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Spurs aim to win UCL group at Dortmund

Five Aside
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Arsenal aim to winless run vs. Spurs

Five Aside
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 By John Crace

Wanyama impresses vs. former club as Tottenham edge Southampton

Two first-half goals gave Tottenham the edge over a determined Southampton side as the home side recorded a 10th successive league win at White Hart Lane -- a club record in the Premier League era. Spurs took the lead through Christian Eriksen, who scored with a well-directed shot from outside the area, then doubled the advantage when Dele Alli won and converted a soft penalty. It looked as if they would win at a canter but Southampton reduced the deficit through James Ward-Prowse.

Tottenham HotspurTottenham Hotspur
SouthamptonSouthampton
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1
FT
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Positives

If you can't be victorious by playing beautiful football, then winning ugly is the next best thing. Though far from their best and clearly struggling to adapt to the absence of the injured Harry Kane, Spurs still managed to take all three points and strengthen their hold on second place.

Negatives

Spurs surrendered control for much of the second half and made life more difficult than needed by continually surrendering possession unnecessarily. Son Heung-Min does not look comfortable playing as an out-and-out striker so Vincent Janssen may be a better bet until Kane's return.

Manager rating out of 10

6 -- Not for the first time this season, Mauricio Pochettino was slow to react when his game plan wasn't working. Southampton dominated in the second half, yet it wasn't until after the 70th minute that the hosts' manager made his first change. He was also too late to introduce Janssen who, after coming on in the 85th minute and playing as a target man, immediately helped Spurs look more secure.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Hugo Lloris, 6 -- Could do little to prevent Southampton's goal but his distribution throughout the game was shockingly poor and frequently put his own side under pressure. On several occasions, his goal kicks went straight out into touch.

DF Kyle Walker, 6 -- Had few attacking opportunities and was substituted in the second half. It's not clear if he was still suffering the effects of an injury or whether the pace of Southampton's attack made him less inclined to go forward.

DF Toby Alderweireld, 7 -- One horrible error led to Southampton's goal but, otherwise, he was composed and solid against a quick attack. He also went close to scoring his first league goal of the season from an Eriksen corner in the first half.

DF Eric Dier, 7 -- Not at his most secure and, like most of the defence, was wary of the visitors' speed on the break. But made telling interceptions at key moments and played the offside trap to perfection.

DF Jan Vertonghen, 7 -- other than a first-half error that required Alderweireld's presence of mind to nullify, Vertonghen was a strong presence in the back three. Though Southampton frequently threatened, he never allowed them clear-cut chances.

DF Ben Davies, 7 -- The most improved player in the side, Davies is beginning to look the real deal at left-back. He may not have the pace of Danny Rose, who will certainly reclaim his place when he returns from injury, but Davies' positional sense is much improved and visiting sides no longer see him as a weak link.

Playing against his former club, Victor Wanyama, left, impressed for Tottenham.

MF Victor Wanyama, 8 -- Man of the match. If not at his very best, Wanyama was nonetheless at the heart of the defensive midfield, snuffing out danger. And, when he did lose the ball, he invariably won it straight back.

MF Mousa Dembele, 7 -- As so often, he looked a class apart when on the ball and his ability to glide past players makes him a force to be reckoned with. But why won't he shoot? Time and again Dembele opens up defences only to pass the ball to a teammate in a worse position.

MF Christian Eriksen, 7 -- A powerful, creative force throughout the first half, in which he looked close to his best form. Almost set up Son in the opening minutes before giving Spurs the lead with a left-foot drive. Became less effective in the second period as he visibly tired.

MF Dele Alli, 7 -- A slightly frustrating performance. Some nice touches and a well-taken penalty were the highlights, but he wasn't as fluent as usual. That's probably because, with Kane injured, he didn't get as much space as he is used to.

FW Son Heung-Min, 5 -- Briefly threatened early on but it rapidly became clear his game is not suited to being a target man. Didn't win any one-on-one clashes with Southampton defenders and failed to hold up play to allow midfielders to join the attack.

Substitutes

MF Harry Winks, NR -- Did well when he came on, giving Spurs a fresh pair of legs to take the attack to the visitors. Also defended deep when required.

DF Kieran Trippier, NR -- Had as little joy in getting behind the Southampton defence as did Walker. Gave the ball away too often in midfield but stuck well to his defensive duties.

FW Vincent Janssen, NR -- A real impact sub, he ran at defenders, held the ball up and was pivotal in pegging Southampton in their own half for much of the last 10 minutes. Could we at last be seeing his best?

John Crace is one of ESPN FC's Tottenham bloggers. Follow him on Twitter @JohnJCrace.

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