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INSIDE INFO: A Tottenham fan speaks ahead of their trip to Southampton

We get the lowdown from Spurs blog Cartilage Free Captain as Mauricio Pochettino returns St. Mary's.

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Former Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino will be looking to get one over his old club as Tottenham make the trip down south to St. Mary's.

Spurs defender Toby Alderweireld also impressed at Southampton last season, helping the club to a record Premier League points haul and club-high seventh place in the 2014-15 season.

To get a Tottenham take on Saturday, we spoke to Dustin Menno of Spurs blog Cartilage Free Captain.


St. Mary's Musings: What were your expectations before the season started and how do they compare to what's happened so far in 2015-16?

Cartilage Free Captain: I think most Spurs fans had reasonable expectations for Tottenham based on what we saw from Mauricio Pochettino last season and the somewhat modest transfer moves he made this summer. We were a side with some major questions and some major problems last season, so I think most fans would have been content with a 5th or 6th place finish, so long as the football itself improved overall.

This season, we've been extremely pleased with the way the season has gone thus far. A lot of draws, but only two losses in December, and Spurs are not only in the mix for fourth place, but have the chance to maybe even finish higher. That feels pretty good.

SMM: What is the general feeling about Mauricio Pochettino over a season into his tenure?

CFC: The jury was out on Poche after last season, but I think most supporters are on board with the Pochettino overhaul. The football has been much, much better, and you can tell that the players are finally getting Poche's system.

That, combined with Poche's willingness to promote and actually use youth planers, is a very positive sign. The future looks bright, and Poche's tactics and overall mentality are starting to show on the pitch.

SMM: Can we please have Toby Alderweireld back? Please?

CFC: No, he's ours. G'way. Besides, he was never really yours to begin with, right? In all seriousness, Toby has been outstanding for us this season. He's not only probably Spurs' best signing of the summer, but has pretty quickly turned into Spurs' best defender. And that's including Jan Vertonghen. We're pretty tickled with our new Belgian, thanks.

SMM: Southampton are yet to have beaten Spurs since gaining promotion. What do you put this down to?

CFC: Luck? I'm not sure. Southampton have had a number of good sides the past couple of years, though they seem to have trailed off slightly this season. But, considering that Spurs can't seem to beat Newcastle, it's funny that they have yet to lose to what has turned out to be a very solid Southampton team in recent years. I'm not complaining! But I'm not sure there's any sort of tactical answer here.

SMM: What has been the best moment of your season so far?

CFC: Beating Manchester City 4-1 at home was pretty fun, as I think most of us expected to lose that match pretty handily. Also, the 15 match unbeaten streak was exciting. Sure, there were a lot of draws mixed in there, but I don't think any of us expected anything like that to happen at the beginning of the season.

SMM: How have your summer signings fared since making the move to North London?

CFC: We've already talked about Toby, but another summer signing that has made a pretty big impact is Son Heung-Min. Truthfully, I wanted Spurs to sign Sonny back when he was at Hamburg, so I was pretty darned excited that Spurs could land someone of his caliber, especially after the failure to sign Saido Berahino.

He's been a little hampered by injuries this season, but he's an outstanding player and I think he'll be a huge contributor to Spurs in the future.

Most of our other signings were for the future: Kevin Wimmer is a hulking reserve CB, and Clinton N'Jie is a young winger with lots of pace and even more potential, but he's still pretty raw.

SMM: Do Spurs need to invest in the January? If so, what areas need addressing?

CFC: This is an open question. I think Spurs would benefit from a solid reserve striker to back up Harry Kane, certainly. I would also like to see a rotation defensive midfielder, since we seem to be driving Eric Dier into the ground. But Poche has made it clear that he's not going to buy for the sake of buying.

Spurs typically don't do a whole lot of business in the transfer window, and I'd expect that to continue. If anything, I'd expect more outgoing moves, either sales or loans, than incoming.

SMM: Who should Saints fans be wary of on Saturday afternoon?

CFC: Harry Kane is the obvious answer, but Kane can be nullified somewhat by clubs that park the bus or man-mark him into oblivion. So instead I'm going to go with Erik Lamela. He's really come into his own this season after a rough start to life in North London, but the past couple of matches he's really shown signs that he's maturing as a player. He certainly has the ability to get open for shots, and he's fantastic in Spurs' press.

Another player to keep an eye on is Moussa Dembele. Spurs' midfield has been highly reliant on Dembele this season to control the midfield. He's wicked strong and is a fantastic addition to the midfield press. He's just now coming back from injury, and if he's not ready to go then Spurs' midfield is weaker than it might otherwise be and could be exploited.

SMM: If you could sell any Spurs player from your regular starting XI, who would it be and why?

CFC: Tough one. I'd probably go with Danny Rose. I like Danny a lot and he's improved a great deal, but he's not a particularly accomplished crosser of the ball, and he has the ability to completely switch off defensively from time to time. Good fullbacks are hard to find, but left back is an area that I think we could upgrade.

SMM: If you could sign any Saints player, who would it be and why?

CFC: I'm a big fan of Sadio Mane. Pochettino is the kind of manager who loves to play wingers that cut in from the outside and has the ability to play along the attacking band. Mane has that quality, and I love the energy he brings to Southampton.

That said, Spurs are pretty stacked with attacking midfielders, so as a practical answer I'd say Victor Wanyama as he would help fulfill a need for another defensive midfielder.

SMM: Finally, what is your prediction for the game on Saturday?

CFC: St. Mary's is a scary place to play if you're a visiting EPL club. I'm not especially looking forward to this match, especially since Spurs are on a bit of a downturn in form the past few weeks.

That said, I think this is a match that Spurs probably should win, though I'm going to say that it's a narrow victory. 1-0 Spurs, but it's edgy and could easily end up being a draw.