A Complete Tactical Analysis Of Tottenham Hotspur’s Hard Fought Win Over Southampton

Tottenham managed to earn all three points after a hard-fought win over Southampton as they continued their fantastic home form at the White Hart Lane. Tottenham were cruising with a two-goal lead in the first half, thanks to Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli. Southampton started the second half well and were rewarded early in the second half in the 51st minute as James Ward-Prowse reduced the deficit to a single goal. Tottenham were able to hold on to the lead despite immense Southampton pressure. With this win, Tottenham tightened their grip on the 2nd spot in the Premier League. Below is the tactical analysis of each half:

First half:

Tottenham started the first half very brightly and came close to scoring in the third minute itself when Son made a really good run to latch on to Eriksen’s through ball but was denied by Fraser Forster. Tottenham kept probing with Southampton giving Tottenham a few scares on the counter. Tottenham took the lead through Christian Eriksen in the 14th minute who cut inside and ran his left foot through the ball to put it past the keeper after not being closed down quickly enough. With Tottenham playing a defensive high line, Manolo Gabbiadini and Nathan Redmond found space behind the defence but weren’t able to convert it. Dele Alli won a penalty after being clipped by Davis inside the box in the 33rd minute and the 21-year-old dispatched coolly from the spot to make it 2-0.

Tottenham were quite creative in the midfield and it just seemed too much for the Southampton midfield to handle. Southampton also gave Tottenham the luxury of too much space and time in the midfield which the North London club exploited really well.

Second half:

Southampton came with a clear plan to overturn the lead and nearly managed to execute it. They found the goal early in the second half after Ryan Bertrand looped the ball through to James Ward-Prowse who tucked it past Lloris to make it 2-1 in the 51st minute. Southampton gave Tottenham’s midfield a tough time in the middle of the park as they pressed Tottenham and smothered them for space. Southampton’s pressing was only limited to Tottenham’s midfield while Tottenham defenders were quite freely allowed to play out the ball freely.

Tottenham held on to the lead with several regular scares from Southampton and took all three points from the game. Janssen failed to extend Tottenham’s lead when he chose to put his leg through the ball when he probably should have crossed it to Alli. Boufal came close to leveling the proceedings in the 91st minute when Sofiane Boufal curled a shot from distance which swung too much to trouble Lloris.

overall match stats

overall match stats (source:whoscored)

A fairly competitive game:

Tottenham have had a really good home record and have managed to steamroll average teams. If not that, they have at least managed to keep a tight foothold on the game and dominate them statistically. The above stats suggest that the game was fairly competitive and had it not been for Tottenham’s able midfield and defence, they would have easily succumbed to the pressure Southampton were putting on in the second half. Southampton would be really disappointed with their start to the game and their overall performance in the first half as they conceded a silly penalty which Alli converted.

Southampton’s decision of not pressing Tottenham’s defenders playing into opposition’s hands:

passing stats (source:whoscored)

passing stats (source:whoscored)

Southampton seemed to have restricted Tottenham’s ability to find time and space in the middle but their decision to not press the Tottenham defenders played into their opposition’s hands. This allowed Tottenham to dig their way out of the trouble with long balls which the stats suggest Tottenham did really well. Alderweireld particularly helped Tottenham out with his accurate diagonal balls, often to the wide players which enabled Tottenham to keep the ball upfield for a relatively longer duration as the midfield players behind the players arranged themselves into a formation which further pushed the Southampton players back and disabled them to dominate the game.

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