From a respectable 7th spot in late December, Southampton are now struggling to somehow cling on to the top-half of the EPL table. With the threat of slipping down a couple of notches from the 10th spot they presently are in, the Saints visit White Hart Lane on Sunday for a critical clash with League runners-up Tottenham. One of the reasons for the Southampton decline is the prolonged absence of key midfielder, Virgil van Dijk, and their top-scorer, Charlie Austin. Much of the Saints recent scoring has revolved around their new import from Napoli, Manolo Gabbiadini, who has scored an astonishing 6 goals from just 4 appearances for his new club. Gabbiadini has made it a habit to find the back of the net in every match he has played for the Saints and one can’t rule out that he would do the same at the Lane on March 19. But the over-dependence on one man and with no else contributing to the team effort has meant that Southampton’s plight has improved only marginally. But yes, with the advent of the diabolical Italian striker, the Saints have been finding goals. Southampton’s other striker, Nathan Redmond, has taken up the cue and lightened up a pretty dull phase with a brace in his side’s 3-4 win against Watford last weekend.
For the Spurs, the big news is that star-striker and talisman Harry Kane could very well be out for the rest of the season with an ankle injury. The Lilywhites owe their swift rise in 2017 to the 2nd spot on the Premier League table to the 23-year old striker’s prowess. Kane has 24 goals to his credit from just 28 games and is considered one of English football’s most feared strikers at present. Son Heung-min could possibly play a center-forward role in the absence of Kane and has already made an impact with a hat-trick against Milwall in the FA Cup quarter-finals last weekend. Del Alli, Christian Eriksen, Vincent Janssen and Mousa Dembele are the other options that make up a potent Spurs attack. Mauricio Pochettino’s men have lost only 2 of their 15 matches in all forms of competition in 2017 and have banged in as many as 37 goals. Even with Harry Kane out of the way, Claude Puel’s men look ill-equipped to cope with a rampaging Spurs attack. Tottenham are yet to lose a game at home in the 2016-17 season and it’s not easy to conceive the Southampton side reversing such a trend. The shock component of the March 19 clash could possibly only come from someone like the goal-hungry Gabbiadini. Apart from such a freakish thing happening, the odds are very much in favor of a host win.
Tottenham to win, best odds 4/6