Spurs won't sin against Saints

  • By: Dave TIckner and Andy Schooler
  • Last Updated: March 23 2014, 13:59 GMT

Tottenham's struggles have been against the big guns but they can bounce back to winning ways in the Premier League on Sunday.

Sherwood's Spurs have been adept at beating the lesser sides
Sherwood's Spurs have been adept at beating the lesser sides

Our Dave Tickner feels Spurs have enough to see off Southampton, while Andy Schooler looks at the other game - Aston Villa v Stoke - which makes up this weekend's 'Super Sunday'.

Check out our match-by-match preview of the action:

Tottenham v Southampton (1330 GMT)

There's been an overreaction to Tottenham's recent struggles. A 2-2 draw at Benfica saw them crash out of the Europa League but at least snap a three-match losing streak. Much has been made of this poor run but, in truth, Spurs have been operating below their potential for a long time. The four-match winless sequence owes more to an increase in the calibre of opposition - they faced Benfica twice, Chelsea and Arsenal - than a dramatic drop-off in Spurs' levels. Indeed the performance against Arsenal and the dramatic if futile last 15 minutes at Estadio da Luz were among the more encouraging of their recent efforts. That Spurs remain fifth in the table is down to their ability to grind out results against the division's also-rans. Which effectively means everyone outside the top four. The statistics are startling; Spurs have taken one point from seven games against the current top four. The six defeats against the elite include 4-0, 5-0, 5-1 and 6-1 hammerings. Against the rest, it's a different story. Spurs have won 16 and lost only three of 23 matches against the other 15 teams in the division. They have kept 12 clean sheets in those 23. Southampton, meanwhile, have won only one and lost seven of their 12 matches against teams in the top half this season. It all means odds-against quotes for Spurs are more than acceptable; Spurs have won seven of their 11 home games against those outside the Champions League spots. For a bigger price, back Spurs to win 1-0. Spurs have so often done just enough this season, with six of their 16 wins and four of their seven at home coming by virtue of the only goal.

Verdict: Tottenham 1 Southampton 0 (DT)

Opta stats:

Tottenham have won four of the last five Premier League meetings with the Saints, including the last three in a row.

Southampton have won three of their last four Barclays Premier League away games, keeping clean sheets in all those victories.

Tottenham are the only Premier League side yet to score in the opening 15 minutes of a Premier League match this season.

Spurs have kept four clean sheets in their last six Premier League home matches with only Man City and Arsenal breaching their defences in that run.

Aston Villa v Stoke (1600)

Credit where credit's due. We've banged on long and hard about Aston Villa's poor home form in recent years and justifiably so. But having beaten leaders Chelsea last weekend, Paul Lambert's men come into this contest seeking a third consecutive home victory for the first time since 2007. Given Stoke's awful away record - another long-standing problem which stretches back years - they should be confident of claiming it. The Potters have won once on the road all season, are winless in their last 13 on their travels and have failed to score in six of their last nine away matches. Given Villa have found some sort of form, especially on home soil where as well as having seen off Chelsea they've put four past both Norwich and West Brom in recent games, you have to edge towards a home win. Christian Benteke has rediscovered his scoring touch, while Fabian Delph's improvement was highlighted by last week's winner. The problem is the odds are pretty short - the hosts are no bigger than 6/5. The question a punter has to ask is do you trust Villa that much? Is their home improvement just a blip on what has been a long, deep trough? I'm not prepared to back them at such a price yet I'm afraid, even though I do feel they are the more likely winners.

Verdict: Aston Villa 2 Stoke 0 (AS)

Opta stats:

Aston Villa have won only one of their last eight Barclays Premier League games against Stoke, but five of the games have been draws in that run.

Four of the five Premier League games between these two sides at Villa Park have ended as draws with one 1-0 win for the home side.

Aston Villa have conceded the most in total (8) and the highest proportion (21%) of goals in the opening 15 minutes of PL matches this season.

Stoke have lost just one of their last seven Premier League matches (W3 D3 L1) and that was away at Manchester City.


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