Southampton - West Brom Preview: Saints seek to extend six-match unbeaten run against Baggies
Mauricio Pochettino's side look set to avoid relegation following an impressive run of results in March and April, while Steve Clarke's team are winless in four games
By Arthur Virgo
Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Fox
Davis, Lallana, Rodriguez
Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Popov
Long, Dorrans, Thomas
Southampton have no new injury concerns in defence, and Danny Fox could retain his place at left-back ahead of Luke Shaw, while Guly Do Prado (illness) is the only major injury worry.
Mauricio Pochettino named Jay Rodriguez, Steven Davis and Adam Lallana in attack behind lone striker Rickie Lambert at Swansea last week, but playmaker Gaston Ramirez could come back into the side to face West Brom.
Baggies boss Steve Clarke has a dilemma in central midfield with Youssuf Mulumbu suspended and Chris Brunt (knee) unavailable, as are long-term casualties Zoltan Gera and George Thorne (both knee).
Playmakers James Morrison and Graham Dorrans could therefore be forced back alongside Claudio Yacob, but the versatile Steven Reid could also deputise.
Attackers Shane Long, Peter Odemwingie, who has recovered from a knee injury, and Marc-Antoine Fortune are set to compete for a place on the flanks alongside likely starting striker Romelu Lukaku.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Southampton had been threatened with relegation but have now climbed to 12th in the table and eight points clear of the drop zone after going unbeaten in their last six Premier League matches.
- The Saints have the fewest overall bookings in the Premier League this season with just 38 yellow cards, and are one of just three teams yet to have a player sent off this season, along with Manchester United and Sunderland.
- Striker Rickie Lambert is the leading English scorer in the Premier League this season, with his 14 goals making him the seventh highest scorer overall.
- West Brom secured their Premier League survival a long time ago and are now eighth in the table on 45 points.
- The Baggies are, however, without a win in four Premier League matches, and have collected just four points from a possible 18 in their last six away games.
- Steve Clarke’s side have drawn just six league matches this season, fewer than all others except champions Manchester United who have drawn five.
- Top-scorer Romelu Lukaku (pictured, right) has netted 13 league goals this season. He is 13/2 with bet365 to open the scoring on Saturday.
- West Brom have not won in the last 19 matches played at Southampton dating back to August 1969, but West Brom beat Southampton 2-0 at The Hawthorns in this season's reverse fixture in November, with forward Peter Odemwingie scoring twice.
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Top 3 Predictions
Southampton 2-1 West Bromwich Albion
- 23.53 %
Southampton 2-0 West Bromwich Albion
- 10.59 %
Southampton 3-1 West Bromwich Albion
- 10 %
|Premier League (EPL)||17 Aug 2013||West Bromwich Albion 0 - Southampton 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||27 Apr 2013||Southampton 0 - West Bromwich Albion 3|
|Premier League (EPL)||5 Nov 2012||West Bromwich Albion 2 - Southampton 0|
|Club Friendlies (FRC)||27 Jul 2011||Southampton 2 - West Bromwich Albion 2|
|4 Dec 2013||Southampton 2 - Aston Villa 3||EPL|
|1 Dec 2013||Chelsea FC 3 - Southampton 1||EPL|
|23 Nov 2013||Arsenal FC 2 - Southampton 0||EPL|
|9 Nov 2013||Southampton 4 - Hull City 1||EPL|
|6 Nov 2013||Sunderland 2 - Southampton 1||CCUP|
|6||Jose Rocha Fonte||Defender|
|21||Guilherme Do Prado||Midfielder|
|30||Sebastien Gabriel Tamaş||Defender|
The 31-year-old is a threat from set pieces as well as when drifting wide to receive the ball before combining with team-mates, and will look to finish the season strongly alongside strike partner Jay Rodriguez with the hope of forcing his way into the England national team.
He combines height and power with the pace to threaten Southampton on the counterattack, and could have just five more matches to demonstrate his credentials in the West Brom starting XI before he moves back to parent club Chelsea.