Spurs keep up Chelsea chase and pull away from Arsenal
No St Totteringham's Day this year with Mauricio Pochettino's team nine points clear of their local rivals
Tottenham 2 Southampton
Tottenham kept alive their slim hopes of catching Chelsea with a 2-1 win over Southampton on Sunday. The victory, their tenth successive league win at White Hart Lane, is their longest such run since October 1987 and leaves them ten points behind the Blues with ten matches remaining.
What was all the more pleasing from a Spurs perspective was that the win was accomplished without the injured Harry Kane, only the fourth time in nine top-flight matches this season that they have won without their star striker.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino deployed Son Heung-Min as his lone forward, using Dele Alli in a supporting role, and the 20-year-old fulfilled his task with aplomb, scoring Spurs' second from the penalty spot for what were a precious three points.
"Dele Alli can always surprise you," said Pochettino, when asked if he'd expected Alli to play so well. "He has an unbelievable personality and character. It's all possible with him. He's a player that is playing in his best position... he looks like a striker, because he's more than clever. He's very smart. Outside the box, he plays like a midfielder. I saw him at 17-years-old for MK Dons playing as a holding midfielder against Manchester United and he can always surprise."
Christian Eriksen opened Tottenham's account on 13 minutes with a powerful low drive that beat Fraser Forster, and Alli made it 2-0 on 33 minutes after he had been impeded in the penalty area by Steven Davis.
It was Alli's 17th goal of the season and Spurs had hoped to see more in the second half, but the Saints fought their way back into the game after a tepid first 45, with James Ward-Prowse pulling a goal back.
That was all the visitors managed, however, as Spurs closed out the game and then had the added satisfaction of seeing Manchester City held 1-1 at home by Liverpool in the evening fixture, a result that leaves the Sky Blues in third, two points behind the north London side and one clear of the Reds. Manchester United, who won away at Middlesbrough, are fifth, with Arsenal in sixth after their defeat at West Bromwich.
Arsenal now trail Spurs by nine points so barring a dramatic reversal in fortunes in the final few weeks of the season Tottenham will finish above the Gunners in the Premier League for the first time since 1994-95.
"[The scenario of finishing above Arsenal] creates speculation for the media but the aim for us is always to win the next game," said Pochettino, who described his team's performance as "fantastic".
The win sends Spurs into the international break in high spirits before the squad reconvenes to play Burnley and Swansea away in the space of five days in April. "It is another victory, we keep our position second and we have reason to be happy," said Pochettino. Asked what his objective now was, he replied: "The aim is the next game. We have ten days without our players we hope nothing happens and all will arrive in good position."