Premier League – Swans v Southampton at 15:00 on Saturday, 13th February 2016
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Assistants: S Long, L Betts
Fourth Official: K A Woolmer
With the Swans enjoying a four match unbeaten run under Francesco Guidolin, the visit of in-form Southampton is probably the Italian’s toughest home assignment to date.
As the Saints visit the Liberty on the back of not having conceded or suffered defeat in the last five matches, the Swans will need to heed their manager’s advice of being more clinical in front of goal if they are to come away with the points this weekend.
Alberto Paloschi has made a promising (if goalless) start to his Swansea City career but he has offered something a little different up front with his link-up play and general enthusiam to get around the field of play. This has meant some options and movement available for the Swans midfield – something which has been sadly lacking earlier in the season.
No doubt a goal would fire the young Italian onto greater things and if his showings to date are anything to go by then we may not have to wait too long to see him score his goal in a Swansea City shirt.
Ki Sung-yueng will probably be available once again since suffering concussion in the 1-1 draw at West Bromwich Albion. Whether or not he starts will be interesting with Guidolin possibly choosing two from Andre Ayew, Wayne Routledge and Alberto Paloschi to play up front in an attempt to freshen things up against a stubborn Southampton rearguard.
The scorer of the winner the last time the two teams met in south Wales – Victor Wanyama – will definitely be missing however as he starts his five-match ban following his third red card of the season against West Ham last weekend.
History once again appears to be against the Swans, as they have beaten Southampton just once in seven Premier League attempts. Think back to Jonjo Shelvey’s long distance effort at St. Mary’s last season and you’ve got the solitary win!
The outcome of this weekend’s game is given added significance given that the Swans next opponents are both away, at Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal respectively. Therefore it is imperative that the Swans get something out of the game, otherwise the Premier League table could make for ominous reading before the visit of relegation rivals Norwich City in early March.
Although the Saints haven’t conceded in five games, the run must come to an end sometime and with Gylfi Sigurdsson now having scored five goals in his last six league outings, we’re backing the iceman to help the Swans to a much needed 3 points this weekend.
Swans 1 Southampton 0
What the Pundits Think
Paul Merson (Sky Sports) – Swans 0 Southampton 1
Southampton have really turned the corner. For Fraser Forster to do what he’s done and keep five clean sheets is some going in a league where so many chances are created. You have to ride your luck to keep clean sheets in this league but take nothing away from Southampton – their dogged display against West Ham with 10 men was brilliant. I don’t see Swansea scoring if I’m being honest, they’ve been so uncertain at the back I just see Saints winning.”
Mark Lawrenson (BBC) – Swans 0 Southampton 2
Swansea have won one and drawn two since Francesco Guidolin took charge, and he was in the stands for their victory over Watford too. Southampton are also in good form, with four wins and a draw from their past five games, and they held on with 10 men for more than 30 minutes to beat West Ham last weekend. Something has to give, but Saints keeper Fraser Forster has not conceded a goal in five games since returning from injury and I am going to back him to continue that run.”
Alistair Mann (MOTD Commentator)
Despite embarking on a timely four-match unbeaten run, Swansea are by no means clear of trouble. New boss Francesco Guidolin has started impressively but he may well feel that his team should be as many as four points better off, having given up leads in their last two matches, most frustratingly in the closing moments at West Brom. That disappointment is accentuated by viewing their next three games: in-form Southampton’s visit is followed by trips to Tottenham and Arsenal. The weekend visitors have won four of their last five games and haven’t conceded a goal in any of them – their progress up to seventh has been serene. A third successive win at the Liberty Stadium is their next target.”
Last meeting at the Liberty Stadium
20 September 2014: Swans 0 Southampton 1
Current League Form (Last 6)
Predicted Swans Starting XI:
Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Williams (Capt), Taylor, Britton, Cork, Sigurdsson, Routledge, Ayew, Paloschi.
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 and here are a list of our top picks.
Get odds of 9/4 on Alberto Paloschi to Score in the 90 minutes.
Get odds of 14/1 on Andre Ayew to Score and the game end in a draw.
Get odds of 100/30 on the match to end as a 1-1, 2-2 or 3-3 draw.
Get odds of 11/4 on the Swans to win 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1.
Let us know your thoughts – whether on the game or the betting odds(!) using the comment box below 🙂