OPPONENTS Southampton 
COMPETITION Premier League 
DATE Tuesday 26th December 2017
VENUE Wembley
3.  Maya YOSHIDA
6.  Wesley HOEDT
7.  Shane LONG
8.  Steven DAVIS
10.  Charlie AUSTIN
11.  Dusan TADIC
13.  Alex McCARTHY
14.  Oriol ROMEU
16.  James WARD-PROWSE
17.  Virgil van DIJK
18.  Mario LEMINA
19.  Sofiane BOUFAL
20.  Manolo GABBIADINI
21.  Ryan BETRAND
22.  Nathan REDMOND
23.  Pierre-Emile HOJBJERG
25.  Florin GARDOS
26.  Jeremy PIED
28.  Stuart TAYLOR
30.  Will WOOD
32.  Alfie JONES
33.  Matt TARGETT
38.  Sam McQUEEN
39.  Josh SIMS
42.  Jake HESKETH
43.  Yan VALERY
44.  Fraser FORSTER

PREVIEW There will be an odd look to the Southampton side when they come to Wembley.  They must be one of the few professional clubs in the world who come without a number 1, a number 9 and a number 4.  It's a numbers game and at the moment, the ones in the points column are the ones that are concerning those at St. Marys.

Some of their problems have come with the defence, with youngster Jack Stephens still coming to grips with playing in the Premier League, but Yoshida and Hoedt experienced, but not playing to repel enough attacks that Fraser Forster has to deal with.  The keeper is a bit Marmite.  He will either have a blinder or a mare.  Guess what will happen on Boxing Day ?  Virgil van Dijk is being touted as a GBP50 million player, but at times his positional play lets him and his side down and he is a believer in bringing the ball out from the back, which is not always successful and leaves gaps in behind him.  That is if he plays, as he ahs been left out of the last two Saints games.  Ryan Bertrand is about their best defender and his attacking tendency also mean that Southampton might be exposed on the break.

The midfield is driven by the hard running of Dusan Tadic, Oriol Romeu, Steven Davis and James Prowse-Ward, although they have pace in Nathan Redmond and guile in the shape of Soufiane Boufal, Pierre-Emile Hjobjerg and Mario Lemina.  The problem is that the creative players are mostly unable to impose themselves on the game, with Redmond being the exception ... on the exception when he does take the opposition on.  The problem the midfield will have on Boxing Day is that Charlie Austin, who had scored a couple of goals lately is suspended (and injured), leaving only the niggly Shane Long and Manolo Gabbiadini.  Both are capable of scoring, with Gabbiadini more likely than Long, but if they don't have the ability to hold the ball up front, it will keep coming back.  Gabbiadini is capable of doing it on his own, while Long uses the dark arts to get into the defender's mind and then finds himself in the clear.  Mind you, he has only twice hit double figure sin the last seven seasons.

Tottenham should be confident after beating Burnley and despite the loss to Manchester City, the club are still handily placed for a push towards the top.  Poch will want to finish 2017 off with a flourish, while the side need the points in the bag, with two games coming within three days after New Year because of the postponement of the West Ham United London match.  Tottenham showed at Burnley how effective they can be on the break, even if we don't always finish them with goals, but with Harry Kane looking in clinical form, it could be that Southampton could be hit on the counter if they try to go on the attack.  If they sit back and try to defend for the 90 minutes, I think that they have shown this season that approach is not always the way forward for them.

If Spurs can turn it on like they did against Burnley (and with no game at the weekend, they can give it 100%), then there should be a pleasing post-Christmas bonus for the points tally.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    2         Southampton    0
LAST SEASON'S MEETING For a look back at the match report, click here.
RESULTS HISTORY Click here for results, match reports and facts on meetings with Southampton
Toby Alderweireld (hamstring) and Victor Wanyama (knee) are still not available, but there are no new injury worries, although Harry Winks picked up an ankle knock, which he may be over and ready to play.
Hamstring injuries rule out Ryan Bertrand and Charlie Austin (who also picked up a three match ban on Christmas Eve), while Cedric Soares is out having collided with the Stamford Bridge advertising boards a week ago.

Sky Sports Premier League  & Sky Sports Main Event - (live coverage)
Sky Sports 1 -  Game of the Day -  Saturday 20.30
Sky Premier League (highlights) - Tuesday 23.00; Wednesday 03.00, 06.00, 11.00, 15.00
Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Boxing Day 22.45 (highlights)   [repeated at 07:45 Wednesday 27.12.2017]  Also available online.

For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here.

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152  (live coverage)
Commentary may be found on
>   BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW
TalkSport (DAB or 2nd89 MW)
Absolute Radio  (1215 AM/MW)

If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne)
SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 15.00 matches
Australia (Sydney) 
Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
Media Corp Radio  -  93.8 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
South Africa 
SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
Uganda  Radio 1 (English) 90.0 FM, Radio 2 (Lugandan) 87.9 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean) 
Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Tuesday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :
The THFC Official website   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London - click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.
TalkSport (DAB or 2nd89 MW)

Tottenham Hotspur  5 (2)                                                                       
Premier League
Tuesday 26th December 2017
Southampton  2 (0)

Kick off 12:30
Kane  21m 19s
Kane  38m 07s
Alli  48m 39s
Son  50m 40s
Kane  66m 44s
Boufal  63m 19s
Tadic  81m 16s


Hjoberg (foul on Rose)  21
Long  (persistent fouling)  58


Crowd :   55,412 Weather :  Bright, chilly
Referee :  Graham Scott (Oxfordshire) Assistant Referees :  Mr. P. Kirkup; Mr. C. Hatzidakis
Fourth Official :  Craig Pawson  
Southampton kicked off and played towards the West Stand end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 1 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Southampton : kit
  1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)

24  Serge AURIER
  6  Davinson SANCHEZ
  3  Danny ROSE

15  Eric DIER
19  Mousa DEMBELE  (17  Moussa SISSOKO  54)

  7  Heung-Min SON    (11  Erik LAMELA  76)
20  DELE Alli    (29  Harry WINKS  84)
Christian ERIKSEN

10  Harry KANE     

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM

  2  Kieran TRIPPIER
33  Ben DAVIES
18  Fernando LLORENTE

  44  Fraser FORSTER

  5  Jack STEPHENS
  Maya YOSHIDA  (c)
  6  Wesley HOEDT
33  Matt TARGETT  (38  Sam McQUEEN  77)

22  Nathan REDMOND  (11  Dusan TADIC  63)
14  Oriel ROMEU
23  Pierre-Emile HJOBERG    
18  Mario LEMINA  (
20  Manolo GABBIADINI  63)
19  Sofiane BOUFAL 

  7  Shane LONG    

Unused subs: 
26  Jeremy PIED
  8  Steve DAVIS


Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino Manager :  Mauricio Pellegrino
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  Virgin Media
Kit Supplier :  Nike Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

That fact that our last match of 2017 will be best remembered for the record breaking goal-scoring of Harry Kane, whose hat-trick helped Spurs to a 5-2 win, there were some towering performances from other Tottenham players to establish a superiority over Southampton which was only spoiled by a couple of minutes of indecision that let the visitors register two goals.  Frankly, the way that Southampton played and the selection of the team by their manger - Mauricio Pellegrino - they barely deserved the two goals and while Spurs escaped a couple of other times, we could have easily had ten with a better final ball.

It was a post-Christmas entertainment, where the Spurs players were clearly enjoying themselves with seven days before their next game.  Some of the play was breath-taking and reminiscent of last season's flowing football and the fact that Harry Kane got three goals glosses over he might have had six himself.  But the opposition was as open as Stoke had been a couple of weeks earlier.  With a hesitant keeper in Fraser Forster in goal, the task was a little easier for Tottenham, especially when the home team's fans were booing their own players long before the end.  But their seemingly inevitable descent down the table means that the Saintly supporters are feeling unholy about the situation.

Taking to the field in a distasteful black and jade striped kit (why, when they play in red an white stripes against us most times), Southampton manager Pellegrino had not only left out Virgil van Dijk (reported leaving in next month's transfer window), but also Steve Davis, James Ward-Prowse and Dusan Tadic.  If they were not chosen on the same grounds, St Marys will be a very desolate place after the end of January.  The side looked a little unbalanced, with five in midfield and the barren Shane Long up front.   However, it was the visiting side who started the brighter, closing Spurs down quickly and trying to be physical when they didn't have the ball.  Aurier blocked an early shot by Boufal after an early free-kick, but Tottenham soon settled to their task and began hunting the ball down themselves. Within the first five minutes, Spurs were adopting a shoot on sight policy, with Forster perhaps targeted as one of the weak links in the So'ton side.

Eriksen and  Rose had shots blocked and when Dele spread the ball right to Christian, his low ball in to the near post was met by Kane, getting ahea dof his marker and the keeper, but it was only prodded into the side-netting.  Winning the ball again, Forster was brought into action with Dier trying a curler that the keeper saved.   It became obvious that Southampton's main attacking policy was to hit long balls for Long to chase.  He rarely does so without conceding a foul, so the tactic failed to produce much, other than a determination in the Tottenham defence to prevent him getting anywhere near the ball.  He twice bundled Vertonghen over, while he was also hacked down from behind by Hjoberg with a late challenge. 

Dele looked more up for it today, with some skilful contributions and in the 14th minute, nearly a spectacular goal. Davinson Sanchez brought the ball out of defence, with the Southampton players standing off him, so he looked up and spotted Dele on the left hand corner of the Southampton box.  He hit a measured pass over the right back's head and Dele hit it first time, trying to side-foot a volley over the keeper, but he got too much on it and it went over.  You wonder what might have happened if he had gone for pure power and it might have ended up like van Basten's volley v Russia in the European Championship final in 1988.  Southampton had little to counter Tottenham's attacking play and they were forced into giving the ball away time after time.  Hjoberg had been handed the hard man role in midfield and after a couple of goes at pulling Danny Rose back as he went down the left wing, he finally brought him down on the very edge of the penalty area to concede a free kick about 12 yards out from the dead ball.  Eriksen lined the bal up and not being able to remember when he last scored from a  free-kick, the packed penalty area made it look difficult as to how he might do it.  But he didn't need to as his driven ball into the six yard ball was not even gone for by Forster and it left Harry Kane the simple task to head the ball in ahead of Romeu from about a yard out.  It was a typical Kane goal and one that broke Shearer's "PL goals scored in a calendar year" record.  More importantly, it handed Spurs the lead almost half way through the half.

Almost as soon as we scored Southampton were nearly level, but not through their own doing.  Boufal got inside our box on the left hand corner and fired in a hard shot that Lloris could only parry up into the air, but it was OK, as Danny Rose was underneath it.  Well ,that was what we thought, as the Spurs left back headed the ball back to Lloris, but over his head.  Lloris had quickly got up and had to back-pedal to get a touch on the ball that took it onto the bar, but the ball then dropped close to the line and in his attempt to knock it away, Hugo knocked it onto the post before finally grabbing in inches form the line again.  It was a comedy of errors that nearly left us in tears ... and not of laughter.  It was a brief moment of worry for Spurs in the first half, as the Saints players were busy, but not very joined up in their play.  Spurs kept the ball moving forward (except when they played it back to retain possession) and created chances, with Eriksen dragged a shot across goal from right to left, then Harry hit a chip from 20 yards out that went narrowly over the top.  He soon made up for it, when a fantastic move opened up Southampton.  A move that saw Tottenham holding the ball for a long period, with the ball worked from left to right and then into Eriksen, who pushed a pass through to Dele Alli on the edge of the box to the left of middle.  His pass inside the full back released Son in wide on the left and his low ball across the near post, cutting out the keeper, reached the middle of the goal, where Kane knocked it home ahead of Yoshida's attempted intervention.  A poacher's goal that added to his annual total and put him above Lionel Messi as Europe's major league's top scorer for the year.  The build-up had been patient and measured, despite some unrest around me to put the ball into the box earlier and the move brought back memories of the way we were at our best last season.

The remainder of the half was mainly played in the Southampton half, except for a corner they won that was headed well wide by Romeu.  Spurs were still looking for goals at the half-time whistle, but had to settle for two before Spurs striking legend Martin Chivers came out for the half-time interview.  Having played for both sides, he was the obvious choice over others who have represented both, such as Frank Saul, Neil Ruddock, David Howells, Paul Allen, Paulo Gazzaniga and Victor Wanyama.

The sides came out unchanged for the second half and the game changed little too.  Despite Tottenham being on the attack, a slice by Dier up in the opposition box opened Spurs up to a quick break and Long raced into the Spurs half, but Sanchez kept pace with him and under pressure, the Southampton forward could not get a powerful shot away, but he forced Lloris to go to ground to his right to get behind the effort.  It gave the visitors a little lift and when Mario Lemina ran across the edge of the penalty area from right to left, his left footed shot hit the bar and went over the top.  It was a warning to Sours that the next goal would be crucial in determining the outcome of the game, so when Redmond played a pass inside, but behind all the striped shirts, Eric Dier quickly initiated an attack that saw Dele take the ball to the left of the box.  With Romeu in front of him, it looked as though he had nowhere to go, but he shimmied his way infield and from 18 yards, he shot low through the box to send a daisy-cutter past the hapless Forster.  For a big bloke, he doesn't really extend himself for crosses or when diving for shots, when it looks like he is more intent on protecting his body form hitting the ground than reaching out to get the ball.  Dele's shot was precisely placed just inside the post and there was a supportive roar when it went in and when his name was announced as the scorer.  While the furore continues to gather around him thanks to a news-hungry press, the Spurs fans are aware of his importance to the team's play and he had a very good game today.

A couple of minutes later, the lead was four, as a Saints move broke down with Aurier's block and Spurs kicked into gear to move the ball forward through Dele, how produced a fine pass into Son's path to his right and he had tie to take a touch before drilling it past Forster from inside the box to put Spurs ahead four goals to the good.  The Korean is is excellent form and has developed into an integral member of the team, having given the Southampton defence a tough time with his direct running at them in the first half. 

Sissoko was required to replace Mousa Dembele, who had taken a knock and at 4-0, it was a good opportunity to make sure he didn't aggravate it any further.  Southampton took advantage of the change to fashion an effort by Romeu, but Hugo was equal to it, diving low to his right to hold the ball.  Harry came within inches of a hat-trick when Rose played a diagonal cross-field ball into the penalty box and it drifted over Targett's head for Kane to drill a volley at the far post, but it missed by inches and it would have been a fantastic treble.  Shane Long finally got booked for fouling most things that moved out on the pitch and Spurs really started to enjoy their football.  Playing the ball out of defence, Hugo lofted a pass out to Rose, who chested it infield for Jan and the ball was played forward.  Spurs players were running the ball off the outside of their boot with their backs to goal to over-lapping team-mates and Son and Aurier were playing neat one-touch passes up the right hand side to move the ball forward.

However, a double substitution by Pellegrino took Redmond off to the boos of his own fans (and they had booed every time he touched it after he gave the ball away for our third goal) and Lemina went with him to allow Gabbiadini and Tadic to enter the play.  The move paid off straight away, with Boufal finding space on the left after Aurier had sliced a clearance to him and he to strode forward to drill a shot at goal,  which beat Lloris at his near post.  It was a sloppy goal to conceded against  side who were almost at our mercy.   Not that the goal adversely affected the way Spurs were playing, with Son breaking away with the ball on the left and playing Dele in around the centre circle.  Looking up, he found Kane running left with a pass and despite the attention of two defenders, the striker took the ball into the box.  He waited for Yoshida to vainly dive in and then Forster committed himself, allowing Harry to lift the ball across him and in for his eighth hat-trick of the year ... another Premier League record !  It was the finish of a player who is supremely confident at the moment and looks like he might score at any time.

So, 5-1, with the game sewn up it would seem, but Spurs still had some defending to do, with Lloris having to turn a Stepehens effort off for a corner and then Jan topped an imperious performance with a sliding tackle to get the ball up over the bar from very close to the goal as Long looked to get on the end of Gabbiadini's low ball into the six yard box.  Vertonghen was also alert when Boufal tried to find Long, but his reading of the pass denied the completion of the ball to a black and jade shirt.  Southampton were keeping the ball in the Spurs last third, with Boufal dragging a shot wide and then Dier was called on to block Boufal's efforts twice and then Lloris had to dive up to his right to push away Hjoberg's rising shot that was heading into the top corner.  HOwever, he went form hero to villain on his birthday, with a flap at the corner and when Tadic lofted it back at goal from about 15 yards out, in his hurry to try and right his wrong, he pushed it into the top corner of the net.  Had he left it Harry Kane was right behind him on the line to head it away.  But it was 5-2 with nine minutes plus added time remaining.

There was still plenty of time for more goals and substitute Erik Lamela went close when Kane left a low ball in by Dele and the Argentine drove a shot over the bar.  Lloris caught a corner rather than choosing to punch and later Gabbiadini found space for a shot that went wide and then it was all over.  Spurs had five goals, three points and a multiple record holder.  It had been a good performance all round and while some people near me were criticising Lloris, he made two excellent stops to make sure we retained our lead.  Jan was outstanding, both full backs had licence to get forward and Danny Rose is getting back to the form he had before his injury.  Lamela looks keen again now he has overcome his surgery, Dele looks composed and with a goal and two assists, he is crucial to the team's function.  Dembele had a good game, holding the ball better today. 

It was a good all round performance and they will need to do the same when they meet Swansea City and West Ham United within three days of each other after the New Year.  If they can do that and go into the FA Cup tie with AFC Wimbledon with a good haul of points behind them, it can only help increase belief in their ability to put in a title challenge (albeit Manchester City may have it in the bag by then).

But the man of the day was Harry Kane and his innate ability to put the ball in the net. 

The BBC reported that

  • Kane has scored more league goals this season than Bournemouth, West Brom, Swansea, Crystal Palace, Brighton and Huddersfield.
  • He is the first player in Premier League history to score six hat-tricks in a single calendar year.
  • Kane has scored eight Premier League hat-tricks, as many as Thierry Henry and Michael Owen. Only Shearer (11) and Robbie Fowler (9) have more in the competition.
  • The Spurs striker has now scored 96 Premier League goals for the club - one off Teddy Sheringham's record.

Not only did he beat Shearer's previous record with his 39 goals, but did it in 36 games instead of the 42 that Shearer set the record in.  It was also revealed after the game that amongst all the records he broke today, Harry Kane has scored 50 goals since Shane Long last put the ball in the net and it counted, but I bet Kane hasn't got as many yellow cards as the Irishman.  I know who I would rather have and "He's One of Our Own".

Stanford Rivers




When the right Reverend Joshua Pennington played left half for Southampton in their early days, he was required to leave the club as he was called to be a missionary in the USA.  He was sent to convert the natives to Christianity, but he  also tried to convert them to football.  However, he was so regularly frustrated when they used to pick up the ball and hurl it forward high in the air, that he used to call upon the patron Saint of lost souls, St. Mary.  His cries of "Hail St. Mary" were often misheard and when American Football was developed, such passes became known as the "Hail Mary" pass.


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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Bournemouth 3 West Ham United London 3 Tuesday
Chelsea 2 Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Tuesday
Huddersfield Town 1 Stoke City 1 Tuesday
Liverpool 5 Swansea City 0 Tuesday
Manchester United 2 Burnley 2 Tuesday
Watford 2 Leicester City 1 Tuesday
West Bromwich Albion 0 Everton 0 Tuesday
Newcastle United 0 Manchester City 1 Wednesday
Crystal Palace - - - -day
Arsenal - - - -day



League Table  2017-18
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester City 20 19 1 0 61 12 59 +49
2 Manchester United 20 13 4 3 43 16 43 +27
3 Chelsea 20 13 3 4 34 14 42 +20
4 Liverpool 20 10 8 2 46 23 38 +23
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 20 11 4 5 39 20 37 +19
6 Arsenal 20 11 4 5 37 25 37 +12
7 Burnley 20 9 6 5 18 17 33 +1
8 Leicester City 20 7 6 7 30 30 27 0
9 Everton 20 7 6 7 24 30 27 -6
10 Watford 20 7 4 9 29 35 25 -6
11 Huddersfield Town 20 6 5 9 18 32 23 -14
12 Brighton & Hove Albion 20 5 6 9 15 25 21 -10
13 Stoke City 20 5 5 10 23 41 20 -18
14 Southampton 20 4 7 9 20 30 19 -10
15 Newcastle United 20 5 3 12 19 30 18 -11
16 Crystal Palace 20 4 6 10 18 32 18 -14
17 West Ham United London 20 4 6 10 22 38 18 -16
18 AFC Bournemouth 20 4 5 11 18 313 17 -13
19 West Bromwich Albion 20 2 9 9 14 27 15 -13
20 Swansea City 20 3 4 13 11 31 13 -20


Position before match :  5th
Position after match :  5th
Position after the Boxing Day (and beyond) fixtures :


* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone might think so.


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