Spurs vs Saints: Preview

By SFC Media Fri 03 May Club

Saints play their penultimate away game of the 2012-13 season as they travel to face high-flying Spurs this weekend.

The north Londoners currently sit fifth in the Barclays Premier League standings and are pushing for a place in next season's UEFA Champions League.

However, they stuttered somewhat last weekend, needing a late own goal to take a point in a 2-2 draw away at relegation-threatened Wigan.

Southampton, meanwhile, go into the game on the back of a disappointing 3-0 home defeat at the hands of West Bromwich Albion.

Mauricio Pochettino's men have not found the net in their last two fixtures, but will take encouragement from the fact that their opponents have not kept a league clean sheet since 3rd February.

Saints have impressed against the league's top sides under Pochettino's watch – defeating Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City over the past two months – and so will look to continue that trend on Saturday.

Victory at White Hart Lane would go some way to preserving our Premier League status with two games to spare given a number of sides around us play one-another this weekend.

On Saturday, 14th-placed Norwich host 16th-placed Aston Villa, while West Ham (10th) welcome Newcastle in 17th. Then, on Monday night, 15th-placed Sunderland play 12th-placed Stoke.

With points guaranteed to be dropped over the course of the weekend, victory for Saints could well move us up the league and into a strong position going into next Saturday's trip to Sunderland and our final-day home game against Stoke.

Many will choose to focus on the role of Gareth Bale in this game against the club with which he began his career.

The 23-year-old Welshman left St Mary's in 2007 after becoming the second-youngest-ever player to appear for Saints. During his six years at White Hart Lane, he has continued his development into one of the most talented player in the country, if not the world.

Just this week Bale was named as the Football Writers' Association Player of the Year, PFA Players' Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year in recognition of the 24 goals he has scored in just 40 appearances so far this season.

The left-sider came through the Saints Academy alongside current Southampton captain Adam Lallana, so the duo will likely be looking forward to renewing acquaintances on Saturday.

Bale, of course, scored the opening when the two sides met at St Mary's last October, when Spurs ran out as 2-1 winners.

Team News

Mauricio Pochettino is waiting on Luke Shaw, who missed last week's defeat to West Bromwich Albion after sustaining an ankle injury on the eve of the game.

Danny Fox and Gastón Ramírez will miss Saints' final three fixtures of 2012-13 having been shown straight red cards in the latter half of that match.

James Ward-Prowse was also ruled out of the squad that faced Albion due to a groin injury, but he has trained this week.

For the hosts, Emmanuel Adebayor is back in contention after missing their draw with Wigan last Saturday due to a knee injury.

Mousa Dembele is a doubt having come off during that match with a muscle injury, while Jake Livermore was missing from the squad altogether.

Sandro, William Gallas and Younes Kaboul are definitely ruled out.

Previous Meetings

Prior to our defeat to Spurs at St Mary's last October, we had not faced the north Londoners since the 2004-05 season.

In that campaign, we were beaten heavily at White Hart Lane with Peter Crouch's goal proving insignificant as a Jermaine Defoe hat trick plus goals from Frederic Kanoute and Robbie Keane gave the hosts a 5-1 win.

However, prior to this season, that was our only defeat in our previous six games against Spurs. Saints ran out 1-0 winners at St Mary's in the 2002-03, 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons.

We also recorded a memorable 3-1 win at White Hart Lane in September 2003, thanks to James Beattie's double plus a Kevin Phillips strike.

Overall, we have faced Spurs in 110 competitive fixtures. 36 of those have gone our way, 46 have ended in Spurs wins and 28 with honours even.

Match Information

Our allocation of tickets for this game sold out within days of going on sale in the middle of last month. Please do not travel without a ticket.

This game will be refereed by Mark Clattenburg. He will be assisted by Mr S Ledger and Mr M Scholes, while Mr T Bates will be the fourth official.

Online Coverage

As with every First Team game, we'll be providing minute-by-minute coverage throughout the day on our official Twitter feed plus goal updates on our official Facebook page.

You can listen to live commentary courtesy of BBC Solent on Saints Player, where you can keep up to date with all the stats and scores from around the country.

Mauricio Pochettino will speak to Saints Player ahead of the game, and you will be able to watch his interviews and full press conference later today.

After the game there will be plenty more content on saintsfc.co.uk and Saints Player, so stay tuned!

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