Harry Kane got the winning goal as Tottenham eased the pressure on Mauricio Pochettino with a 2-1 win over Southampton, despite an awful Hugo Lloris error and Serge Aurier’s first-half dismissal.
Spurs’ underwhelming start to the season took a turn for the worse with Tuesday’s EFL Cup elimination by League Two’s Colchester United, exacerbating the aura of frustration at the club.
But they showed admirable character to see off Saints in tricky circumstances.
Tanguy Ndombele’s opener was soon forgotten when Serge Aurier’s sending off for two bookings was followed by a diabolical Lloris mistake that gifted Danny Ings an equaliser.
But Kane converted after a devastating break at the end of the first half and 10-man Spurs managed to hold on in the face of intense pressure after the break, with Lloris making a couple of fine saves to go some way to making up for his earlier calamity.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 28, 2019
It was not a match synonymous with displays of fine goalkeeping, as the hosts opened the scoring in the 24th minute when Angus Gunn let Ndombele’s left-footed strike from the edge of the box in despite it being almost straight at him.
Lloris then contrived to take the focus away from everyone else 15 minutes later, comically failing to clear under pressure from Ings, who bundled over the line after the goalkeeper’s attempted ‘Cruyff turn’.
That came shortly after Aurier was dismissed for two bookings – the second for a cynical tug on Ryan Bertrand – in quick succession, but Spurs still went into the break ahead.
Son Heung-min, Christian Eriksen and Kane linked on a breath-taking counter and the latter finished into the bottom-left corner.
Lloris went some way to restoring a semblance of authority in the second half with two wonderful stops to deny James Ward-Prowse’s long-range free-kick and then a Maya Yoshida header as Spurs held on.
What does it mean? Spurs up to fourth
For all the doom and gloom surrounding Spurs this week, their overall outlook in the Premier League is actually brighter than many would expect.
Victory lifted them up to fourth on goal difference, with six teams on 11 points. Pochettino will surely feel a little more relaxed with the triumph.
Son Spurs’ leading light
While he was not necessarily at his remarkable best, there is no doubt Son made the difference. He set up Ndombele’s opener and then played a vital role in the counter for Kane’s strike. The forward also worked hard off the ball, making four tackles.
Aurier gives Spurs an uphill struggle
Although Lloris was certainly a contender for flop of the match, Aurier’s somewhat typical rashness left Spurs a man light for an hour. Too often he is a liability for Pochettino – he is surely running out of chances after two yellows in the space of four minutes.
Key Opta Facts:
– Tottenham have won eight of their last nine Premier League home games against Southampton, losing the other in May 2016.
– Since the start of last season, Southampton have both scored and conceded goals in 29 different Premier League games – only Arsenal (31) have done so in more.
– Tottenham striker Harry Kane scored in his sixth consecutive Premier League appearance against Southampton – only Robin van Persie v Stoke (8), Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink v (7) and Romelu Lukaku v (7) have had longer scoring streaks against an opponent in the competition.
– Tanguy Ndombele has scored more goals in his first five Premier League appearances for Tottenham (2) than he managed in 69 Ligue 1 appearances for Amiens and Lyon combined (1).
– Serge Aurier became the first Tottenham player to be sent off in a Premier League home match since Kyle Naughton against Stoke in November 2014.
Spurs return to Premier League action next Saturday at Brighton and Hove Albion, but not before hosting Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday. Saints welcome Chelsea a week on Sunday.
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