By 90Min
March 02, 2018

As we reach the final 10 games of the Premier League season, all eyes turn to the bottom of the table for a thrilling relegation battle. 

Six points separate 10th place from the relegation zone with all the teams in the bottom-half of the table in danger of the drop. 19th place Stoke City and 16th place Southampton face off this weekend in what is a relegation six pointer. 

Stoke are a point behind the Saints, who are outside the drop zone on goal difference. A result here could help the decide the fate of both teams come the end of the season. 

Here's everything you need to know heading into this clash.

Classic Encounter

Chris Brunskill/GettyImages

This fixture has proven to a closely contested one since Southampton returned to the Premier League. Their first meeting in the Premier League in December 2012, proved to be their most memorable as the sides drew 3-3 in a thriller. 

The visiting Saints kicked off proceedings with an early goal from Rickie Lambert, but Kenwyne Jones responded quickly with a back-heeled equaliser. Stoke ended the first half 3-1 down to the newly promoted side after a goal from Jay Rodriguez and an own goal Andy Wilkinson. 

Stoke halved the deficit when Matthew Upson scrambled in a goal from a corner. The Potters' comeback was made difficult when Steven N'Zonzi was sent off for a studs-up challenge on Jack Cork. Southampton looked like they were taking all the points back to the south coast, but Cameron Jerome - who came off the bench in second-half - hit a 30-yard-screamer in the 90th minute to level the score.  

Key Battle

Xherdan Shaqiri vs Ryan Bertrand

The man Stoke City will look to on Saturday is Xherdan Shaqiri. The Swiss international has been pulling the Potters through games in recent weeks. He has a goal in each of his last three league games, but so far has failed to come up with a winning goal during his purple patch.

Opposite him is Saints left-back Ryan Bertrand. The Englishman has been one of Southampton's most consistent performers this season and a player Shaqiri will do well to get the better of.

Shaqiri is no stranger to long range strikes and seems to exclusively score goals from outside the box. Bertrand cannot give Shaqiri any space to work his magic if the Saints want to cancel out Stoke's biggest goal threat. 

Team News

Charlie Austin and Maya Yoshida remain Southampton's two long-term injury concerns. Austin is still recovering from a thigh injury, while Yoshida is ruled out with a knee problem.

Steven Davis and Shane Long are doubts for Saturday's fixture and face late tests to be fit in time for the fixture. 

For Stoke, Ryan Shawcross and Peter Crouch returned to training this week and should be available for selection. Steven Ireland is ruled out with a calf strain and Lee Grant is sidelined with a broken wrist. 

Potential Southampton Starting Lineup: McCarthy; Cedric, Stephens, Hoedt, Bertrand; Romeu, Lemina; Ward-Prowse, Tadic, Redmind; Carrillo

Potential Stoke City Starting Lineup: Butland; Bauer, Shawcross, Zouma Stafylidis; Cameron, Ndiaye; Shaqiri, Allen, Choupo-Moting; Diouf


Lynne Cameron/GettyImages

This is a must win game for both sides and a tough one to call. Stoke City have failed to win in any of their last nine away league games. Meanwhile, Southampton have only won once in their last 15 league games. 

Neither side are scoring a lot of goals, but they will both know that this is game that they really have to win. There's a good chance that the teams could share the spoils here.

Prediction: Southampton 1-1 Stoke City

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