While Southampton and Spurs have both seen their Champions League hopes come to an end, the two sides should be able to clinch Europa League qualification, although it is important to note that seventh-placed side will miss out on Europe if Aston Villa lift the FA Cup title. And with the fifth place still up for grabs, both sides will want to win at St Mary’s and improve their league position ahead of the final four matches.
Southampton could not sustain the European challenge last season despite the wealth of talent at Mauricio Pochettino’s disposal, but his successor Ronald Koeman has defied the odds to match last year’s point tally with five games to go. The Dutch coach had plenty of squad rebuilding to do after a number of key men left last summer, and taking everything into account, everybody at St Mary’s can be delighted with the outcome of the current campaign that should result in Europa League qualification. Southampton did experience problems in the second part of the season, and they are not exactly on top of their game at the moment, but at least their home form has been quite impressive of late. The Saints went on to defeat Crystal Palace, Burnley and Hull City in last three home fixtures and that should give them reason for optimism ahead of the visit of Tottenham. There are no doubts that influential midfielder Victor Wanyama has been missed of late and the Kenyan is again unavailable as he serves the final match of his suspension. Ronald Koeman also has a long injury list to contend with seeing as Filip Djuricic, Fraser Forster, Jay Rodriguez, Emmanuel Mayuka and Sam Gallagher are out on the sidelines.
Mauricio Pochettino thought he was making a step up when he decided to leave Southampton and take over the reigns at White Hart Lane, but that did not exactly prove to be the case, with Spurs now sitting just one point clear of their next opponents. The Argentine coach has got to be given credit for helping the likes of Kane, Mason and Bentaleb flourish this season, but it is already clear that Champions League qualification will remain just a dream for yet another campaign. With another five games to go before the season ends, Spurs need to start thinking about the next season and it is clear that the current squad will undergo some changes in the summer. Tottenham ended a mini run of two matches without scoring as they piled more misery on out-of-sorts Newcastle by winning 3-1 at St James’ Park, but they will now have bigger fish to fry. Even if they don’t exactly have much to play for at the moment, Spurs will attempt to finish the Premiership campaign as high as possible and a win at St Mary’s would probably cement the sixth place in the standings. First choice keeper Hugo Lloris should return to the side after missing three matches through a knee problem, but Kyle Walker continues to miss out.
This will be a game between two evenly matched sides that haven’t exactly impressed of late, and I don’t expect to see too many goals at St Mary’s. With Graziano Pelle misfiring and Harry Kane not in the best shape, under 2.5 goals looks a good bet here.
Verdict: Under 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 4/5