Tottenham were absolutely embarrassing in their opening day defeat to Everton and there is little hope of Jose Mourinho’s side threatening the top four this season.
Their squad, which so recently challenged for the Premier League title in consecutive seasons, now reeks of average. Meanwhile, their manager bears all the signs of a man who football has passed by.
There are question marks over whether Mourinho is still the same manager he was a decade ago and Spurs’ season could quickly become a write off if things don’t change.
Yes, they are set to sign Gareth Bale and Sergio Reguilon, but Reguilon is unproven in the Premier League and there are justifiable doubts as to whether Bale is the same player he was when he departed White Hart Lane in 2013.
In any case, neither man will play in Sunday’s trip to St. Mary’s, which is already a huge game in Spurs’ season.
Tottenham can ill-afford to lose a second game on the bounce and Southampton will be no pushovers.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side need a win of their own after a disappointing opening day loss at Crystal Palace, which was quickly followed by a shock 2-0 home defeat to Championship Brentford in the League Cup.
Southampton were sluggish for the most part in that defeat to Palace and could have conceded several more, but they did have their moments and it took some excellent goalkeeping from Vicente Guaita to keep them out.
They will prove stern opposition for Spurs and can easily hold them on their own patch.
You have to feel for Danny Ings. The English striker was almost certainly guaranteed a place in England’s Euro 2020 squad and now he is likely to miss out on next summer’s competition as Mason Greenwood continues his meteoric rise.
Ings was absolutely sensational last term and will surely be hoping to prove that his most prolific Premier League season wasn’t just a flash in the pan.
He will have to if he wants to nail down a place at Euro 2021.
He scored in both meetings with Tottenham last season and seems to have the measure over an increasingly porous defence.
Spurs travel to the South Coast on the back of a three-day turnaround after playing an unexpectedly gruelling Europa League encounter in Bulgaria.
Jose Mourinho can’t have expected to be pushed to the limit by Lokomotiv Plovdiv in the second round of Europa League qualifying, yet that is exactly what happened.
It took two very late goals and a red card for the tide to turn in the London side’s favour and they may take some time to get to the pace on Sunday afternoon after their European exerts. It is not outside the realms of possibility that Southampton will hit Tottenham with an early blow, while the latter attempts to settle into the fixture.
Spurs went into the break trailing on 13 occasions in the league last season and demonstrated some powers of recovery by going on to win or draw six of those games.
They went in behind against Southampton in their last meeting in February and could do so again on Sunday.
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