier yellow card
Ryan Sessegnon
Jan Vertonghen
Lucas Moura
Tanguy Ndombele
replace Giovani Lo Celso (25′) yellow card
Christian Eriksen yellow card
Moussa Sissoko yellow card
Dele Alli
Harry Kane (C)
replace Erik Lamela (75′)
Giovani Lo Celso
Davinson Sánchez
Harry Winks
Erik Lamela
Michel Vorm
Japhet Tanganga
Oliver Skipp
Hasenhüttl targets continued improvement
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