With Christmas all but done and dusted and Boxing Day in the rearview mirror of the Premier League, there’s only one more game to unwrap before the weekend and the last matches of 2018 are upon us.
Southampton, enjoying their sudden resurgence under new boss Ralph Hasenhuttl, host a West Ham side looking to bounce back to winning ways at St Mary’s Stadium.
Manuel Pellegrini’s visitors lost their last game against Watford, while Saints made it two wins on the trot to lift themselves three points clear of the relegation zone.
Both have plenty to play for; a win for the home side would take them two victories clear of the bottom three, while success for the Hammers would throw them into the midst of a potential battle for European places next season.
Who has one last present under the tree though – and who can prepare to sign off for the year with a smile on their face?
|Game||Southampton vs West Ham|
|Date||Thursday, December 27|
|Time||7:45pm GMT / 2:45pm ET|
|Stream (US)||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial) .
New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|NBCSN||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will be shown on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League, with Sky customers also able to stream it on Sky Go.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Sky Sports Main Event/Sky Sports Premier League||Sky Go|
Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||McCarthy, Gunn, Forster, Lewis|
|Defenders||Valery, Bednarek, Yoshida, Vestergaard, Targett, Soares. Hoedt, Stephens|
|Midfielders||Redmond, Romeu, Armstrong, Ward-Prowse, Davis, Elyounoussi, Gabbiadini, Lemina|
|Forwards||Ings, Gallagher, Long, Obafemi|
Southampton will be without midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg following his yellow card in the closing stages against Huddersfield last time out, as he subsequently serves a one-match ban.
Ryan Bertrand is also unlikely to feature despite Saints having set this game as his probable return from a back problem, while Cedric Soares could miss out if a calf issue proves to be worse than initially feared.
Possible Southampton XI: McCarthy; Valery, Bednarek, Yoshida, Vestergaard, Targett; Redmond, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Armstrong; Ings.
|Position||West Ham players|
|Goalkeepers||Fabianski, Adrian, Trott|
|Defenders||Zabaleta, Cresswell, Diop, Masuaku, Ogbonna|
|Midfielders||Snodgrass, Noble, Rice, Felipe Anderson, Obiang, Coventry, Powell, Holland|
|Forwards||Antonio, Arnautovic, Carroll, Diangana, Perez|
West Ham pair Marko Arnautovic and Lucas Perez could be in line to make their first appearances since early December after being sidelined for the past three games following injuries sustained against Cardiff.
Their return would give a timely boost to the Hammers too, who will be unable to call upon Fabian Balbuena and Javier Hernandez following knocks they picked up in the run-up to Christmas.
Possible West Ham XI: Fabianski; Zabaleta, Cresswell, Diop, Masuaku; Snodgrass, Noble, Rice, Felipe Anderson; Antonio, Carroll.
Betting & Match Odds
West Ham are the slight favourites with odds of 5/2 according to bet 365, with a draw the same. A win for Southampton is priced at 6/2.
With Mark Hughes’ disastrous start to the season slowly fading into memory, Southampton are still firmly entrenched in the honeymoon period with new boss Ralph Hasenhuttl.
The former Leipzig boss has taken the club to their first pair of consecutive league victories for almost two years in his opening month in charge and has hauled them clear of the bottom three to boot.
There’s still a long way to go for Saints, of course, but a new sense of optimism seems to have dawned over St Mary’s Stadium.
A win against higher-placed opposition to back up their shock victory over Arsenal two games ago would certainly add more belief to the notion that they will secure Premier League safety.
West Ham, however, are not going to roll over easily – and having lost 2-0 to Watford in their most recent game, the Hammers will be determined to get back to winning ways.
With the middle of the league table still heavily congested, a whole host of sides are still firmly in the mix for a potential spot in Europe next season, and Manuel Pellegrini’s team could give themselves a real shot in the arm with three points.
They will have to do so without key forward Javier Hernandez – but they might be able to field the equally devastating Marko Arnautovic if he makes an unexpectedly early return from injury for the clash on the South Coast.