Tottenham v Southampton
Sunday March 19 14:15
Live on Sky Sports 1
Some Spurs fans will be wondering if it was absolutely necessary to have started Harry Kane in a plum home tie in the FA Cup against Millwall. Yes, we all have 20/20 vision in hindsight but it may have been a good opportunity to have given the low-on-confidence Vincent Janssen a game or Mauricio Pochettino could have played Heung-Min Son up top instead and given Kane a day off. The result of course is that Pochettino has now lost star man Kane for approximately six weeks. Son is favourite to deputise for Kane which could well mean a recall to the starting line-up for Moussa Sissoko somewhere in midfield.
Danny Rose is definitely out, as is Erik Lamela. Kyle Walker and Victor Wanyama are slight doubts but they should both be fine to play.
Besides, it's not all bad. Tottenham are second in the league on 56 points and considering fourth-placed Liverpool (55 points) have played a match more than them, a Top Three finish is looking almost a certainty.
Claude Puel arrived at the club sort of under the radar and has done a fine job. Some will say they were pretty unlucky not to have won the Capital One Cup and their current league position- 10th place- is about par for the course.
They've won their last two matches, remarkably scoring four in each of those.
They look a much better side with Manolo Gabbiadini in the team. Opta tell us he could be about to make a little bit of history if he scores here. Only two other players- Mick Quinn and Diego Costa- have managed to score in their first four Premier League games. Add to the equation his two goals in the Cup final and scoring in each of his last three for Napoli before leaving and that's now nine in his last seven.
The excellent Virgil van Dijk is still out, as is Charlie Austin.
[1.74] look a little on the shortish side for a team who will have to learn how to live without their go-to man. Not only is Kane their main source of goals but his build-up play and strength make it easy for the likes of Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen to play off him. Son is a fine player but has very different characteristics whereas Janssen is unlikely to be risked in a match like this given how little game time he's had of late.
The Saints deserve respect for the fight they put up in the Cup final and their last two wins in the league but then again as Opta tell us, Pochettino has done well against his former club (W3, D1, L1) and the Lillywhites tend to do the business at home. So tempting though it is, we'll resist laying the hosts.
If you think this match will have goals, here are a few of the players you should consider on your shortlist.
The impressive Dele Alli (around the [2.5] mark) has three goals in just two matches against the Saints and Christian Eriksen (3.4) also enjoys playing Southampton when it's at home; he has three in three at White Hart Lane against them.
At a similar price you can also back the red-hot Gabbiadini. He's obviously taken to English football like a duck to water and is in the form of his life. He can expect some decent supply, too. Dusan Tadic has good days and bad days but is fresh from coming up with two assists last time out against Watford whereas Nathan Redmond and James Ward-Prowse are also good men to have at your side in terms of creating chances. The Italian just can't be ignored given his goalscoring run and has to be our first bet of the match.
If you want to go with over 2.5 goals at around [2.0] then that's a perfectly good bet but we can probably go one better with over 1.5 first-half goals at a far bigger 17/10 on the Betfair Sportsbook.
That would have paid out in all of Southampton's last four matches and three of Tottenham's last four. The stats suggest there's certainly some value in that price.
Andrew Marriner averages 3.86 yellows a match and has shown six reds from 29 games this season though three of those were in the same Europa League match. The way both teams play, he's unlikely to have to resort to his cards too much on Sunday.
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Jamie's P/L 2016/17
P/L: +1.6 pts