COMMENT By Harvey Byrne
A Southampton 4-3-2-1 containing the attacking trio of Shane Long, Sofiane Boufal and Dusan Tadic will smash Tottenham at St Marys Stadium on December 28.
The Saints are preparing to welcome the north London outfit on the back of a convincing 3-1 victory away at Bournemouth.
A Jay Rodriguez double inspired Claude Puel’s men to victory at the Vitality Stadium, but the pace of Long may be better suited against star defenders Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen.
The centre-backs are rarely beaten by opposition forwards, but the work rate and tenacity of Long could be the key to breaking through a usually solid back four.
The Republic of Ireland international has not scored for Southampton this season, but that run is bound to come to an end at some point and with the creativity of Boufal and Tadic alongside him, it can happen against Tottenham.
With just two places separating the sides in the Premier League, here Football Insider has named the Southampton eleven that can put a bad end to Christmas for Spurs.
Fraser Forster has been Southampton’s number one since signing in 2014 and he will be looking to keep his eleventh clean sheet of the campaign against star forward Harry Kane.
He will be helped by star centre-backs Jose Fonte and Virgil van Dijk, who should be able to keep out a Spurs front line that poses little threat apart from Kane.
Meanwhile, the Saints team will welcome back Oriol Romeu after suspension, who has been arguably the side’s best player this season, taking over the defensive midfield position excellently from Victor Wanyama.
They will help to nullify the Spurs front line, while Cedric Soares and Ryan Bertrand will help stop attacking full-backs Danny Rose and Kyle Walker in the wide positions.
Summer appointment Puel also likes to play with three midfielders in the centre of the park and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Steve Davis will do a fine job at maintaining their side keeps hold of possession.
Southampton won their last Boxing Day match 4-0 against Tottenham’s rivals Arsenal and although it’s not on the day, it’s the closest thing.
Additionally, the Saints won the two sides last meeting 2-1 in May and that’s why Puel’s side can thrash Spurs on Wednesday evening.
In other Tottenham news, this is why Spurs should reignite their interest in playmaker in January.