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Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur – 22nd December 2013

Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur – 22nd December 2013


Emmanuel Adebayor scored his first two league goals of the season to help managerless Tottenham beat Southampton.

Spurs, who had Tim Sherwood in temporary charge after sacking Andre Villas-Boas on Monday, fell behind to Adam Lallana’s early 25-yard strike.

Adebayor’s close-range volley made it 1-1 and an unfortunate own goal from Jos Hooiveld put the visitors ahead.

‘Excellent’ Spurs delight Sherwood

But Saints striker Rickie Lambert levelled after fine play from Lallana, before Adebayor curled in the winner.

He had only made one substitute appearance in the Premier League this season under Villas-Boas but was the match-winner at St Mary’s Stadium.

The defeat means Southampton, who were third at the start of November, have now failed to win in six games, their joint worst run since Mauricio Pochettino became manager in January.

However, the result also boosted Sherwood’s hopes of getting the Tottenham manager’s job on a long-term basis, after he had made clear his interest in replacing Villas-Boas earlier in the week.

If Sherwood does get the job, then on this evidence Spurs fans can expect a great deal of excitement and attacking play.

Tottenham made six changes to the side that lost 5-0 to Liverpool in their last Premier League game, a result that led to Villas-Boas’s departure the following day.

“It was Tim Sherwood’s first match in caretaker charge and what a much-needed win that was for Tottenham after a troubled week.

“Emmanuel Adebayor, brought back in, rewarded Sherwood’s faith with two goals, but Southampton are now without a win in six matches.”

Sherwood, who took charge for the 2-1 League Cup defeat at home to West Ham on Wednesday, picked an attacking line-up that included no recognised defensive midfielder.

And that lack of cover proved costly as his side fell behind after less than quarter of an hour.

Southampton’s Danny Fox passed to Lallana and the England midfielder was allowed time to turn, run at goal and shoot low past visiting goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

That prompted Sherwood to race down from the stands and watch the match from the touchline after starting the game in the directors’ box.

Before the match the Spurs interim coach had said his side would face no problems if they kept hold of the ball, but the hosts nearly doubled their lead after Danny Rose lost possession to Lambert.

He passed to Lallana, who released Jay Rodriguez but the striker’s curled finish went narrowly over.

Two minutes later Sherwood’s side were level as Adebayor stretched to volley in Roberto Soldado’s excellent cross from the left wing for his first league goal since 12 May.

And Spurs then went ahead in fortunate circumstances early in the second half through an own goal from Saints centre-half Hooiveld.

Christian Eriksen played the ball to Rose and his pull-back was prodded into the net by the Dutch defender, the ball squirming underneath goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga.

But the visitors’ lead only lasted five minutes as Spurs conceded the 18th goal in their last seven league matches. Lallana raced through and pulled the ball back to Lambert, who had the simple task of finding an empty net with Lloris stranded.

Before this game, only five teams had scored fewer league goals than Tottenham, but they got their third of the afternoon as Adebayor capitalised on some indecisive Southampton defending from a throw-in, which enabled the Togo striker to curl the ball past Gazzaniga.

Soldado missed two further chances to make the win secure, but Spurs had done enough to clinch a thrilling victory.

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino said:

“At 1-0 we had the game under control and we could’ve gone 2-0 ahead but we conceded and practically gifted them a goal.

“In the second half we dressed up as Santa Claus and gave them many presents. We made many mistakes and when you make these mistakes, you are punished. We are obviously very angry.

“At the beginning of the second half we were controlling the game but we conceded the second goal and it was hard to get back in the game, we were risking a lot.

“We just have to keep on working as a team. Before we had a run of seven games winning, and were looking up, now we are on the wrong side and the only thing we can do is keep working.”

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