Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has predicted Tottenham Hotspur will beat Southampton 3-1 in the Premier League on Sunday.
The ex-Arsenal forward has picked Spurs to overcome a difficult challenge by the Saints comfortably, despite the fact they will be missing Harry Kane for the tie at White Hart Lane.
The England striker is currently Tottenham’s top scorer with 19 goals this far, with Everton’s Romelu Lukaku adding to his tally against Hull City on Saturday to take him two clear in the Premier League charts.
However, Merson does believe Mauricio Pochettino’s men will feel the negative effects from Kane’s injury, with the front-man expected to be out for up to six weeks.
Dele Alli and Son Heung-min have combined with 30 goals across all competitions, however Vincent Janssen has not made the desired impact his manager would have liked.
With the absence of Kane, Merson believes Tottenham will need to win the game against Southampton to ensure they maintain their position in the top four.
“I think Tottenham will be OK without Harry Kane for one or two games, but over a longer sequence of games, I do not think it will be so good,” Merson told Sky Sports.
“And they need to win this football match in order to cement top four, so if they do not win this game and Kane is also out, I do not see them winning too many other football matches in my opinion.”
The pundit went on to say he felt Spurs would be fine in the short-term but as the games come thick-and-fast, he does not believe they will be able to sustain their current form.
“So it is a must-win game for them, but I think they will do a job without him for one, two or three games. But not for the next eight or nine games if he is out that long,” Merson continued.
“But I am going to just go for Tottenham, because at the moment they are playing some very good football, so I am going to go 3-1 to Tottenham.”
In the reverse fixture, the Londoners overcame the south coast side in an emphatic 4-1 victory at the Saint Mary’s Stadium, with Spurs the strong favourites again this time round.
Pochettino’s men haven’t been beaten at home this season and will be hoping their home form will carry them to victory on Sunday.