Southampton will be the happier side having gained a deserved point against a toothless Tottenham Hotspur in a 1-1 draw at a rainy St Mary’s Stadium.
Both goals came in a three minute spell in the first half, Harry Kane equalising for Spurs in the 18th minute after Davinson Sanchez had scored an own goal to put the Saints ahead.
There was no doubt that Spurs came into this game as heavy favourites. The Lilywhites were unbeaten in five Premier League games, while the Saints were a team in woeful form, having not won in the Premier League since 26th November against Everton.
The big team news for Southampton was the return of out-of-form striker Manolo Gabbiadini to the first 11, his first start in five Premier League games. For Spurs, meanwhile, Hugo Lloris and Christian Eriksen missed out through illness, with Michel Vorm and Moussa Sissoko their replacements.
Southampton started this match looking surprisingly full of confidence given their form, dominating possession in the early stages, and they were rewarded in the 15th minute when they took the lead. Ryan Bertrand burst down the left wing and drilled in a low, dangerous looking cross, which the unfortunate Davinson Sanchez put into his own net for Spurs having slid in to try to block the danger.
Spurs went straight back on the attack, and Eric Dier hit the Saints’ post just minutes later with a snapshot. Not long afterwards Ben Davies swung in a corner, and that man yet again Harry Kane rose highest to power in a header to bring Spurs level. Southampton’s lead had lasted just three minutes and 15 seconds.
Both teams missed good chances to take the lead before the break. First Sissoko was unable to direct Davies’ powerful cross on target for Spurs, and then Jack Stephens should have done a lot better with a header from a brilliant James Ward-Prowse free kick which he put wide.
After half time not much changed, with both teams cancelling each other out. Dele Alli came close in the 64th minute when he flashed a shot just wide of the post.
Southampton boss Mauricio Pellegrino decided to throw on Sofiane Boufal not long afterwards in order to give his side a bit of spark, and a few minutes later his fellow Argentinean Mauricio Pochettino did the same by bringing on Erik Lamela for the ineffective Son Heung-min.
On 83 minutes Stephens made a crucial block to deny Lamela after a slick Spurs passing move, and then 17-year-old Southampton debutant Michael Obafemi, who had come off the bench, missed his chance to make a dream start to his Saints’ career when he mistimed his shot from a low cross from Boufal.
In the last minute of normal time Harry Kane uncharacteristically dragged a shot wide from just outside the six yard box, missing what was probably Tottenham’s best chance of the second half, and in the end his side had to settle for a share of the spoils.
The point and performance will give hope to Southampton, who are now just one point off safety in 18th place. Spurs, meanwhile, seemed to miss the creativity of Eriksen, and could find themselves five points off 4th place if Liverpool manage to overcome Swansea City on Monday night.