Southampton condemned Tottenham Hotspur to a limp 1-0 defeat at St. Mary's on Wednesday afternoon, as José Mourinho's defensive woes continued.
Danny Ings broke the deadlock in superb fashion for the hosts, chasing down a long ball before flicking it over his marker's head and drilling a low finish beyond
Spurs were sluggish throughout the game, and they struggled to match the intensity and determination of the relentless Saints. Harry Kane did find the net with a close-range finish, but it was ruled out for offside, and the England striker also appeared to pull his hamstring in the process.
Mourinho's men were limited to very few opportunities, and Southampton held on to clinch a vital three points.
Key Talking Point
Is it time we stop considering Southampton as relegation candidates? Largely thanks to Ings' incredible scoring form, (we'll get onto him later) Saints have become an organised unit with the addition of goals in their side, and Hasenhuttl's men have slowly begun to climb the table. The south coast side and their boss were written off after the 9-0 home hammering by Leicester City earlier in the campaign, but they've kicked on since that moment and grown closer as a squad.
Saints play an exciting brand of football, mixing a direct style with some intricate buildup play, and they love to press from the front. Ings sets the tone for his teammates, chasing every lost cause and loose ball over the top. It's taken a while to fine-tune, but Hasenhuttl has built a team which is incredibly efficient, dynamic and awkward to play against.
Substitutes: Long (7), Obafemi (6), Romeu (N/A).
STAR MAN - Will this man ever stop scoring? Danny Ings is the most in-form man in the Premier League, and he simply cannot put a foot wrong. The former Liverpool man opened the scoring with a delightful goal, chasing down a long ball, and then selling Toby Alderweireld all ends up with a cheeky flick over the head. Faced only by
But goals only tell part of the Ings story. The striker earns his success through his tireless energy, harassing his opposition into making needless mistakes and punishing them accordingly. Few people fancied Saints' survival chances a couple of months ago, but now their supporters can stop looking nervously over their shoulders - mainly thanks to their number nine.
Get building that statue, Southampton.
Key Talking Point
Plenty has been made of Tottenham's defensive woes under Mourinho this season, and all eyes were on the shaky backline against Southampton on Wednesday. How did they get on, I hear you ask? Well, they were absolutely ripped apart inside 18 minutes. A simple lump up field caught out the entire defence, and Ings finished it off excellently, making Alderweireld look very silly in the process.
But Spurs never really settled at St. Mary's, and the movement of Nathan Redmond, Stuart Armstrong and Moussa Djenepo left Jan Vertonghen and co. chasing shadows. Mourinho has always taken great pride in his ability to organise a team, but he looks to have his work cut out with this Tottenham side.
Substitutes: Lo Celso (5), Lamela (5),
STAR MAN - Considering the disappointing showing from the back five, and the rather lethargic midfield display, it is far from easy to pick a stand-out player from this team. But one man worked notably harder than those around him, and as always, that man was Moussa Sissoko. The Frenchman was playing wide right - a position in which he rarely excels.
But he gave his all for his teammates, tracking back regularly and driving his side forward when handed the opportunity. Sissoko is one of the most powerful centre-midfielders in the Premier League, but he is willing to sacrifice his own comfort for the good of his team, and Mourinho will appreciate his commitment more than anyone.
Southampton will take a break from their relegation fears when they host Huddersfield in the FA Cup third round on Saturday afternoon.
Spurs will travel to Middlesbrough in their FA Cup duties on Saturday, as Mourinho looks to bring some much-desired silverware to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Source : 90min