To be played at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday 2nd November at 15:00
Odds: Stoke 12/5, Draw 12/5, Southampton 7/5
Last season 3-3
Match Preview/Injury news
Stoke have been criticised this season for their lack of goals. Given that no-one in the side has managed to score two league goals this season, that would seem a fair criticism, but having scored twice at Old Trafford – but lost – and then prevailing in a 4-4 thriller against Birmingham in the Capital One Cup on penalties, it does suggest they do have some firepower.
And it’s that kind of firepower that will be needed to break down the meanest defence possessed by in-form Southampton, and to move them away from the relegation zone at this early stage of the season.
The signs don’t point to a repeat of the 3-3 thriller seen in this fixture last season. Just the three goals have been conceded by the Saints this season as they sit in fifth place in the league and are doing nothing to quieten murmurs that they could get into Europe this season.
On the injury front, there is only one such concern for the Potters with defender Robert Huth is struggling with an ankle injury – whilst Pablo Osvaldo is trying to shake off a knock for the Saints.
Jermaine Pennant, Charlie Adam, Ryan Shawcross, Geoff Cameron, Peter Crouch and Marko Arnautovic have all scored a goal each.
Rickie Lambert is Southampton’s top scorer in the league with three goals.
Stoke’s last six: Won 0, Draw 2, Lost 4
Southampton’s last six: Won 4, Drawn 2, Lost 0
Stoke’s home form: Played 4, Won 1, Drawn 2, Lost 1, Goals For 2, Goals Against 2.
Southampton’s away form: Played 4, Won 2, Drawn 1, Lost 1, Goals For 3, Goals Against 2.
Stoke City had 33% possession in their last match, a 3-2 away defeat against Manchester United.
Southampton had 66% possession in their last match, a 2-0 home win against Fulham.
Five players to watch
It’s always interesting to watch a striker come up against his former club, but Crouch managed to get on the scoresheet last week at Old Trafford, and his side will need more of the same from him this weekend. Can he breach the Saints resistance?
Though Stoke are going through a transitional stage on Mark Hughes, they might show flashes of their old ways, meaning Fonte and Lovren are going to have a thorough examination on Saturday afternoon. If he puts in another sterling performance along with his defensive partner, you’d think they’d at least come away with a point.
He scored a wonderful goal in midweek for Stoke in their Capital One Cup tie against Birmingham, but will that be enough for Mark Hughes to give him a starting place? He pace and ability to get in and behind players could cause the visitors some problems.
Schneiderlin just seems to be everywhere on the pitch, so much so it seems as though there are two of him at times. His energy in the middle of the park is going to contribute a lot if Southampton are to knock Stoke off their stride.
If Southampton are to dominate possession and have the lion’s share of the chances, then Begovic is going to have to be at his very best to help Stoke to a positive result.
Last time they met
Southampton 1-1 Stoke City – Premier League May 2013
This game will be remembered as the last game in Michael Owen’s career who was given a standing ovation by both sets of supporters before he retired. The game itself mattered little as both sides had secured their Premier League status, and all the action happened just after half time. Peter Crouch headed Stoke ahead against his old club before Rickie Lambert scrambled home an equaliser ten minutes later to secure the Saints a point.
image: © Ben Sutherland