Southampton travel to Swansea in the Premier League this weekend in a match that will be described as ‘a treat for the fans’ by the managers, with both sides playing only for mid-table positions.
After the second consecutive victory in a row last week, Swansea are now officially safe from relegation and can focus on rebuilding for next season after an up and down campaign. One win in eight games had seen Swansea fall into the relegation fight, but wins over Newcastle and Aston Villa made sure of their Premier League place for another year.
Southampton were seen to have tailed off for the season with a defeat at home to Cardiff and a 0-0 draw against a poor Aston Villa side; yet last weekend’s 2-0 victory over Champions League chasing Everton reminded everyone what a successful second year back in the Premier League they’ve had. The 3 points confirmed their highest ever total in the Premier League, 52 points, and fans and staff will be hoping the impressive English core at the club can be kept to push on again next season.
With injuries ruling out last year’s top goal scorer Michu for a big part of this season, Wilfred Bony has stepped up to the plate and fired Swansea to safety.
Since the turn of the year Bony has scored 11 of his 15 league goals with 4 coming in Swansea’s last two matches against Newcastle and Aston Villa. The Ivorian striker was at his predatory best in both matches scoring 75% of his 4 clear cut chances, while also being a nuisance for defenders hassling and putting them under pressure – 16 ground duels were made over the 2 matches.
The confidence and brutal finishing shown in the last 2 matches could be a real problem for Southampton on Saturday as Bony will look to continue his goal scoring form before the World Cup this summer.
A player who impressed for Celtic in the Champions League last season, Victor Wanyama has looked at ease in the Premier League for Southampton and provided a solid midfield base that has helped the attacking talent thrive – something that helped Southampton in their victory against Everton last weekend.
Wanyama continuously shut down Everton’s passing in midfield, preventing them from venturing out of their half at times. The Kenyan midfielder recovered the ball on 14 occasions and won possession in midfield 10 times more than any other player on the pitch, as well as the whole of Everton’s midfield trio of Barry, McCarthy and Naismith – who only made 13 ball recoveries and won possession 8 times between them.
With Swansea playing a similar style of football as Southampton’s previous opponents, another colossally solid performance from Wanyama will see them take the victory back to the south coast.
- Last season’s meeting between the two sides at Swansea ended in a 0-0 draw.
- Only 5 games out of 18 at the Liberty Stadium this season have seen under 2.5 goals.
- Swansea have only lost 2 out of their last 7 matches at home.
- Southampton have opened the scoring on 21 occasions this season.
- Adam Lallana has created a chance every 43.66 minutes on average with a total of 68.
The only injury concerns for Swansea are both long-term absentees with Rangel and Michu having early starts to their summer breaks.
Southampton could welcome back Schneiderlin this weekend after a thigh injury. Ramirez, Rodriguez, Yoshida and Kelvin Davis are all set to miss out though.
This game will either be a showcase of players playing without the fear and pressures or players looking forward to their summer holidays. Whatever the quality of the match is, a score draw is on the cards.