Stoke City welcome Southampton on Sunday evening in a clash whose result may decide both team’s fate in Europe at the end of the season.
The Potters came back from a goal down to draw against Chelsea last weekend to maintain their unbeaten run in the league. Their exploits will give Mark Hughes and his men confidence when coming up against a Southampton side who are 9th in the league, a place below them at a 2 point gap.
Meanwhile, the Saints had a dramatic dip in form after impressive at the start of this year. The 1-1 draw at Sunderland is the third consecutive league match they have failed to win and after having an outside chance to finish inside top four, they might have to now target a place in the Europa League.
Stoke City are unbeaten in their last four Premier League matches, with 3 wins and 1 draw. Their last two matches have seen under 2.5 goals. The home form is a pretty good one for Stokes as they have won 3, drawn 1 and lost 1.
Sunderland are winless in their last three league games and only one of their last six matches have seen over 2.5 goals. The record in their last five away games read LWDWL, all of which have seen under 2.5 goals.
Stoke City: Team News
Marc Wilson, Glen Johnson and Phillip Bardsley are injured and will miss this match. Charlie Adam and Ryan Shawcross are nearing return to full action after recovering from respective injuries, but is unlikely to play a part in the game on Saturday.
Stoke City: Predicted line-up (4-2-3-1)
Butland – Pieters, Cameron, Muniesa, Wollscheid – Whelan, Imbula – Arnautovic, Shaqiri, Affelay – Diouf.
Southampton: Team News
Gardos and Jay Rodriguez are long term injury candidates for Southampton, while new signing Charlie Austin is sidelined due to hamstring Injury until the first week of April.
Victor Waynama is still unavailable as he serves the last of his five-match ban.
Shane Long missed the trip to Sunderland following a knee injury is expected to return, but we have to wait and see at what capacity he will feature.
Southampton: Predicted line-up (4-2-3-1)
Forster – Bertrand, Cedric, Yoshida, Dijk – Romeu, Davis – Tadic, Ward, Mane – Pelle.
Stoke City vs Southampton: Head-to-Head Stats
There were 7 matches between the two sides since Southampton won promotion to Premier League in 2012. Their first 4 matches were draws and then Southampton broke the deadlock with a win, but the last two were won by Stoke City.
Also, Stoke City are unbeaten at home against Sunderland the last three matches.
Stoke City vs Southampton: Prediction
Ronald Koeman’s Southampton have been disappointing in the past few outings and are still searching for their first win in four matches. And one of their major problems has been scoring goals, and this could worsen in the absence of Shane Long.
The form tips in favour of Stoke City, who also have home advantage on Saturday evening. Moreover their recent red hot run suggest they will be in for another win here, stretching their unbeaten run to five matches.