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Southampton-Tottenham Hotspur Preview
Mired in the Premier League's relegation zone, Southampton head to Wembley with manager Mark Hughes no longer in charge.
After sacking the veteran gaffer to begin the work week, the Saints don't face an easy task trying to keep their winless stretch over all competitions from reaching 13 games Wednesday night against Tottenham Hotspur.
Monday morning's news of Hughes' sacking after eight months on the job was hardly a surprise, considering he won just three times over 22 Premier League games with the club and Southampton (1-6-7) is currently atop of the drop zone. The final nail in Hughes' managerial coffin at Southampton came Saturday when the club blew an early 2-0 lead at home in an eventual 2-2 draw with Manchester United.
The Saints, who are one point from safety, are 0-7-5 over all competitions since a 2-0 top-flight victory at Crystal Palace on Sept. 1. The 55-year-old Hughes took over the club in March and helped them avoid relegation last season. He signed a three-year deal with Southampton in May, but the team has yet to find their form on this campaign. Their 26 goals conceded rank among the most in the league.
Assistant Kelvin Davis will guide the club Wednesday, whilst The Guardian reports that former Leipzig manager Ralph Hasenhuttl appears to be the favorite to land the Southampton gig full-time.
"Obviously, a difficult moment for (the players)," Davis told the club's official website during his Monday press conference. "Their feelings were obviously of disappointment. And some emotion."
Though it's uncertain if Davis is a candidate for the full-time Saints manager position, that's not his concern at the moment.
"I am fully focused on getting a positive performance on Wednesday," he said. "I don't think it would be wise to think about anything after that."
Tottenham (10-0-4), meanwhile, were riding high, winners of six straight matches over all competitions, including two in the Champions League, when they visited the Emirates on Sunday. Despite a successful Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang penalty in the 10th minute, Spurs answered with first-half goals by Eric Dier and Harry Kane some four minutes apart.
However, it was all Arsenal after the break, as the hosts scored three times in a span of 21 minutes to stun Spurs and change the tide of the derby for the time being. The result allowed the Gunners to pull even with Tottenham on points and ahead of them to fourth in the Premier League table based on goal differential.
"It's a horrible feeling losing the derby," full-back Ben Davies told Spurs' official website. "It's a very disappointing result, but we have to go away, try to get it out of our minds now and focus on the next games coming up."
Tottenham have not lost two consecutive league contests since Sept. 2 and Sept. 15, which also was part of their season-high three-game slide over all competitions.
"You have to deal with the highs and the lows," Davies said. "That's football. Obviously, losing the derby hurts a lot and it's about us dealing with that and trying to put it right."
Spurs currently find themselves amidst a 3-1-0 stretch against Southampton.
Updated December 3, 2018