Southampton 2 Tottenham 2: Three talking points

Three talking points as Tottenham Hotspur draw 2-2 with Southampton at St Mary's

Southampton can still improve despite impressive season

The doom and gloom of the early season blues has well and truly evaporated from the sunny shores of the south coast club. Optimism abounds at St. Mary’s as Southampton remain in the hunt for a European spot. Ronald Koeman has done an amazing job with depleted resources but it does help when you have such a wealth of youth talent to work well. Still – this should, and must, not detract from what has been an excellent season for the Saints. How high can they go – it depends on a few factors. Over the summer, it is imperative that Southampton strengthen in all positions. Fraser Forster, unavailable through injury presently, needs a quality goalkeeper to work alongside and possibly challenge him from the number one jersey. Defensively, the club is strong as any other top flight side. Nathaniel Clyne and Ryan Bertrand are two of the league’s top full-backs but Southampton need to add a top quality central defender as Jose Fonte will not last forever. The Hampshire side also will require an attacking midfielder with the guile to unlock defences and another centre forward to aid Graziano Pelle, if the Italian finds himself bereft of goals once again. The signs are good however as the Saints potentially go marching into Europe.

Pochettino needs to work on Tottenham’s in-game management

Tottenham Hotspur have improved under the former Southampton manager in many ways but questions continue to be asked about the way the team handles certain games. The match at St. Mary’s was the north London club’s opportunity to cement their place in and around the top four but the team look very lethargic over the course of the 90 minutes. Mauricio Pochettino has become one of the top coaches in the land for instilling this high-pressure brand of attacking football but he is nowhere near the finished article. He would do well over the summer to spend more time going over footage of his side’s more pedestrian performance and come up with ways to combat this passiveness. However, the club has had a successful season under the Argentine but if the club are to progress how the fans and Daniel Levy want them too, Pochettino needs to realise you cannot always win beautifully.

An amalgamation of the two sides could challenge for the title

Although the two sides who complete the current top six have had excellent seasons, both Southampton and Spurs have very visible weaknesses which will prevent them from going achieving higher positions. Incidentally, the main weakness for each side is the opposite to one another. Southampton have prised the mantle of the division’s sternest defence away from Jose Mourinho’s grasp, although given the result – this is currently shared between Chelsea and the Hampshire side. The Saints have let in just 26 goals in 34 matches and this defensive solidity has been the cornerstone of the club’s ascent to the top six. However, they have just scored 47 times in those matches, and if Graziano Pelle does not score – and he found himself in this predicament during the season – who will score the goals for the Saints? Tottenham Hotspur have no such issue with finding the net – but keeping goals out of theirs is the burning issue for them. Despite being fifth in the table, conceding 49 goals – one more than 16th-placed Sunderland – highlights their main deficiency – a figure which is almost double of the total conceded by Chelsea and Southampton. Fusing the two sides together – the resoluteness of Koeman’s Saints and the dangerousness of Pochettino’s Spurs – it is conceivable that you would be left with a side challenging for Champions League places and titles rather than scrapping it out for the delights of Thursday night football.

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