After an incident-packed week, Spurs return to on-field action as they welcome Southampton
After one of the most disruptive weeks in the club’s history, Tottenham Hotspur must focus on footballing matters on Wednesday night, as they welcome Southampton to North London without a permanent manager.
The past week has seen Spurs lose ground in the Champions League race, attempt to join a European Super League, sack Jose Mourinho, appoint Ryan Mason as interim manager, and then quit the Super League after a massive fan backlash. Quite a week.
So much has been made of off-pitch events that barely anyone had time to digest that Mourinho had been sent packing by Daniel Levy, who may also face an uncertain future after his Super League shambles collapsed before his eyes. If the decision to fire Mourinho was linked with the cash influx they were about to receive from the new league, then this may go down as one of Levy’s worst financial decisions ever.
Back to matters on the pitch though, and the visit of Southampton will see Ryan Mason’s career take yet another unexpected turn. The 29-year-old has been part of Spurs’ coaching setup since being forced to retire after a fractured skull ended his playing career back in 2017, while playing for Hull City.
Mason spent 17 years at White Hart Lane, joining the club at the age of eight before rising through the ranks and playing 70 times for his boyhood side. Fans will be hoping his passion for the club can bring a more positive style to the current side, which has lacked attacking prowess recently.
Harry Kane scored twice against Everton last week, but the result masked an awful performance from Spurs, who were outplayed in large spells by the Toffees. Only two defensive errors allowed the predator-like Kane to strike twice and rescue a point, which keeps them in the hunt for the top six.
Kane has been struggling with an ankle knock picked up in that game though, and is a major doubt. Matt Doherty could return after missing the last four games, but fellow full-back Ben Davies is still missing.
As for Southampton, Ralph Hassenhuttl has no new injury worries, with Will Smallbone, Oriol Romeu and Michael Obafemi all out still.
The Austrian boss has also said this week that almost all of the planning for this game went out of the window when Mourinho was sacked, and is preparing for something new from Mason and fellow interim coach Chris Powell.
The last time the sides met, Spurs ran out 5-2 winners at St Mary’s, but it sparked a dramatic upturn in form from the Saints, who topped the Premier League seven weeks later.
It’s perhaps fitting of such a crazy season that both these sides have at one point topped the table, but find themselves looking for improvement before the end of the season.
If Spurs take three points, they’ll go above Liverpool into sixth in the table, and have momentum going into Sunday’s Carabao Cup final with Manchester City. If Saints can exact their revenge for their defeat last time, they’ll leapfrog Crystal Palace into 13th and all but confirm Premier League safety for next season.
Spurs take on Southampton at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Wednesday, April 21st. Kick-off is at 6pm.