PREVIEW: Swansea vs Saints

By SFC Media time Fri 02 May Club

Saints complete their final away game of the 2013/14 Barclays Premier League season with a trip to south Wales on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.

Fresh from equalling the club’s greatest ever points return from a Premier League campaign, Mauricio Pochettino’s men have set their sights on setting a new record return of points from a 38 league game campaign.

Southampton were 2-0 winners in the reverse of this fixture last October, but they will need to break a run of seven matches without a win in Swansea in order to complete a double over the Welsh side.

You have to go back to 1962 for the last time Saints were winners at the old Vetch Field. Tommy Mulgrew hit the winner for the visitors who finished the campaign 6th in the old Division II.

Last season saw a goalless draw played out at the Liberty Stadium. Adam Lallana had a first half goal ruled out for a foul, whilst Emmanuel Mayuka almost won it late on.

With eighth place all-but secured for this season, Saints will go into this match in good spirits. Every away ticket has been snapped up following a heavily subsided initiative from the club, whilst we’re also running a special social media competition - #sfcselfie - for those that travel with the chance to win a pair of boots signed by Rickie Lambert.

The Swans meanwhile are now safe from relegation, and although it has been an evenly contested bottom half of the table this term, a top 10 finish is unlikely for the Welsh side who currently reside in 12th place with two games to play.

Swansea have scored in 16 of their 18 home league games this season; only Chelsea and Fulham (17) have scored in more (Arsenal, Liverpool & Man City also on 16). Wilfried Bony has scored a brace in each of Swansea’s last two Premier League games.

Swansea are the top scoring team in the bottom half of the table (51 goals – only one fewer than sixth-placed Tottenham). The Swans have already scored four more goals than they did last season and seven more than they did in their debut Premier League campaign.

The last goal scored by a Saints player in open play came in the win over Newcastle in March, whilst Artur Boruc is seeking a third successive clean sheet.

Southampton are also one of three Premier League teams not to pick up a red card this season (along with Aston Villa and West Brom).

Swans boss Garry Monk was on the books at Saints for eight years, whilst Nathan Dyer spent his early years in the game with Southampton before joining Swansea on a permanent basis in 2009.

Team News

There are no fresh concerns for Mauricio Pochettino, who will hope to have Morgan Schneiderlin back for this weekend’s game after missing the Everton win with a dead leg.

Kelvin Davis, Maya Yoshida and Jay Rodriguez are long-term knocks, whilst Gaston Ramirez hopes to recover from an ankle injury in time for the trip to Wales.

Angel Rangel is out for the hosts, after being ruled out for the rest of the season with a groin injury sustained in last week’s 4-1 win over Aston Villa. Also out, is defender Chico Flores who was sent off against Chelsea last month. Fellow Spaniard Jordi Amat is likely to deputise again.

Last weekend, Swans boss Garry Monk was again without last season’s top scorer Michu. The striker has suffered with an ankle injury for much of the campaign, so Wilfried Bony is expected to lead the line once more.

Pre-match quotes

Garry Monk:

"It will be a proud day," he said. "I've got a lot of friends left in Southampton from my time there. That is where i learnt to be a footballer and learned my trade, alongside some fantastic players.

"It's a brilliant club and come Saturday it will probably be one of my proudest moments.

"From a footballing principle, that is where we have tried to get to, but this is the first season where we have had a fall back from where we have been going previously.

"They (Saints) are a very good football side with a great ethos, and of course you want to aspire to something like that."

Previous Meetings

It was an accomplished 2-0 win for Saints in the reverse of this fixture last October. Adam Lallana’s 19th minute strike set Pochettino’s side on their way before Jay Rodriguez sealed the success late in the game.

There were a pair of draws in the matches between the teams last season. The game at St Mary’s finished 1-1 with Morgan Schneiderlin on target through a second half header before Nathan Dyer came off the bench to haunt his former club with a 72nd minute equaliser.

It was goalless at the Liberty Stadium last April, though there was no lack of action in a fiercely competitive encounter in South Wales.

The previous trip there had ended in a 3-0 defeat during October 2008.

In January 2009, a Marek Saganowski brace either side of goals from Jordi Gomez and Gorka Pintado earned ten-man Saints a point from a 2-2 draw at St Mary's.

Those meetings in the Championship with the Welsh outfit were the first in more than 25 years, having previously not faced each other since March 1983 when Saints were 2-1 winners in The Dell.

Overall, the two teams have met competitively on 61 occasions with 28 of those ending in Saints wins, 18 going Swansea's way and 15 resulting in draws.

Match Information

Anthony Taylor will referee Saturday’s game, and he will be assisted by Mr L Betts and Mr J Collin. Mr C Breakspear is the fourth official.

Online Coverage

As with every First Team game, we'll be providing minute-by-minute coverage throughout the day on our official Twitter feed plus goal updates on our official Facebook page.  

You can listen to live commentary courtesy of BBC Solent on Saints Player, where you can keep up to date with all the stats and scores from around the country.

Mauricio Pochettino spoke to Saints Player ahead of the game, and you can watch his interview, as well as the press conference in full on our video channel before the game.

After the match there will be plenty more content on saintsfc.co.uk and Saints Player, so stay tuned!

And if you’re coming to the game, don’t forget to take your smartphones and join in with #MarchingIn on our social media channels. Tweet us @SouthamptonFC or comment on our official Facebook page and upload images onto Instagram with the #MarchingIn for a chance to appear in a future edition of our Matchday Magazine.

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