Notebook - Spurs vs Southampton
Fri 05 August 2022, 18:00|Tottenham Hotspur
This Saturday, Premier League football returns as we host Southampton at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in our season opener (kick-off 3pm).
Ahead of our curtain raiser, here’s all the key facts and notes you need to know ahead of the game…
1 - 76 days away
Having enjoyed such an impressive and memorable end to last season, it might have felt quite a long summer to many fans as we awaited the return of Premier League football.
By the time kick-off comes around against Southampton on Saturday, it will have been 76 days since we fired five past Norwich City on the final day of the 2021/22 season to secure our return to the UEFA Champions League. It was a result that was the icing on the cake to a superb run of results under Antonio Conte as our Italian Head Coach turned around our season following his arrival in early November as guided our return to European football’s elite club competition after two seasons away.
And that run of results included some truly memorable results and performance, including our 3-2 win over eventual champions Manchester City on their own turf in February, as well as a crucial and emphatic 3-0 win over Arsenal at home in May. This season though, Antonio and the squad will be aiming for even greater highs and even greater prizes.
2 - Opening day
When it comes to opening day fixtures, we have tended to enjoy a strong return over the last few seasons. Since 2013/14, we have taken maximum points in six of our nine campaign openers - including last season as we defeated Man City 1-0 back in August - failing to take anything just twice (both narrow 1-0 defeats – away at Manchester United in 2015 and at home to Everton in 2019).
Southampton, on the other hand, are on the longest winless run in terms of opening day matches in England’s top flight. In their eight league campaigns since 2014/15, the Saints have drawn four and lost four of their such matches and, under current manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, they have lost each of their three opening games to date.
3 - Opening against the Saints
Southampton’s winless streak on the opening day continues when you look at just our such meetings. In the history of this fixture, we have faced the south coast side in a campaign opener three times and our opponents on Saturday have failed to win any of those meetings, with us winning two and the other being drawn.
This Saturday, however, will be the first time we have hosted Southampton on the league’s opening day with the first three instances all having come at the Dell – the Saints’ former home. We, though, have a strong record against them on our home turf.
4 - Hosting the Saints
While we have remained unbeaten when facing Southampton on the opening day, we also hold an enviable record when it comes to taking on the Saints at home. Looking at our last 20 home league games against the Saints, we have lost just three times, winning 15 of those meetings with the other two drawn. In total, we have won 17 of our home Premier League matches against Saturday’s opponents – Southampton haven’t lost more away games to any other side in the competition.
5 - Saints’ season finale
Looking back at Southampton’s end to last season, the Saints endured a difficult final few months to the campaign. Having initially struggled in 2021/22 before finding their groove in the early winter and new year, Hasenthuttl’s side then went onto lose nine of their final 12 games, winning just once – that was a 1-0 win over Arsenal - and drawing the other two. That run of form saw them drop from ninth spot in the table in late February to 15th come the final day of the season.
6 - New season, new arrivals
While we kick-start a new season on Saturday afternoon, we could also see some new faces make their competitive debuts for the Club. This summer, we have seen six new players move to north London in Ivan Perisic, Fraser Forster (who arrived from our opening opponents), Yves Bissouma, Richarlison, Clement Lenglet and Djed Spence – while another – Pape Matar Sarr - has linked-up with his new team-mates for the first time since signing for Metz last summer (the Senegal international returned to the French side on loan for the 2021/22 season). All of them – bar Richarlison, who is suspended for this game - could be in with a chance of making their debuts for us this weekend.
7 - New Saints
While we have been busy adding to our squad this summer, there has also been movement on the south coast with six new faces arriving at St Mary’s. So far this window, Southampton have brought in goalkeepers Gavin Bazunu from Manchester City and Mateusz Lis from Tukish side Altay SK while they have bolstered their defence with the arrival of young centre-back Armel Bella-Kotchap from VfL Bochum. In their midfield, Hasenhuttl has added City’s Romeo Lavia and Rangers’ Joe Aribo to their ranks while forward Sekou Mara has joined from Bordeaux.
8 - A traditional kick-off
For the first time in 937 days, we are set to play a Premier League home match at the traditional date and kick-off time of 3pm on a Saturday. Not since our 5-0 win over Burnley in December, 2019, have we lined up at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for such a game. It will also be the first time since the 2001/02 season that we have played at this date and time on the opening day of a campaign – that was a 0-0 draw with Aston Villa.
10 - Carrying on where they left off?
Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane amassed 51 goals between themselves last season, and then added another seven strikes to that tally in pre-season – now they’re looking to keep that red-hot form going as we move in 2022/23. And, against Southampton, they normally make their mark.
In Premier League history, only two players have scored more goals against the Saints than either Harry (11) or Sonny (10) – that is Alan Shearer (14) and Andy Cole (11). Having faced Southampton at home eight times in his career, Son has been involved in nine goals (seven scored, two assisted). Our number 10, meanwhile, has been involved in six goals against the south coast side in his last four such home matches.
10 - Late winners
When facing Southampton, we tend to enjoy scoring late winners. Only against West Ham United have we scored more 90th-minute plus winning goals (four) than we have against the Saints (three). All three of those goals have come at home, the most recent of which was Heung-Min Son’s late penalty against the south coast side in April, 2021, as we enjoyed a 2-1 win.