Referee: Roger East
Assistants: A Garratt, D Cann
Fourth Official: K Hill
Having been knocked out of the Capital One Cup in midweek and having not scored in three games, the Swans look a shadow of their early season selves. Whilst the goals may have dried up, the creating of chances hasn’t, so whilst there may be disappointment in the Swans camp, there is unlikely to be much despondency.
With the Swans still awaiting their first 3 points on the road this season, there is likely to be a reaction from the last 3 games this weekend, for a fixture which – if the last three meetings is anything to go by – seems to favour the away teams!
In light of this week’s further frustration for the out-of-form Gylfi Sigurdsson, expect Garry Monk to ease the pressure on one of the prominent stars of last season’s historic campaign, by giving Ki a start ahead of Iceland’s midfield talisman.
Several different theories have been aired about Gylfi’s lack of form – from the Swans employing more width to their play to Gylfi taking a back seat as the midfield playmaker to England international Jonjo Shelvey.
Southampton will no doubt be bouyed by their recent improvement in peformances and results, with their 6-0 drubbing of MK Dons in midweek a glowing endorsement of their attacking options – albeit against lower league opposition.
England left back Ryan Bertrand is in line to make his first start of the season, with Graziano Pelle probably leading the line after recovering from a foot injury sustained in the League Cup win. Dutch midfielder Jordy Clasie – labelled by many as the Dutch Xavi – is unlikely to feature however.
A point of interest for Swans fans might be the Saints £11.5 million defender Virgil van Dijk, who was linked to a switch from Celtic to the Swans on numerous occasions, before a deadline day move to Southampton.
As for the usual pundits Mark Lawrenson (BBC) and Paul Merson (Sky), both are backing the Saints to take the points with a 2-1 win – both taking the view that the Saints have improved, whilst the Swans have stuttered. Interestingly, BBC commentator John Roder reckons it’ll be a tight game adding:
With Ronald Koeman and Garry Monk proponents of attractive football, this should be a fascinating encounter, maybe once again to be settled by a single goal.”
Even Southampton gaffer Ronald Koeman reckons it’ll be a close encounter, stating in his press conference that:
Both teams like to play attractive football in a 4-3-3 system and it’ll be close. I’m looking forward to it.”
Despite the last three Premier League meetings between the two sides ending in 1-0 away wins and only seven goals having been scored in the six Premier League games between them, we think the Swans will end their 3 game goal drought and grab a share of the spoils.
Last Swans result at St. Mary’s Stadium
1 February 2015: Southampton 0 Swans 1
Current League Form (Last 5)
Predicted Swans Starting XI:
Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Williams (Capt), Taylor, Ki, Shelvey, Ayew, Cork, Montero, Gomis.
Southampton 2 Swans 2
At the Bookies
Those of you who fancy a flutter might want to check out the odds being offered on the game at the moment.
With Sky’s Jamie Redknapp and Phil Thompson backing the SCFC2 Prediction of a draw, it might be worth taking Sky Bet up on odds of 12/5 for the game ending with the points being shared.
As all of the Swan’s Premier League goals to date have been scored by Bafetimbi Gomis and Andre Ayew, you might fancy the odds of 6/1 and 8/1 respectively to be the first goalscorer.
If you’ve not got a Sky Bet account, they are currently offering a FREE £20 when you bet just £5.