Can Southampton Carry On Their Wonderful Start To The Season?  

Losing a number of key players, along with the manager who brought wonderful, free-flowing football to the St. Mary’s Stadium last season, created real concern that Southampton would struggle to reach the same levels and face a potential battle at the wrong end of the table. All fears have been quickly eradicated as the Saints have got off to a wonderful start in the 2014/2015 campaign, with Ronald Koeman making an instant impression in the managerial hotseat. Four consecutive victories illustrate the supreme form Southampton have found early doors, with confidence flowing through the team as all of the summer recruits have hit the ground running.

Southampton currently find themselves sitting pretty in second behind league leaders Chelsea, but their resolve and quality will be tested in the tough upcoming trip to Tottenham The Saints will come face-to-face against Mauricio Pocchetino for the first time since his departure to North London, with all appreciation for the excellent work he did with the club put to one side for 90 minutes. Victory at White Hart Lane would increase belief that Southampton should be backed to quality for Europe with Betsafe, but making it five wins in a row is by no means guaranteed.

Southampton

Southampton have quickly found their feet under Koeman, who has embraced the pressure of rebuilding a club who became a victim of their own success and repeating the same high standards of football on the pitch. Although we are only six games into the 2014/2015 Premier League season, early indications are that the Saints look even better than last year, with increased solidity and a greater attacking threat culminating in a surge up the table to the lofty heights of second place. Time will tell as to how long Southampton’s excellent form will last, but if the likes of Sadio Mane, Dusan Tadic and Graziano Pelle continue making a big impact, then there is every chance that the team could compete for a European spot.

Any team who travels to White Hart Lane needs to remain strong in defence, but also carry a threat going forward on the counter to take advantage of Tottenham’s fragility when they are not on their game. It may explain with the Saints go into the game as underdogs at 3.45, but there is every reason for Koeman’s side to fancy their chances. While Maya Yoshida may recover from a knock picked up in the win at Swansea, Florin Gardos is set to miss the trip to White Hart Lane with a calf injury. He joins long-term absentees James Ward-Prowse and Jay Rodriguez on the sidelines, with both players likely to return to action around mid-December. Koeman can call upon on-loan defender Toby Alderweireld if Yoshida does not recover in time, but can otherwise select a strong team. Tottenham’s mid-week Europa League exploits may provide Southampton with a wonderful opportunity to take full advantage of any subsequent fatigue, with Pelle likely to thrive against a defence that has looked shaky on numerous occasions this season.

Tottenham

Despite starting the season with consecutive victories, Tottenham come into the game on Sunday on the back of four games without a win, yet remain favourites at 2.16 to take all three points. An invaluable point in the North London derby against Arsenal was fully merited for the excellent work-rate and pressing game that Pocchetino won many plaudits for during his time at Southampton. They are slowly showing signs that they are adapting to Pocchetino’s demands, but Spurs’ inept performance in the shock 1-0 home defeat against West Brom raised concerns. Their fierce battle at the Emirates may also have come at a price, with Nacer Chadli and Danny Rose picking up knocks that could rule them out of facing the Saints. Both players would be a major loss for Tottenham, particularly Chadli who has looked extremely dangerous this season and has scored four goals in five games, easily making him Pocchetino’s main goalscorer.