Swansea vs Southampton
K/0: 19:45 Hours
Venue: The Liberty Stadium
Referee: Michael Oliver
It could be winner-takes-all scenario at the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday night, as both Swansea and Southampton seek the three points that would possibly secure their survival.
Swansea have two home games to secure their Premier League survival and hopefully put a season of horrors behind them. Winning against Southampton, who are locked on points with Swansea near the bottom of the table, would not mathematically secure safety but would only require a single point in the final game to finish the job. It is difficult to back Swansea for two positive results however, such is their atrocious form, and although the team as a whole works hard their ability to score goals seems to have deserted them at a crucial time.
Unless the season is ended with a flourish, unless convincing wins are used to secure safety, fans will only wonder if this the misery of a relegation battle is to repeat itself next season. Swansea have been stuck in a pattern of battles for safety for far too long and in the Premier League, reality always catches up sooner or later.
Southampton will have to pick themselves up from a heartbreaking result away to Everton, where a fortunate deflected strike in the final seconds robbed the Saints of a much-deserved victory. It is difficult to judge just how good Southampton were in that game, such was the feeble resistance of an already-bored Everton. Having said this, there is no doubt they worked harder, created more and deserved everything before that final, gut-wrenching kick. The two extra points would have created daylight between them and Swansea but instead they are now stuck on points, with the knowledge that if they lose to Swansea they will have to find a win at the very least on the final day against Champions Manchester City.
It is fair to say, a squad of Southampton’s class and experience shouldn’t be in the position that they are. However as seen at Stoke, who’s relegation was confirmed on Saturday, there is little emphasis placed on commitment and desire when making signings in the modern game, and more on reputation and big transfer fees. Stoke players have already talked about some of their squad who have not given everything in the fight against relegation, and we may see similar stories out of Southampton if the worst was to befall them too.
There are no new injury worries for Swansea, who lined up with the surprise addition of Nathan Dyer in midfield in their last game against Bournemouth. Normality may be resumed here, as the Swans found themselves lacking in creativity with the often influential Sam Clucas on the bench. Southampton will surely start Nathan Redmond after his terrific, and nearly game-winning display at Everton, while the loss of long-serving centre back Maya Yoshida to suspension may prove crucial.
Match Prediction – Swansea City 1 Southampton F.C 1
With everything on the line, nerves are likely to get the better of both clubs in this important match, leading to a draw that would require each respective team to win on the final day to have a hope of staying up. Both sides seem to repeatedly sabotage their own efforts to win games, and mistakes and tension may see that pattern continue on what will prove to be a desperate night in the history of both clubs. A true winner-takes-all situation is so rare in the Premier League but have no doubt; this is it.