Four goals for Son Heung-Min saw Spurs destroy Southampton 5-2 in the Saints’ first game at St Mary’s in the new Premier League season.
Saints, who made two changes from the side beaten by Brentford, started quickly with Djenepo breaking the Spurs defence before shooting wide.
However, it was Tottenham who thought they’d taken the lead first when former Wolves man Matt Doherty headed a cross from Son towards Harry Kane on 3 minutes, but Son was deemed to have been offside and the goal was ruled out by VAR.
Early dominance from Spurs continued in the first ten minutes, but the save of the first half came from Frenchman Hugo Lloris, who tipped over a brilliant shot from Che Adams on the ten minute mark.
Next, it was Southampton’s turn to have a goal disallowed; Danny Ings scored a curled shot into the back of the net as Hugo Lloris failed to deal with the impending threat of the English striker, but the goal was ruled out for a handball from Ings.
Saints came close to eventually breaking the deadlock when Ben Davies made a goal-line clearance from a corner, as Southampton had several attempts to force the ball home from Adams, Djenepo and Ward-Prowse. Just minutes later, Djenepo’s first time strike was powerful but crashed against the post.
Another disallowed goal followed – the game still at 0-0 on the 30 minute mark – as Harry Kane was played through by Lucas Moura to hit the goal home. Unfortunately for Spurs, Moura was offside in the process and still it remained goalless at St Mary’s.
At last Danny Ings gave the hosts the lead: Kyle Walker-Peters – signed from Spurs permanently in the summer – played a simple but effective ball over the top and a brilliant first touch from Danny Ings helps him to bring it across Hugo Lloris and score a great finish into the bottom corner. Finally, we had a goal!
Southampton did have chances to double the lead before half-time, Djenepo and Ings linking up for a chance which was poorly struck by the former.
Spurs did eventually hit back, though, as Harry Kane whipped in an early cross for Son, who fired it in past Alex McCarthy whose poor decision making left him vulnerable in defence.
There was only brief respite with the half-time break as Kane and Son linked up for Spurs’ second goal just minutes after the break. One touch and Son was ready to put a clinical finish in behind the Saints’ defence.
The third came not too long later – and again, as Fantasy Football players were beginning to frantically check if they had put Kane or Son as their captain – it was the English/South Korean partnership which proved its worth. Kane’s chipped through ball played Son through for an easy finish past McCarthy.
Poor defending was a problem for the Saints throughout the game, and they failed to learn from their mistakes at St Mary’s – Kane and Son were playing an incredible game and the former played in a perfect cross for Son to chip McCarthy. Four assists for Kane, four goals for Son, four relatively simple goals that Hassenhuttl’s side could’ve avoided.
Finally, Kane had one of his own on 81 minutes as Lamela – unmarked – received a great ball from Son, and struck the post. Kane was able to follow it up with a simple rebound to round off a superb performance for Jose Mourinho’s side.
Southampton did have a late consolation goal in this thriller on the South Coast, with Matt Doherty’s handball caught by VAR. Ings stepped up and struck a powerful penalty in as a result.
And so the whistle went for full-time – a cracking lunchtime game for any neutral, heartache for those who took Kane or Son out of their Fantasy teams, and smiles all round for Spurs, who, by next Sunday, will have played five games in ten days (and, depending on those results, could be playing three a week for a few weeks yet).
Saints will be desperate for a win against Burnley in their next game on Saturday evening.
Analysis: Saints look unfit, lacking sharpness, and the boss has to turn it around.
For Southampton, the full-time whistle marked the end of a poor week and a half of football. This, a shoddy defensive display, was only a continuation of poor performances against Brentford and Crystal Palace. In the words of Saints boss Hassenhuttl, “there is a lot of work to do”. He went on to say in his post-match interview that the defending was “a disaster” and “was stupid“.
He isn’t wrong about them needing work. Just one pre-season fixture – a 7-1 thumping of Swansea, where all Saints goals were scored in the first 45 minutes – was not enough to get players fit. Meanwhile, Spurs have played both their Premier League fixtures, and a Europa League fixture in the week – their players were more than capable of a good performance today.
What do Saints need? Firstly, they need to have a think about their high defensive line. Too often – indeed, by the same partnership of Kane/Son – this line was breached and it left Alex McCarthy pondering about whether to come for the ball or stay on the line (something which led to some of the goals today). Secondly, they need to get fit. Back on the training ground, working up match fitness, even some intense 11 vs 11 games against each other – something to get the engine running again. At the moment, they look like they’re not even trying to turn the key to get the engine going.
Hassehuttl’s days aren’t numbered yet – but Saints fans will remember poor defensive displays early on in the last campaign, and may just be biting their nails. A few weeks of the transfer window remain – maybe it is time for Hassenhuttl to go fishing in the market.
FT: SOUTHAMPTON 2-5 Tottenham Hotspur (Ings 32′, 90′ (pen)) (Son 45’+2′, 47′, 64′, 73′, Kane 82′)
Southampton: McCarthy, Walker-Peters, Stephens (booked), Bednarek, Bertrand (booked), Armstrong (Tella 68′), Ward-Prowse, Romeu (booked) (Smallbone 55′), Djenepo, Adams (booked) (Long 80′), Ings. Unused Subs: Vestergaard, Obafemi, Vokins, Forster.
Tottenham: Lloris, Doherty (booked), Sánchez, Dier, Davies, Hojberg, Winks, Ndombele (booked) (Lo Celso 45′ (booked)), Lucas Moura (Lamela 61′), Kane (Bergwijn 84′), Son. Unused Subs: Alderweireld, Hart, Sissoko, Aurier.
Wessex Scene Man of the Match: Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur).
Referee: David Coote.