Tottenham visit Southampton in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday and it's the first meeting in the Cup competition for the first time in 25 years for both sides. And if the match is anything like it was back then, it's going to be a cracker.
Tottenham have had a tough start to 2020 having lost 1-0 to the Saints on New Years Day, and Jose Mourinho will be looking for redemption. Spurs have secured just two wins until now, one of them coming against Championship side Middlesbrough in the FA Cup third-round replay after they were initially held to a 1-1 draw.
Southampton, meanwhile, have won five of their last seven matches in all competitions, with their most recent victory coming against Crystal Palace in midweek in the Premier League. Southampton secured a comfortable 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town in the last round of their FA Cup campaign. And given Tottenham’s struggles, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men will be confident of their chances of causing an upset.
Here are 3 things to look forward to as Tottenham travel to Southampton in the FA Cup fourth round.
3. Major changes expected for both sides
Mourinho rued his side's luck after losing Harry Winks to injury in the win over Norwich, a game that saw skipper Hugo Lloris make his long-awaited return from injury. Moussa Sissoko, Ben Davies, and Danny Rose join Harry Kane on the sidelines. Gedson Fernandes is poised to make his full debut and could partner Tanguy Ndombele in the double-pivot. Ryan Sessegnon could be awarded a more attacking role this weekend, at the expense of Son Heung-Min, who is tipped to receive a breather.
For Southampton, Hasenhuttl has confirmed that Cedric Soares has been ruled out for three weeks after picking up an injury against Palace. Jannik Vestergaard who also picked up a knock midweek joins Yan Valery and Soares on the sidelines. Maya Yoshida is expected to make his return to the starting lineup and James Ward-Prowse is tipped to retain his place in central midfield, though this time he could be partnered by Oriol Romeu.
2. Can the Saints spring a surprise?
After seeing off Middlesbrough at the second attempt in round three, winning 2-1 in North London following a 1-1 draw in the initial tie, the Lilywhites have been handed a tricky fourth-round tie. Only Liverpool and Manchester City are in better Premier League form than Southampton, who returned to winning ways in midweek with a 2-0 victory at Crystal Palace.
Whereas relegation was once a serious possibility, Ralph Hasenhuttl has transformed his side's fortunes and momentum is very much on their side heading into this all-Premier League affair. In fact, Southampton were deserved 1-0 winners when these two sides met in the league a few weeks ago thanks to an impressive Danny Ings strike. Southampton enter the game off the back of a strong run of form which has seen them rise into the top half of the table, and the south coast side now sit just three points of Manchester United in sixth place.
1. Mourinho's position in question
So far, the self-proclaimed "Special One" has failed to create any sort of positive impact since being appointed at Tottenham as his side sit sixth with just two wins in their last five matches. Spurs have lost their last two away matches against Southampton, losing in the Premier League in March 2019 and January 2020. Mourinho has a lot of questions that need answering and he needs results.
In his entire managerial career, the Spurs boss has only lost two games against an opponent in the same calendar month once previously, losing two Champions League games against Real Madrid in February 2002 as FC Porto manager.
3 things to look forward to as Tottenham travel to Southampton in the FA Cup fourth round.