Southampton v Stoke preview

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Last Updated: 02/03/18 4:37pm

Peter Crouch is back for Stoke

Peter Crouch is back for Stoke

Peter Crouch is back in the Stoke squad as they visit Southampton in a relegation six-pointer in the Premier League on Saturday.

Southampton start the weekend only out of the relegation zone on goal difference having only won five games this season in the Premier League.

This is their joint fewest points after 28 games of a season since promotion back to Premier League ahead of the 12/13 season.

Meanwhile, Stoke's 10-year run in the Premier League is under threat as they sit second bottom with 10 games to go.

They have kept the fewest clean sheets in the Premier League this season (4) - however, they have tightened up recently since Paul Lambert took over, keeping two clean sheets in their last five games.

Stoke won the reverse fixture 2-1 at St Mary's earlier this season when substitute Crouch scored the winner five minutes from time.

A preview of Saturday's Premier League games including Liverpool v Newcastle and Swansea v West Ham.

A preview of Saturday's Premier League games including Liverpool v Newcastle and Swansea v West Ham.

Team news

Saints striker Shane Long and captain Steven Davis have both missed the last two matches and are doubts while Maya Yoshida and Charlie Austin remain sidelined.

Stoke have captain Ryan Shawcross and striker Crouch available again.

Both players have had ankle injuries with Shawcross missing last week's draw at Leicester and Crouch the last two games.

Danish goalkeeper Jakob Haugaard is likely to be on the bench with Lee Grant (broken wrist) sidelined while midfielder Stephen Ireland (calf) is still out.

Leicester 1-1 Stoke

Leicester 1-1 Stoke

Opta stats

Southampton have won just two of their 11 Premier League meetings with Stoke (D5 L4), losing the last two in a row - they've never lost three league games in a row against them.

Southampton have picked up just one win in their last 15 Premier League games (D8 L6), and are winless in their last seven at St Mary's since beating Everton 4-1 in November.

Manolo Gabbiadini ended a run of 16 games without a goal in all competitions for Southampton last time out - he's not scored in consecutive games for them since March 2017, when he scored in his first four appearances for the club.

Southampton's Manolo Gabbiadini celebrates scoring his side's equaliser

Southampton's Manolo Gabbiadini celebrates scoring his side's equaliser

No player has scored more goals from outside the box in the Premier League this season than Xherdan Shaqiri (4, level with Philippe Coutinho and Kevin De Bruyne).

Merson's prediction

This is a difficult game to call. Southampton are really struggling at home whereas Stoke are down at the bottom but I think they've been a bit unlucky in recent weeks.

With a point between the two sides, this is another massive game. For me, Southampton have to win this game. It's like a cup final for them because after this four of their next five games in the league are away from home.

This is probably one of Southampton's biggest games in a long time, especially with an FA Cup quarter-final coming up. They have the chance to reach the last four so they'll want to get a couple of positive result in the league before that.

PAUL PREDICTS: 1-0 (11/2 with Sky Bet)

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