Southampton v Spurs
The final Gameweek 18 fixture in the Premier League sees Southampton host Spurs in what looks on paper to be the best encounter of all the games from Boxing Day to Wednesday.
Spurs will be concerned that all their rivals won on Monday and they will need to be at their very best to get something from St Mary’s.
For Mauricio Pochettino, Vincent Wanyama and Toby Alderweireld it marks a return to their former club and in recent seasons the Argentine has taken some flack from the Southampton crowd.
Southampton improving under Claude Puel
Despite yet more high profile exits in the summer, Southampton continue to impress and outside the top six look one of the best sides in the Premier League.
Saints come into this match in eighth and can leapfrog Everton in seventh with all three points.
Since early December when they lost 3-0 at Crystal Palace and were dumped out the Europa League, Southampton have won two out of three and were impressive last time out at Bournemouth where they won the south-coast derby.
3 games in 5 days for Southampton
Southampton have the hardest Christmas fixture list, in terms of rest in between games as they play next Saturday and Monday.
Tottenham’s fixtures are more evenly spaced out, with games on Wednesday, Saturday and Wednesday.
They head to Watford on Sunday and may rest players there if they win this game, ahead of a crunch clash with runaway Premier League leaders Chelsea.
Southampton team news
Jordy Clasie is definitely out for Southampton due to injury. Jose Fonte was on the bench at Bournemouth but it would be a surprise if he doesn’t start against Spurs with no injury reported.
Southampton beat Arsenal 4-0 on Boxing Day last season in what was one of their best performances of the campaign and St Mary’s will likely be rocking again for this game.
Puel will surely play his strongest team, with Jay Rodriguez starting up front after his two goals at Bournemouth.
Tottenham team news
Erik Lamela remains out for Spurs, due to a hip injury. The Argentine has been sorely missed by Mauricio Pochettino both for his aggression and passing ability in the final third.
Vincent Janssen and Toby Alderweireld return from injury after the 2-1 win over Burnley.
Pochettino has played three at the back in some big games this season – at both Arsenal and Chelsea – and could do so again to maximise the impact of flying full backs Kyle Walker and Danny Rose.
Southampton predicted line-up
Tottenham predicted line-up