Southampton seeking to surprise stuttering Spurs
Southampton (3/1 for a top six finish) will make the visit to White Hart Lane planning to prove a point to Tottenham and former boss Mauricio Pochettino.
Saints appeared to be a sinking ship over the summer, despite enjoying a sensational eighth place Premier League finish and some scintillating football under the Argentine coach.
Spurs were one of the top flight clubs to ruthlessly capitalise on the south coast side’s uncertainty amid their star player exodus. Despite failing with bids for Jay Rodriguez and Morgan Schneiderlin, though, the north London side did manage to prise Pochettino away from his post, leaving the Saints rudderless.
However, Southampton have bounced back in style under the expert stewardship of Ronald Koeman, and currently sit second only to big-spenders Chelsea in the Premier League. In comparision, Spurs are five points adrift of the Saints and have so far struggled to spark under their new coach.
Tottenham have not tasted victory in a league game since August, and suffered a dismal defeat to West Bromwich Albion last time they played a top-flight match on home turf.
Spurs did earn a draw in their north London derby against Arsenal, with inspirational captain Younes Kaboul putting in an imperious defensive performance. Pochettino will now need his sensational skipper and top class stopper Hugo Lloris to be resolute against the in-form visitors.
Nacer Chadli has so far been the brightest light in Tottenham’s attack, firing home first against the Gunners and netting four times in six outings in all competitions. The brilliant Belgian, who was apparently coveted by Koeman over the summer, is 8/1 to open scoring again and save his new boss’ blushes.
The Saints, meanwhile, are on an impressive unbeaten streak, having suffered just one Premier League loss, way back on the opening day of the season. Koeman has steered his side to six successive victories in all competitions, and is 13/5 to extend that excellent record by vanquishing Pochettino’s team.
Southampton’s surprising winning streak has led to an England call-up for right back Nathaniel Clyne, and Italian attacker Graziano Pelle will also be hoping his fearsome form will earn him international recognition.
The sharp striker was a savvy summer buy and has more than filled Rickie Lambert’s boots so far. Back former Feyenoord forward Pelle, who has netted four goals in six Premier League appearances, to close the scoring at 7/1.
Tottenham can take comfort from their recent record against Saints, after doing the double over the south coast club last season. The scoreline was 3-2 in both instances, including a defeat on Pochettino’s watch, and the Londoners are 28/1 to repeat that result yet again.
Spurs have not suffered a defeat to Southampton since 2005, but Koeman’s men are all about exceeding expectations and will be eager to keep pace with the big-guns at the top of the table. However, a fourth Premier League game without a win for Pochettino may give trigger-happy chairman Daniel Levy an itchy finger.