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Preview: Southampton vs. Tottenham Hotspur - prediction, team news, lineups
28/12/2021 14:34:41

Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur will both be aiming to build on Boxing Day victories in the Premier League when they lock horns at St Mary's on Tuesday afternoon.

Ralph Hasenhuttl's men prevailed 3-2 against West Ham United at the weekend, while Spurs cruised to a 3-0 success over Crystal Palace.

We say: Southampton 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Southampton - albeit a much-changed one - are certainly capable of giving Spurs a good run for their money, with Conte also pondering how best to set up his team in the unrelenting schedule.

The Saints' solid home form should also stand them in good stead for Tuesday's battle, but if Spurs truly are a different beast under Conte, we are confident in the Lilywhites' ability to grind out a narrow away win.

Match preview

Twice Southampton were pegged back in their battle with West Ham at the London Stadium, but they would not be denied a third time, as the Saints prolonged the Hammers' misery with a thrilling 3-2 success in the capital.

After Michail Antonio and Said Benrahma had cancelled out efforts from James Ward-Prowse and Mohamed Elyounoussi, Ward-Prowse's pinpoint free kick found the head of Jan Bednarek with 20 minutes remaining to end Southampton's miserable winless run.

Hasenhuttl's side had gone six top-flight games without a win before prevailing at the London Stadium, and as a result the Saints have moved up to 14th in the table ahead of Everton, but they are only one point clear of the Toffees having played a game more.

The hosts will therefore continue to look over their shoulder - especially with 18th-placed Burnley nine points behind with three games in hand - but they can take solace in the fact that they are unbeaten in five Premier League games at home before Antonio Conte pays a visit.

After Nuno Espirito Santo had overseen a dampening 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace in the early months of the season, it was Tottenham's turn to hit the Eagles for three with no reply this time around, as Conte's side dominated proceedings on home soil.

Lucas Moura was the star of the show with a goal and two assists on the day, with the Brazilian setting up Harry Kane and Son Heung-min either side of his header to extend Conte's strong start to life back in the Premier League.

The Lilywhites are now unbeaten in six Premier League games since Conte took the reins - winning four of them - and they took advantage of the Saints' win over West Ham to move up to fifth in the table on Boxing Day, six points behind Arsenal having played three games fewer.

As impressive as Spurs have been on home soil this month - with each of their last six fixtures taking place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium - Conte has only overseen two away games with the Lilywhites and has failed to win either of them, with no visiting fan needing reminding of that fateful night against NS Mura.

Spurs won both Premier League games against Southampton last season by an average scoreline of 7-3 - netting five of those goals at St Mary's - and the pressure is now on Conte's side to translate that positive home form into results on the road.

Team News

Southampton came down with a trio of coronavirus cases before their win over West Ham, with Jack Stephens, Nathan Tella and Lyanco all returning positive tests.

Fraser Forster was fit enough to return in goal, though, leaving fellow shot-stopper Alex McCarthy (thigh) as the Saints' only injury absentee for Tuesday's game.

Hasenhuttl will certainly ring the changes given the 48-hour turnaround, as Ibrahima Diallo, Adam Armstrong and Che Adams prepare for recalls.

As for Spurs, Cristian Romero and Ryan Sessegnon are expected to remain in the treatment room until after the New Year, but Conte has no fresh concerns from the Palace win.

Bryan Gil has recovered from a bout of coronavirus and featured off the bench on Boxing Day, with Conte now potentially handing the Spanish youngster or Steven Bergwijn a start given the 48-hour turnaround.

Harry Kane should be fine to go again after being taken off on the 64-minute mark, but Dele Alli and Tanguy Ndombele could benefit from some forced rotation here.

Southampton possible starting lineup:

Caballero; Valery, Bednarek, Salisu, Perraud; S. Armstrong, Diallo, Ward-Prowse, Djenepo; Adams, A. Armstrong

Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:

Lloris; Tanganga, Dier, Rodon; Doherty, Ndombele, Hojbjerg, Davies; Alli, Bergwijn; Kane

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