Stoke City v Southampton

11 Mar

Mark Hughes and Ronald Koeman


Rival managers Mark Hughes and Ronald Koeman are targeting European qualification.

TEAM NEWS

Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross returned to full training this week and could play following a back injury.

Glenn Whelan is expected to make his 300th appearance for the club.

Southampton captain Jose Fonte serves a one-match ban following his dismissal against Sunderland, while Victor Wanyama completes a five-game suspension.

Charlie Austin is out with a hamstring problem but fellow striker Shane Long is fit after a knee injury.

MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES

Alistair Mann: “In his first two seasons in charge of Stoke, Mark Hughes initially guided them to a first ever Premier League top-10 finish and then last year to their highest ever points total.

“The Potters target this time around is therefore clear – to better last year’s club record 54-point haul. Put simply, that equates to 12 points from their last nine games. Hughes believes that in doing so they could make this a very special 12 months in the club’s history.

“Only promoted in 2012, Southampton have since finished 14th, eighth and, last year, seventh. Like Stoke, they’ve become an established member of the game’s elite, with a potential first ever Premier League top-six finish within their sights.

“Currently eighth and ninth respectively, this fixture could well be pivotal in determining who ultimately achieves their goals.”

Twitter: @alistairmann01

WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman on his side’s lack of goals: “What the strikers can bring makes the difference in our ambition until the end of the season.

“We know we can keep clean sheets. We need to keep that and improve in our attacking, to create more.

“We need the goals from Pelle, we need the goals from Shane Long, we need the creativity of Dusan Tadic, the quality of Sadio Mane. We need that because it really makes the difference.”

LAWRO’S PREDICTION

Stoke appear to be in form. Southampton, who have managed only one point from their past three matches and nicked a point late on at home to Sunderland last weekend, do not.

Prediction: 2-0

Lawro’s full predictions v boxer Carl Frampton

  • Think you can do better than Lawro? Predict the score for this match and the rest of this round’s Premier League fixtures in our Predictor game.
Marko Arnautovic<!–

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Stoke’s only defeat in the last eight league meetings came at Southampton in October 2014.
  • However, Saints also won at the Britannia Stadium in the League Cup four days later. Their most recent league win at Stoke came in the Championship a decade ago.

Stoke City

  • Stoke have earned 10 points from four league games, having only managed one point and failed to score in their previous four matches.
  • It is two years since they last went five matches without defeat in the league.
  • They could earn three successive Premier League home wins for the first time in two years.
  • Mame Diouf scored his first goal for Stoke since September against Chelsea last weekend, ending a 15-match barren spell in all competitions.
  • Jack Butland has made 98 saves in the Premier League this season, more than any other goalkeeper.

Southampton

  • Southampton are winless in three matches (D1, L2).
  • Saints have scored just six goals in their last 10 Premier League away games.
  • They are the division’s joint-second lowest goalscorers away from home, but also have the joint-second best defensive record on the road.
  • Sadio Mane and Graziano Pelle have gone 18 and 12 league matches respectively without scoring.
  • Ronald Koeman’s side have scored an unrivalled 11 headed goals in this season’s Premier League.
  • Southampton have had five players sent off in 2015-16, more than any other club in the division.

SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) is a super-computer created by Professor Ian McHale at the University of Salford that is used to predict the outcome of football matches.

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