Stoke City Vs Southampton Preview | League Cup 4th Round

Stoke City Vs Southampton Preview | League Cup 4th Round

On October 29th, Southampton will travel to the Britannia Stadium to take on Stoke City.  After playing in the league only four days earlier at Southampton, the teams will face off this time not for three points, but for progression into the quarterfinals of the Capital One Cup.  Both of these sides should be pretty safe when it comes to possibly being relegated, but neither are contenders for the Premier League title, so a cup run is either teams only real shot at a trophy.  Stoke has not won the league cup since 1972 and Southampton have never lifted the League Cup.

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Team News

In a cup often made or blooding youngsters into the first team, Southampton will be without two of their best young talents.  Both James Ward Prowse and Sam Gallagher will be missed with long term injuries.  The Saints will also be missing their top scorer from last season, Jay Rodriguez, as he is still recovering from a knee injury picked up last season.  While Southampton will be missing youngsters, Stoke are missing two very experienced players to long term injuries.  Glen Whelan is out after he broke his leg with the Republic of Ireland in their dramatic draw vs Germany.  The Potters will be missing Nigerian international Peter Odemwinge after he tore his ACL in late August.

Interesting Statistics

Prior to Southampton’s 1-0 win on Saturday, the last four meetings between the two clubs had ended in draws.  Southampton hold the all time edge over Stoke winning 19 of their 39 meetings drawing 10 and losing 10.  Stoke have only two wins in their last 20 meetings with Southampton.  Southampton have the best defensive record in the Premier League through nine games.

Key Players

Southampton – Sadio Mane

With all of Southampton’s creative players it’s tough to focus on one key player, but the player that will make the difference against Stoke will be Senegalese international, Sadio Mane.  The winger arrived as one of Southampton’s many summer signings from Red Bulls Salzburg for around £12m.  Mane made his Southampton debut in this competition against Arsenal.  He marked his debut by winning a penalty and has pushed on since then.  He created another goal for the Saints in his league debut against QPR.  Since then he has also opened his goal scoring account for the club scoring against Stoke on Saturday.  In the Premier League, Mane has been creating chances at an impressive rate with one created every 30 minutes.  The former Salzburg star has started his Southampton career well and has proved he is a danger man for this new look Southampton team.

Stoke City – Mame Biram Diouf

Stoke’s biggest problem this season has been their inability to put the ball into the back of the net.  Mame Biram Diouf is one of only four Stoke players to score multiple goals this season and he will have to be on good form for Stoke to be successful.  The Senegalese striker has the pace and creativity to threaten the Southampton back line on the counter attack.  That ability could be vital in Stoke’s attempt to get at Southampton.  One of Diouf’s two goals this season was a magical run against Manchester City catching them cold to score the winning goal.  Against a strong side like Southampton, the counter attack may be Stoke’s best plan of attack and the former Hannover 96 striker has proven that he is a viable option on the counter attack.  His turn of pace and touch of class could be key for Stoke City.

Prediction

The fact that this game is in Stoke makes a huge difference.  While they have still been good, Southampton haven’t been the same team away from home as they are at home.  At St. Mary’s, Southampton are undefeated with four wins and a draw and have scored 15 while only conceding one.  Away from home, they have two wins and two losses while scoring only five goals and conceding four.  Despite all that, I think Southampton will have enough fire power to get past Stoke.

Prediction: 2-1 Southampton