I spoke to Southampton fan, Sam Roath ahead of Spurs’ visit to the South Coast on Saturday afternoon in a new series of match previews with opposition fans. Sam is a season ticket holder at St. Mary’s and a big fan of football overall.
1) Sam, what have you thought of Southampton’s campaign as a whole, especially in comparison to last season?
Compared to last season, it’s been poor. We’ve shown glimpses of our quality, with an impressive win over Chelsea being the pick of the bunch. However, we’ve also put in some awful performances, including a 1-0 away loss to FC Midtjylland resulting in our Europa League exit.
2) From an outside perspective, it seems like you’re not playing as well as last year either – is this down to Koeman or just the sheer number of players sold?
I think it’s a bit of both. Koeman’s tactics and team selections have been questionable throughout the season. One such case is his predilection to play Maya Yoshida at right-back over Cédric Soares. Gastón Ramírez is hardly ever included in our Premier League matchday squads, despite proving his worth as an impact substitute on countless occasions throughout his career at Saints. But selling Morgan Schneiderlin and Nathaniel Clyne and missing out on Toby Alderweireld has clearly taken its toll.
3) Who have been your best and worst players this season?
Our best player has been Virgil van Dijk. Worst? Maya Yoshida when he’s played at right-back.
4) What have you made of Pochettino’s Tottenham this season?
They look really, really good. I’ve been very impressed by Dele Alli and Eric Dier. Alli in particular looks a fantastic talent. What I like most about Pochettino is that he’s never afraid to give youngsters a chance, something I’d like to see Koeman do more of.
5) Where do you think Tottenham can get at Southampton and what should we be wary of?
Our right-back Cédric Soares isn’t blessed with pace or strength. He’s struggled against strong, paced wingers; Marko Arnautović being one such case. Soares is, however, a better right-back than Yoshida. Our goalkeeper, Paulo Gazzaniga, isn’t very experienced, and ex-manager Pochettino will know his weaknesses. Tottenham should be wary of a response from Southampton, though. We didn’t get a result at Palace but our performance was okay. If Koeman elects to play Mané in a central position just off Graziano Pellè, then Spurs’ central midfielders and centre-halves will be in for a tough game.
6) Finally, what’s your prediction for the game?
2-1 Spurs win. Both teams haven’t been in the best of form of late, but Spurs will get the 3 points; they’re a better side.