Football.com - everything football

Premier League preview: Southampton v Swansea

By Football News



Swansea take on Southampton at St Mary's on Saturday with pressure mounting on the south coast club and their besieged manager Nigel Adkins.

Back-to-back promotions may not spare the perennially optimistic Adkins who is said to have been given support by chairman Nicola Cortese at a boardroom meeting on Tuesday, for the short-term at least.

The Saints are bottom of the Premier League on four points, but more importantly the bridge to safety has extended to five points after last Monday's 2-0 defeat at West Brom.

But Michael Laudrup's travelling Swansea will likely be in a less than forgiving mood and full of confidence following impressive displays against Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool in their last three outings.

The Welsh club were unlucky 1-0 losers away to City in the league but knocked Liverpool out of the League Cup with a thoroughly deserved 3-1 win and held Champions League holders Chelsea at home last Saturday.

Denmark's greatest ever player Laudrup has taken the reins amiably from Brendan Rodgers and despite the departures of stars Scott Sinclair and Joe Allen, signings like Michu (seven goals) have stepped in to fill the void and help Swansea to a comfortable mid-table position.

Both sides like to play fluid football and there is plenty of upside in the young Saints game with an array of attacking talent up front in Rickie Lambert, Gaston Ramirez, Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez.

Yet it is not up front where Southampton have struggled (scoring one less goal than Arsenal) but down back.

The comical nature of West Brom's first goal at the Hawthorns is becoming an all-too-familiar occurrence for Southampton after finding solid footholds in games.

The Saints have conceded 28 goals in 10 matches, the second worst defensive record in Premier League history.

If survival is to be attained, that statistic must improve drastically, and soon.

Cast your eye over the fact Southampton have played six of the league's current top seven and only one of the bottom seven and you see why newly promoted club have struggled so much.

With games against Swansea and lowly duo QPR and Norwich in the next four, Adkins and Southampton's fate this season may well rest on the trio of results, while for Laudrup's side Saturday's assignment is just the type of challenge they must overcome to bolster their top-10 ambitions.