Premier League Preview: Southampton v Stoke City
By Football News
With safety assured the pressure is off Southampton and Stoke City when they meet in the final game of the Premier League season.
The two are separated by one point and three places in the Premier League and if either side picks up three points they will finish above the other.
Southampton's first season back in the top flight since 2005 has had its ups and downs, they struggled at the start of the season but from December they moved out of the bottom three and have pulled themselves away from trouble.
They have won six games at home this season, including victories over Manchester City and Liverpool, and when they recorded three consecutive victories in mid-March they looked safe.
The sacking of Nigel Adkins, and subsequent appointment of Mauricio Pochettino in January, has seen the club take 18 points from the 15 games he has taken charge.
The Argentine has won four matches, drawn six and lost five since taking over and the club sits one place higher in 14th position.
Southampton have scored 48 goals so far this season, more than every team below eighth-placed West Brom, but have now scored just two from their last five matches in a run of three draws and two defeats.
Luke Shaw and Rickie Lambert face late fitness tests following recent absences and there could also be a return for Guly Do Prado, but Richard Chaplow (ankle) is definitely out. They will also be without suspended duo Danny Fox and Gaston Ramirez.
Stoke's season has also been something of a roller coaster. They have only won three times in 2013 but back-to-back triumphs over QPR and Norwich City followed by a draw with Sunderland guaranteed their safety.
Away from home Tony Pulis' side have really struggled, having only won twice away from the Britannia Stadium.
They are the second-lowest scorers in the league this season, with 12 goals - only QPR have scored fewer times. To add to their away-day concerns, they have not won at Southampton since 1980.
A lack of goalscoring has been a theme for their season, having drawn a blank 15 times. Their top scorer is Jon Walters with just eight league goals, while Peter Crouch has six.
Stoke have not won on the last day since 2006 when they beat Brighton 5-1 in the Championship, and in the Premier League they have lost three of the four final-day matches they have played.
Andy Wilkinson is available again for Stoke with Glenn Whelan facing a late fitness test ahead of this game following his recent groin injury. American Brek Shea will also undergo a check but Pulis does not expect him to be ready until next season, and Charlie Adam is definitely out after being sent off against Tottenham.