Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur will both be aiming to bounce back from opening weekend defeats when they face each other at St Mary’s on Sunday (12pm kick-off).
Spurs’ early season optimism faded fast against Everton in north London and were poor in midweek against Lokomotiv Plovdiv despite their 2-1 win. So Jose Mourinho’s men will be eager to bounce back by taking all three points on the road. But they face a Southampton side who will have been equally disappointed by a defeat at Crystal Palace last time out.
Southampton XI: McCarthy; Walker-Peters, Stephens, Bednarek, Bertrand; Armstrong, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Djenepo; Adams, Ings
Spurs XI: Lloris; Doherty, Dier, Sanchez, Davies; Winks, Ndombele, Hojbjerg; Lucas, Kane, Son
Dele has been left out of the squad altogether. “No [he is not injured],” Mourinho told BT Sport.
“We have a huge squad, a squad with numbers that are very difficult to manage. I never had it, I don’t like to have it and it’s not easy for me. I start with Son, with Lucas and with Harry Kane and on the bench I still have Moussa Sissoko, Erik Lamela and Steven Bergwijn. We have too many players for some positions and some of them are paying the price for this.”
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side ran out 1-0 winners in this fixture last season, a game in which Tottenham lost Harry Kane to injury and saw their Champions League hopes fade away.
Can Saints deal Spurs another domestic blow on Saturday? Or will Mourinho’s men resign Southampton to a second straight league defeat?
Where to watch Southampton vs Spurs on TV:
- UK: BT Sport 1 & BT Sport Ultimate
- US: Peacock
Where to live stream Southampton vs Spurs:
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UK: Readers with BT Sport subscriptions can visit the website or BT Sport app.
How Spurs could line up with Bale
The return of Gareth Bale is a major positive for Tottenham, one of the only negative aspects being he won’t be making his debut against his former club Southampton.
Spurs will be able to line up in a number of different ways when Bale arrives. But what are their options?
This is the line-up many Spurs fans are dreaming of. Providing Tanguy Ndombele improves on last season, he will form a solid and creative midfield base with Giovani Lo Celso and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, allowing Bale, Son Heung-min and Harry Kane to focus solely on attacking. Bale would cut in from the right, Son from the left, with Matt Doherty and Sergio Reguilon overlapping and Kane providing the central threat.
Alternatively, Bale could play behind Kane in a 4-2-3-1, allowing Mourinho to keep playing his divisive favourite Lucas Moura on the right. This would see a midfielder (likely Ndombele) drop out for Bale, who would play in the 9.5 role previously filled by Dele Alli who, if rumours are to be believed, faces an uncertain future under Mourinho.
Finally, Bale could be deployed up front alongside Kane in a 4-4-2. Again this would allow for two wingers to play (Kane and Bale would thrive on service from Son and Steven Bergwijn), while the front two would occupy both centre-backs if the opposition also lines up with a back four. Indeed, having two powerful forwards through the middle will cause a real headache for any side visiting the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this season.