- Saints have best defense in PL, conceding just 24
- Southampton have won three-straight at home
- Tottenham have won their last five-straight PL matches vs. Saints
Southampton host Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary’s on Saturday (Watch live, 7:45 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra) as the race for a top six spot heats up.
As things stand Saints are in seventh on 56 points and Spurs are in sixth on 57 points with five games of the season to go.
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Whoever wins on Saturday will take a huge step towards securing a place in the top six and guaranteeing a spot in next seasons Europa League. Both sides had aspirations of finishing in fourth and clinching the final UEFA Champions League spot but those dreams have all but evaporated after mixed form for both sides in recent weeks. Can Saints have one final push to finish their incredible season on a high? Victory against their old boss Mauricio Pochettino, who left to take over at Spurs last summer, would be sweet but Spurs’ 30-goal man Harry Kane will give the north London side a slight advantage.
In team news Saints could have Toby Alderweireld fit after he recovered from a shoulder injury at Stoke last week but Victor Wanyama is suspended and Filip Djuricic, Fraser Forster and Jay Rodriguez are out injured. Spurs will make a late call on captain Hugo Lloris as their French goalkeeper was injured in the 4-3 win over Leicester City on Mar. 21 but could return at St Mary’s.
What they’re saying
Ronald Koeman on Pochettino’s return: “We fight for a good position on the table to reach European football and that’s the focus and everybody knows that Pochettino was the coach last season. He’s coming back to St Mary’s and that the fans, how the reception will be, okay, we will see that. But our focus has to be to win the game and I’m sure the players have the same feeling.”
Mauricio Pochettino on his emotions: It is an emotional game for me because we spend a year-and-a-half at Southampton and it was a fantastic period for me. We expect a very tough game and Southampton has very good players. They have had a fantastic season so far.
Saints are without their goalkeeper Fraser Forster following his season-ending knee injury but that aside, they will be eager to impress against their old coach Pochettino as he should expect a not so warm welcome, at least from the home fans, when he returns to St Mary’s for the first time since walking away last summer. Spurs just have the edge in the caliber of their attacking players, so I’m going for a 2-1 win. That will hand them a huge boost to finish in the top six ahead of Saints.