Southampton 2 Spurs 2 – Pochettino takes a point on his return to St. Mary’s

Pochettino and Koeman

Mauricio Pochettino’s return to St. Mary’s ended in a point for both sides. It was an emotional game for the Argentine against the team he professes to still love – the chants from the Southampton faithful seemed to suggest the feeling wasn’t entirely mutual.

Reassuringly the team-sheet had Hugo Lloris back in goal. The only problem areas were at fullback where both Walker and Rose were missing. A bit of a worry when you are facing a team with dangerous fullbacks of their own. Would Davies and Dier be able to provide the width we are so often crying out for?

Much has been made of the way Southampton have managed change – keeping continuity by appointing a very similar manager. For the first twenty minutes it was evident that the teams were very evenly matched. Both team’s 4-2-3-1 formations and energetic pressing cancelled each other out. In fact there wasn’t a shot of any kind until as late as the 24th minute – the longest wait for an effort on goal in this season’s Premier League.

Tottenham were controlling possession but it was Southampton who looked sharper, more incisive. Sure enough it was the home side who opened the scoring but it was a goal of Spurs’ making.

Southampton broke with Mane’s pace. He ran at Vertonghen and Fazio causing panic. Fazio got in a good tackle and it looked like the danger had passed. Mason had the ball with plenty of time but he took an extra touch, slipped and played a desperate ball back towards goal.

Davies got to it in front of Pelle but dithered, allowing the big Italian to sneak in and poke the ball past a surprised Lloris. The full-back looked to have been pushed but he was still at fault, so close to goal he should have been more decisive.

The equaliser came from a great cross by Dier. His delivery from wide was one of the positives Pochettino can take from this match. Lamela looked to have got the final touch with his arm but it was good to see a midfielder getting in the box to support Kane.

As Southampton continued to test the Spurs defence, Steven Davis dragged his shot wide as our back four parted like the Red Sea.

SpursDefenceParts

He then missed another great opportunity from inside the penalty area.

Southampton’s second goal was to come from a cross. The quick, lively Mane – the kind of player Spurs were sadly lacking – slipped the ball out to Long. The striker put in a fantastic cross and Pelle rose to grab his second of the match. As at Villa, Fazio was crucially beaten in the air. Pelle and Benteke are very worthy adversaries but I expected a bit more of a challenge from the big Argentine. Winning headers is, after all, his thing.

The Spurs second was again created by Dier, making a much better fist of the right back role than earlier in the season. This time he slipped a perfectly waited pass into the channel for Chadli. The Belgian used his strength to hold of Yoshida and slot the ball home from a tight angle.

It was another story of lots of possession – 64% – but not much to show for it. Our opponents play a similar style but had several of the key ingredients we lack.Their passing was quicker and more incisive. In Mane they had a player willing to run at the defence with pace and directness. Their fullbacks provided width.

For me our one stand out player was Dier. The provider of both goals, he got forward well, put in some nice crosses and was probably the pick of our defenders.

Kane had a quiet game, as did Eriksen. Mason made some errors. With a handful of games left and not a lot still to play for, it would make sense to give some of our second string players or youth prospects a go. I would like to see Dembele, Stambouli and Paulinho considered in the middle.

A score draw away at a good side isn’t a disgrace and there were some good points about the Spurs performance. However, overall Pochettino’s side were a little fortunate to take a point. The shot count was 13-7 in the home sides favour, and our two goals were Tottenham’s only two shots on target.

Southampton almost stole the points at the end, as Jose Fonte headed just over from a corner. Spurs held on to earn a creditable draw and Pochettino will be happy to have got away from his former home relatively unscathed.

Follow me on Twitter: @ABPSpurs

Are you happy with a draw? Is Pochettino or Koeman the better manager? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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22 thoughts on “Southampton 2 Spurs 2 – Pochettino takes a point on his return to St. Mary’s

  1. JOHN ADAM

    As a fan, i am disappointed that Spurs did not pick 3 points yesterday to strengthen our position for a 5th or 6th finish to qualify for the Europa Cup. Their weak defence has let us down again. Fazio got beaten again in the air as he did against Benteke the other day and yet he is a tall lad… See how well West Brom has defended against Liverpool. Why couldn’t we do the same?As long as we make those silly avoidable mistakes, we shall always fail to win games. We are lucky, though, to have come out with one point. I could see Southampton winning that winning goal at any time during those last minutes of the game from those many corners we kept giving away stupidly. I could not understand why we kicked the ball out for a corner when we could easily have kicked it out for a throw in instead.

    Reply
      1. JOHN ADAM

        But why does that ‘comedy of errors’ occur in almost every Spurs game, I keep asking myself. There is always something that goes wrong, preventing us from winning a game….Is it mental weakness or sheer lack of concentration?…

  2. Kevin

    What a horrendous day for Davies! Directly involved in the 2 goals conceded and then dislocating a shoulder…

    I never thought i would have said it but Rose is now firmly way ahead of him in the pecking order. I wonder if we are going to have another Bentley-situation where his only contribution is to create competition and make the other person better (Bentley – Lennon & now Davies – Rose)

    As for Fazio, very disappointed with his aerial defending but the midfield got to help the defenders more especially Bentaleb and Mason. They should have known that Mane was going to create all sort of problems to our two slow defenders (to be fair, Mason started eventually tracking Mane’s runs) and Bentaleb was the guilty one both times Davis could have scored.

    Though i have full confidence in those two to eventually becoming better and more mature, i think they should really learn from Scheiderlin on how to patrol the midfield. Every time Kane and Ericksen got the ball, he was there to help his defenders out and i loved how he recycled possession and launch attack from the back.

    Reply
    1. JOHN ADAM

      The trouble with Spurs is that they are slow to move around, to clear and to pass unlike players like Scheiderlin and Mane who has incredible pace…

      Reply
      1. JOHN ADAM

        It is particularly our central defence that needs propping up. Today, I was watching Everton, my second favourite team, against Manchester United. I was really impressed with their hunger for goals and their dogged determination to secure a win. To this effect, they played aggressively and with great gusto and it paid off. I was asking myself why Spurs do not show this same attitude and commitment when they play….

      2. Kevin

        I know that we have been linked to Kevin Wimmer from Cologne but unfortunately, i have not seen him play a lot but it’s looking very likely that he is going to join us next season. I don’t think he will bring leadership to our defense but i think he can improve it with his strength and pace (just like how Kaboul was before his injuries)

        @John Adam – Everton was definitely impressive today but it is a bit unfair to compare us to them. They have only been playing well recently as their form has been atrocious during the first half of the season. They have only started picking things up once their season was in danger of fizzing out completely.

      3. JOHN ADAM

        Quite true, they have remarkably improved recently after a poor start whereas Spurs have shown some decline, not winning many matches of late. I only wanted to say that today, Everton impressed me with their fighting spirit which I would also like Spurs to have in each and every game although I must give them credit for having fought back yesterday to secure a draw at the very least. It is just a pity they conceded 2 goals that should have been avoided. Had we picked 3 points, we would be fairly close to Man U that lost to Everton today

  3. OC7

    1. The season shouldn’t be petering out, we have a huge squad, we are supposed to be strong all the way through. The same issue as the Redknapp era; not enough rotation, first XI knackered by March… no strong finish.

    2. Defence is utterly useless. As one commenter pointed out, every single game there is a comedy of errors. At least under AVB the horror shows only came against top teams with lethal players like Aguero & Suarez. More experience in the CM positions might help… sorry Mason but “high energy impact sub” would be a better role for you next season, this latest cock up confirms what has been suspected over the last several weeks.

    3. Sluggish attack. None of the front 4 has blistering pace… Townsend or Lennon, for their faults, stretch the play and create space for the crafty Kane and Eriksen (& Lamela) to work some magic. No space = no magic = no unpredictability = easy to defend.

    The usual sin wave of a season for Spurs fans.

    Reply
    1. JOHN ADAM

      Very weak defence and sluggish attack sum it all…Why did we not keep Lennon? At least, he created space and crossed the ball. We have had rather few crossings from the wing of late

      Reply
    1. JOHN ADAM

      Another disappointment yesterday for the fans against City although Spurs put on quite a good show except that they could not score, not even one goal for a draw to better our chances for a European qualification. Our finishing was not good enough and although credit must be given to Hart, our shots in goal were not sufficiently well taken, most of the time too close to the keeper.

      Reply
      1. anotherwisemonkey

        I read an interesting article yesterday about Bielsa, the coach who is Pochettino’s inspiration. It seems his teams often start the season very well but run out of gas towards the end. The argument is made that his approach to fitness is not sustainable. Certainly at Spurs we’ve tailed off after an excellent second third of the season, and it was similar at Southampton last year. Do you think this is why the shots were so tired?

      2. JOHN ADAM

        Money is not the main factor, in my opinion. We had loads of it after selling Bale and we spent it too hastily and too lavishly on some players who were not good enough. The money should have been spent more wisely..

      1. JOHN ADAM

        Yes, we dominated but football is about scoring and picking points. I cannot understand why Spurs, with the excellent training facilities they have as well as a good squad, cannot do better season after season and even finishing among the top four.. We have to find out where the problem lies..
        ..

      2. anotherwisemonkey

        Hmm, we are still only the sixth biggest club in the league in terms of turnover, so Liverpool and the top four have more financial muscle which impacts on performance. When we have finished fourth we have punched above our weight.

  4. JOHN ADAM

    Yes, we were unlucky but that does not earn us points. Unfortunately, we seem to be ‘unlucky’ in far too many games…

    Reply

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