What might be one the most important fixtures of the 2017/18 Premier League season is about to take place on Tuesday evening at the Liberty Stadium. Two relegation contenders, Swansea City and Southampton are to go up against each other for the 37th game week. Both sides have collected 33 points so far but the visitors hold the advantage due to their better goal difference.
Swansea still have a 7-goal deficit to recover from in order to overcome the Saints to the safety spot. Mark Hughes and his team are pegged to survive if both sides finish the season with equal points.
The former Stoke City boss has managed to collect 5 points out of the last three league fixtures. Not bad, considering the downward trajectory that they were set on. Everton held them to a 1-1 draw last night by scoring late into injury time. Ryan Bertrand’s failed clearance attempt allowed the Toffees their equalizer from Tom Davies’ deflected shot, off Wesley Hoedt’s leg.
On the other hand, the hosts are not in the best form either, after registering zero wins in their last 7 league fixtures. Carlos Carvalhal’s work might have been effective earlier in the year but it somehow has failed to meet expectations in the late stages of the campaign. The Portuguese manager got beaten 1-0 by Bournemouth last night.
These two sides had gone up against each other in the first game of the Premier League season and the match ended 0-0.
Here is how Southampton might lineup this time to counter the home side’s resistance.
Alex McCarthy’s presence is anticipated for the goalkeeper position. Fraser Forster to remain on the bench as the backup option.
Maya Yoshida’s double yellow against the Toffees naturally rules him out for this tie. Wesley Hoedt, Jack Stephens and Jan Bednarek might be the defensive trio fielded in front of McCarthy.
Cedric Soares and Ryan Bertrand might provide cover from the flanks while Oriol Romeu and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg fill up the holding midfield roles. Ki Sung-yueng and Andy King are expected to be a hard match-up for the latter duo.
Charlie Austin should find himself in the centre-forward role. Shane Long’s pace will come in handy in the late stages.
Nathan Redmond might return to the starting XI in place of Mario Lemina. Dusan Tadic to resume his duties from the right wing.
Mario Gabbiadini and James Ward-Prowse could make substitute appearances.