Tot­ten­ham run­ning on empty as Davis double puts sec­ond place at risk

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - PREMIERE LEAGUE - By Matt Law at White Hart Lane

Tot­ten­ham failed to turn up to what should have been their own end-of-sea­son party to leave the threat of yet again fin­ish­ing be­low Arse­nal still hang­ing over them.

Hav­ing watched Andrea Bo­celli ser­e­nade the King Power Sta­dium the pre­vi­ous day ahead of Le­ices­ter City be­ing pre­sented with the Premier League tro­phy, Spurs fans saw their cel­e­bra­tion plans fall flat.

The ti­tle may have gone and there was no need to put a call into Chas and Dave, but Tot­ten­ham had still been hop­ing to see off the sea­son at home in style. Lesser-spot­ted owner Joe Lewis had even turned up, no doubt ex­pect­ing to wit­ness the win that would have con­firmed Tot­ten­ham’s first fin­ish above Arse­nal since 1995.

Yet two goals from Southamp­ton mid­fielder Steven Davis meant that Lewis and the Spurs fans left the ground wait­ing to find out if Arse­nal would man­age to take the duel be­tween the clubs into the fi­nal day of the sea­son. Arse­nal’s draw against Manch­ester City means Tot­ten­ham, thanks to their su­pe­rior goal dif­fer­ence, need a point at New­cas­tle United on Sun­day to be sure of fin­ish­ing as Lon­don’s top team.

Miss­ing both the sus­pended Dele Alli and Mousa Dem­bélé, Spurs lacked their nor­mal drive and creativity. Head coach Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino was not even his en­er­getic self on the touch­line, as a groin in­jury suf­fered in train­ing meant he had to re­main in his seat.

Po­chet­tino may have claimed that he did not care about Arse­nal or par­tic­u­larly rate fin­ish­ing above them as an achieve­ment, but Lewis, chair­man Daniel Levy and the Tot­ten­ham fans cer­tainly do. They have not known a sea­son like this since the 1960s, How­ever, Spurs are now limp­ing across the line when they re­ally should have mo­tored across it some time ago.

Against Southamp­ton, Tot­ten­ham ran out of ideas and en­ergy af­ter a bright open­ing 25 min­utes in which the party at­mos­phere was in full swing. Chris­tian Erik­sen forced the vis­i­tors’ goal­keeper Fraser Forster into a good save low down to his left in just the fifth minute from a Danny Rose cross. But Forster did not do so well 11 min­utes later, as Tot­ten­ham took the lead through Son He­ung-min.

Erik Lamela’s pass looked as though it was aimed to­wards Harry Kane, who would have been off­side. But the Eng­land striker made no at­tempt to get the ball and Son caught out the Southamp­ton de­fence to reach it. Still faced with a lot to do to get a proper sight of goal, Son man­aged to slalom his way around Forster, Vir­gil van Dijk and José Fonte be­fore put­ting the ball into the net.

The goal looked as though it might be the start of an end-of-sea- son knees-up, as Kane then di­verted a Kyle Walker cross just over the bar and the fans belted out all their favourite chants. But Spurs switched off for the fi­nal 20 min­utes of the first half, al­low­ing Southamp­ton back into the game, and never prop­erly got go­ing again.

Rose cut out a Ryan Ber­trand cross, which was beg­ging to be con­verted, and there were protests from the Spurs bench that ref­eree Jon Moss should have stopped the game when the Southamp­ton full­back left Kyle Walker on the ground fol­low­ing an aerial clash.

Moss al­lowed the game to con­tinue, how­ever. Du­san Tadic played the ball into the box and Davis man­aged to squeeze his shot past goal­keeper Hugo Lloris to equalise.

Forster stopped Kane restor­ing Tot­ten­ham’s lead on the stroke of half-time and Po­chet­tino was clearly un­happy as he headed down the tun­nel for the break.

Dem­bélé’s ban meant that Ryan Ma­son had been handed a start, but his most mean­ing­ful con­tri­bu­tion was to get in the way of a goal­bound shot from Erik­sen. He was later sub­sti­tuted.

Davis was far more in­flu­en­tial for the vis­i­tors and the North­ern Ir­ish­man put Southamp­ton ahead with his sec­ond goal af­ter again link­ing with Tadic. This time, with 18 min­utes re­main­ing, Davis played a onetwo with Tadic in the Tot­ten­ham penalty area and per­fectly placed a shot past Lloris.

Tot­ten­ham had a late chance to se­cure a draw but sub­sti­tute Nacer Chadli’s shot can­noned back off the leg of Forster, and Lewis and Levy were left to head back to the di­rec­tors’ lounge to keep an eye on the Arse­nal score.

Spurs spin­ner: Hugo Lloris goes fly­ing as he at­tempts an un­ortho­dox save

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