Premier League Preview: Tottenham v Southampton
By Football News
Nothing less than a win will do for Tottenham against Southampton if they are to regain control of their destiny in the race for a top-four finish.
Andre Villas-Boas' side trail fourth-placed Arsenal by two points but have a game in hand on their local rivals, which could prove vital as they bid for UEFA Champions League qualification.
Spurs kept their quest on track with a 2-2 draw against Wigan at the DW Stadium last time out, as Emmerson Boyce's late own goal salvaged a point for the visitors. But with Arsenal unbeaten in their last seven league fixtures, Tottenham will surely require three points from a home meeting with mid-table opposition.
Southampton are virtually assured of their Premier League safety having earned 39 points but will be keen to recover from a 3-0 humbling at the hands of West Brom in their last game.
The last meeting between these sides came in October, with Tottenham running out 2-1 winners at St Mary's thanks to goals from Gareth Bale and Clint Dempsey. But Southampton have had a change in manager since that fixture and have lost just four of Mauricio Pochettino's 13 fixtures in charge.
The visitors face the unenviable task of attempting to stop the in-form Bale on Saturday, with the winger boosted following a week in which he was recognised by both his peers and journalists.
The Welshman was named the PFA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year on Sunday, before receiving the Player of the Year award from the Football Writers' Association (FWA) five days later.
On the latter honour, Bale said: "It is a huge honour to receive the Footballer of the Year award from the Football Writers' Association.
"It means a lot to win this award when you consider the number of players that have been outstanding for their clubs in the Barclays Premier League this season.
"I've been very fortunate to be playing in such a fantastic team and I owe a lot to my team-mates and, obviously, the manager who has shown such faith in me.
"This award has been won in the past by some of the greatest names in football and I consider it a privilege that the FWA have selected me to be named alongside them."