It was a rip-roaring post-Christmas encounter from the first whistle to the last, Virgil van Dijk heading the Saints in front after less than 85 seconds on the south coast following a free-kick given away by Victor Wanyama on his return to his former club.
But we turned it around through Dele Alli on 19 minutes and Harry Kane early in the second half – also both with headers – before a crucial moment arrived just before the hour mark.
Nathan Redmond was given his marching orders for hauling back Dele on the counter-attack, giving away a penalty in the process. Kane uncharacteristically missed from 12 yards but we still took full control against the 10 men and never really looked in danger of losing the upper hand.
It was game over on 85 minutes when Christian Eriksen, outstanding in attacking midfield along with Moussa Sissoko and Dele, picked out substitute Heung-Min Son to race ahead and lash home from the left angle.
Yet we were the Christmas gift that kept on giving. Two minutes later, another committed performer in Danny Rose set up Dele to fire across Fraser Forster and complete a fine 4-1 victory – our first on the road since the end of September.
Mauricio Pochettino made one change to the side that battled back to win against Burnley 10 days ago with Sissoko replacing Harry Winks as we returned to the 4-2-3-1 formation. Striker Vincent Janssen marked his comeback following a month out with an ankle injury as a late substitute but defender Toby Alderweireld was once again forced to sit out, this time with a virus.
GOAL: SOUTHAMPTON 1-0 SPURS – VIRGIL VAN DIJK – 2mins
We found ourselves chasing the game virtually straight from the off. Wanyama, who joined us from Southampton in the summer, conceded a free-kick down our right-hand side, James Ward-Prowse swung the set piece in and van Dijk rose highest to nod a simple header past Hugo Lloris. Southampton were happy to keep the pressure on in the opening stages and shortly after another Ward-Prowse free-kick caused problems for Eric Dier, Redmond arrowed a shot just the wrong side of the far post as the home side pushed forward with some neat football.
GOAL: SOUTHAMPTON 1-1 SPURS – DELE ALLI – 19mins
The equaliser arrived on 19 minutes following a first real glimpse of our attacking intentions. After a patient build-up, Mousa Dembele steered the ball out wide left to Sissoko, who lofted a cross into the area for Dele to steal in ahead of van Dijk and crash a header into the top corner.
CHANCE: WANYAMA CLOSE TO FINDING THE NET – 42mins
Our leveller hurt the Saints’ momentum and as the first period wore on we established a firm grip on the game without being able to take the lead. Eriksen’s thumping first-time shot from 18 yards flew over the top but our best chance arrived three minutes before the break. Sissoko, on the right this time, laid the ball into the path of the onrushing Wanyama in the area, he powered through and look set to score – only for the covering Jose Fonte to intervene with a vital block in the six-yard box.
Above: Christian Eriksen celebrates with Harry Kane after our second goal.
GOAL: SOUTHAMPTON 1-2 SPURS – HARRY KANE – 52mins
We continued on the front foot after the restart and just seven minutes into the second period we were ahead. Eriksen floated in a corner after good work by Kyle Walker cutting in from the right, Kane lost his marker and powered a header into the top corner at the near post.
RED CARD: REDMOND GETS HIS MARCHING ORDERS – 57mins
Southampton went down to 10 men on 57 minutes when Redmond was shown a straight red card for hauling back Dele in the penalty area as we broke away following the hosts’ own free-kick. To his credit, Dele stayed on his feet and got a shot away following good work on the counter by Eriksen and Sissoko but referee Mike Dean pulled play back, pointed to the spot and dismissed Redmond.
PENALTY MISSED: KANE WITH A RARE ERROR – 58mins
Kane stepped up to take the penalty conceded by Redmond but, unusually for him, skied his effort high over the bar. We still kept the pressure on, though, as Wanyama forced a save from Forster, Eriksen’s 71st-minute shot cannoned back off the bar and Rose crashed a shot wide from an acute angle on the left.
GOAL: SOUTHAMPTON 1-3 SPURS – HEUNG-MIN SON – 85mins
We made sure of the win by extending our lead five minutes from time. Dier, under pressure, played out from the back to Eriksen, who spotted the run of substitute Son in the left channel. He lifted the ball out towards him, it took a slight deflection off Oriol Romeu but still found the South Korean international and he carried it forward before lashing past Forster and into the net from the left angle.
GOAL: SOUTHAMPTON 1-4 SPURS – DELE ALLI – 87mins
Two minutes later the icing was on the cake as Rose burst through centrally while under pressure before laying the ball in for Dele to finish across Forster from a similar position to Son’s prior goal.
MAURICIO POCHETTINO SAID
“We were disappointed with the start. I think it was a foul against Sissoko but it’s true, we can’t concede a goal how we conceded if we want to fight for big things, it’s important to be more aggressive and focused. After 10 or 15 minutes we started to dominate the game and handle the game and then the performance was fantastic. It was important to equalise in the first half and in the second half we increased the tempo of the game to move the ball quicker. That changed the game and we fully deserved it in the end.”
HARRY KANE SAID
“It’s a difficult place to come. Southampton are a great side and they’ve kept a few clean sheets here so to come here and win 4-1 is a great message to send out to everyone. It was a disappointing start because we all said that Southampton like to start fast here and they did that, but we showed real character, a great finish from Dele to get us back in the game and in the second half we really kicked on, got the second goal early and finished the job off.”
Southampton (4-3-3): Forster, Soares, Fonte (c), Van Dijk, Bertrand; Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Davis (Hojbjerg 72); Redmond, Boufal (Tadic 72), Rodriguez (Long 72). Substitutes (not used): Taylor, Martina, Reed, Yoshida.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Walker, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose; Wanyama, Dembele (Winks 82); Sissoko (Son 74), Eriksen, Dele; Kane (Janssen 89). Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Wimmer, Davies, Nkoudou.
Goals: Southampton – Van Dijk 2; Spurs – Dele 19, 87, Kane 52, Son 85.
Yellow cards: Southampton – Long 90; Spurs – Dembele 15, Walker 55, Rose 60, Vertonghen 90.
Red card: Southampton – Redmond 52.
Referee: Mike Dean.
The games now come thick and fast once again as we head to Watford on New Year’s Day, kick-off 1.30pm. It’ll be just over a year since our last visit to Vicarage Road, when Son’s dramatic late flick gave us a 2-1 victory. It’s the second of two home games over the festive period for the Hornets after they battled back to earn a 1-1 draw against Sam Allardyce’s Crystal Palace on Boxing Day.