COMMENT By Matt Farr
Tottenham and Southampton prepare to lock horns in an eagerly-anticipated Premier League clash on Wednesday 28 December, but who makes their combined XI?
Spurs trio Mousa Dembele, Eric Dier and Erik Lamela would miss out on the line-up, with Southampton’s Steven Davis and Nathan Redmond getting the nod in their place.
Dier had a storming campaign last term, but has struggled for form and consistency this season, and has lost his place in the Spurs midfield to former Saints man Victor Wanyama.
Lamela, meanwhile, has been a big success for Spurs this season, contributing two goals and seven assists from 14 games in all competitions.
However, his Southampton counterpart Nathan Redmond is also a very good player, and just edges it. The 22-year-old has been a regular feature of Claude Puel’s first-team, and has not yet missed a Premier League game this season.
He has three goals and an assist from 24 games in all competitions, which are less impressive statistics in comparison to Lamela, but with the Spurs man out injured, the recent form of Redmond gives him the edge.
Here is the rest of our best combined XI:
Tottenham and Southampton have two very good goalkeepers. Each side will have to do very well on Wednesday to score past them, but one stands out above the other this season.
Fraser Forster has been challenging Joe Hart for England’s no.1 position for years now, and could be considered unlikely not to have had more appearances for the national side.
However, Hugo Lloris is firmly established as both France and Tottenham’s no.1 stopper, and he is one of the most reliable goalkeepers in the world. From 21 games in all competitions, Lloris has kept eight clean sheets.
The full-backs, meanwhile, are one of the most important positions for both sides. However, the performances of Danny Rose and Kyle Walker for Spurs have been phenomenal, and they have already received a wealth of praise from the media this season.
Ryan Bertrand is also a quality left-back, but he unfortunately misses out. Rose and Walker have two goals and seven assists between them, compared to the two goals and one assist from Bertrand and Cedric Soares.
The two central-midfield players are Steven Davis and Victor Wanyama. The latter has been formidable since arriving from Southampton in the summer, while Davis does not often get enough praise for his efforts for the Saints.
His influence when he came off the bench against Bournemouth was an integral part of their comeback victory, and he gets in the team ahead of the likes of Dier and Mousa Dembele.
Both sides have quality in attack, but Spurs have the edge in creativity, while the Saints have struggled to score goals – so unsurprisingly three of the four men in the final third are from Tottenham.
Dele Alli, with five goals and four assists, and Christian Eriksen, who has seven goals and four assists, are must-haves in the combined XI – Redmond the only real surprise addition.
Harry Kane, meanwhile, is also a no-brainer in attack. The England striker missed the start of the campaign with injury, but has since hit the ground running and netted nine goals from 15 appearances in all competitions.
Overall, it’s largely a Tottenham core, with eight players from the Premier League’s fifth-placed side. Southampton contribute the remaining three names. However, the two sides are very evenly-matched, and the result on Wednesday is not expected to be so one-sided.
In other Tottenham news, Mauricio Pochettino has had this to say on Hugo Lloris new contract extension.