Southampton vs Sunderland: Match Preview

There’s no rest for the wicked as Premier League sides are playing their third match in seven days, and after the mid-week matches, Sunderland will be the happier of the two sides. Although the Black Cats led 1-0 against Crystal Palace, their former player Connor Wickham bagged two goals to put the Eagles 2-1 up. Fabio Borini then levelled the game late on to snatch a must needed point which meant Sunderland climbed above Norwich and arch rivals Newcastle to move out of the relegation zone. On the other hand, Southampton lost ground on 5th place and a Europa League spot after their second consecutive defeat at the hands of south-coast neighbours Bournemouth. The Saints looked flat and unconvincing and couldn’t match the Cherries’ desire and pace going forward, something they will look to rectify this weekend.

Teams

Saints’ £4 million signing Charlie Austin will miss out after sustaining a hamstring injury at The Vitality Stadium on Tuesday. Koeman confirmed Austin will be out “for a few weeks”. Despite returning to full training last week, Jay Rodriguez and Florin Gardos will still be unavailable as they look to gain match fitness. After Koeman’s 3-5-2 didn’t work against Bournemouth in the early stages, the Dutchman switched the formation back to 4-3-3. As his teams performance picked up slightly after this change, Koeman may start with the latter formation. Shane Long will also miss out of this game due to a knock to his knee sustained at Bournemouth. Graziano Pelle is set for his first start since February 13th in the Saints’ 1-0 win over Swansea at the Liberty Stadium. Sadio Mane also looks set to fill in for the missing Long. Pelle and Mane are looking to re-form their partnership which ran Chelsea ragged earlier this season.

John O’Shea has a chance of facing Southampton this weekend after a calf injury. Former Portsmouth defender Younes Kaboul is on standby for the Black Cats. £8 million pound signing Jermain Lens will miss out on the trip to St Mary’s but is expected to be fit for the Tyne-Wear derby on the 20th of March. Another former Portsmouth player Jermain Defoe will be crucial for Sunderland if there to gain three points this weekend, as the Black Cats will be relying on him for goals. Fabio Borini could be in line for his first start since the 2nd of February due to his last gasp equaliser against Crystal Palace. Lee Cattermole suffered a concussion against Crystal Palace and due to FA protocol, the Englishman cannot be considered.
Past Meetings

2012/13:
22nd December 2012- Southampton 0-1 Sunderland:
Steven Fletcher scored the only goal of the game as Martin O’Neill’s side looked comfortable against Nigel Adkins’ Saints.

12th May 2013- Sunderland 1-1 Southampton:
An improvised Jason Puncheon finish all-but secured Southampton’s Premier League status after a Phil Bardsley goal opened the scoring.

2013/14:
24th August 2013- Southampton 1-1 Sunderland:
Southampton’s record £17million signing Pablo Daniel Osvaldo made his debut in this match. Emanuele Giaccherini scored the opening goal as he found himself free in the box to score a header from a corner (despite being only 5ft 5). A late Jose Fonte header snatched a point for the Saints.

18th January 2014- Sunderland 2-2 Southampton:
Mauricio Pochettino’s side led 2-0 in this match with goals from Dejan Lovren and Jay Rodriguez, however Sunderland pegged the Saints back after goals from Fabio Borini and Adam Johnson.

2014/15:
18th October 2014- Southampton 8-0 Sunderland:
A rout at St Mary’s! After Sebastian Vergini scored a stupendous own goal to open the scoring for Ronald Koeman’s side, Sunderland fans knew they were in for a long afternoon after this. Saints led 3-0 at half time when Jack Cork and Graziano Pelle added to Vergini’s own goal. Five second half goals followed as Pelle grabbed another with Tadic and Wanyama joining in. Sunderland caused all their own problems as Liam Bridcutt and Patrick van Aanholt joined Vergini by inadvertently putting the ball in their own net.

2nd May 2015- Sunderland 2-1 Southampton:
Two penalties from Jordi Gomez sealed a vital three points for Sunderland as their annual great escape moved into full swing. Said Mane levelled the game at 1-1 but after James Ward-Prowse gave away the second penalty of the game and was sent off, Sunderland took advantage by scoring and taking all three points.

2015/16:
7th November 2015- Sunderland 0-1 Southampton:
Southampton’s first win at the Stadium of Light in twelve years came courtesy of a Dusan Tadic penalty after Ryan Bertrand was brought down by Yann M’Vila

Form

Southampton: DWWLL

1st March: Bournemouth 2-0 Southampton
27th February: Southampton 1-2 Chelsea
13th February: Swansea 0-1 Southampton
6th February: Southampton 1-0 West Ham
2nd February: Arsenal 0-0 Southampton
Sunderland: LDWLD

1st March: Sunderland 2-2 Crystal Palace
27th February: West Ham 1-0 Sunderland
13th February: Sunderland 2-1 Man Utd
6th February: Liverpool 2-2 Sunderland
2nd February: Sunderland 0-1 Man City

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