Premier League 2019/20: Tottenham 2-1 Southampton - 5 Talking Points
After a testing week for Mauricio Pochettino, his Tottenham side proved today that observers who figured they’d lost their stomach for a fight were very wrong. Spurs were able to defeat Southampton 2-1 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in a very tricky test made even more difficult midway through the first half.
Tottenham took the lead through a powerful, slightly deflected shot from record signing Tanguy Ndombele on 24 minutes, only to find themselves reduced to 10 men less than 10 minutes later as right-back Serge Aurier was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Southampton then equalised after a howler from Hugo Lloris gifted Danny Ings an easy goal, only for Spurs to hit back two minutes before the break through Harry Kane following a sweeping counter-attack also involving Heung Min Son and Christian Eriksen.
The Saints threw all they had at Spurs in the second half, but simply couldn’t find a breakthrough, meaning that all three valuable points went to Pochettino and his men, who showed serious guts and determination to hold on.
Here are 5 talking points from Tottenham’s 2-0 victory over Southampton.
#1 Can Serge Aurier ever be trusted?
After the sale of Kieran Trippier to Atletico Madrid this summer, right-back was identified by many observers as a possible problem position for Tottenham this season, and unfortunately those fears have thus far been proven largely correct.
Youngster Kyle Walker-Peters did well in the spot before picking up an injury, while central defender Davinson Sanchez struggled hugely in the role in the North London derby against Arsenal earlier this month. But when Serge Aurier – who Spurs reportedly attempted and failed to offload in the summer – starred in the 4-0 win over Crystal Palace two weeks ago, it felt like the problem had been solved.
But if Aurier took a step forward in that game, today he took two massive steps back. The Ivorian was booked for a dangerous-looking scissor tackle on Sofiane Boufal, and just minutes later he was shown the red card for a challenge on Boufal that while not malicious, was simply cynical.
The foul showed a distinct lack of both thought and concentration on the behalf of Aurier and it showed in a microcosm why Mauricio Pochettino has been so reluctant to trust him as Tottenham’s first-choice right-back. After today, with Moussa Sissoko covering the slot admirably today and Walker-Peters coming back from injury soon, it’s doubtful that he’ll be given many more chances.
Sure, the red card didn’t end up costing Spurs – but it certainly could’ve, and more to the point it meant Spurs had to work far harder for their win than they might’ve done, which can hardly have pleased Pochettino with a big Champions League fixture against Bayern Munich coming in just 3 days.