Southampton host Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League this Saturday, with both sides desperately in need of points to secure their current positions in the table.
Mauricio Pochettino's men have fallen out of the title race after taking just a single point from their last three league games, with their focus now switching towards ensuring a top four finish.
Hosts Southampton sit one place and two points above the relegation zone. They will view this game against a weary Spurs side as a decent opportunity to put some daylight between themselves and those languishing below.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Saturday 9 March|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||15:00 (GMT)|
|Where Is it Played?||St Mary's Stadium|
|TV Channel/Live Stream||BBC Final Score/BT Sport Score|
Danny Ings is in line for a return to the Saints matchday squad having recovered from a hamstring strain. However, Ralph Hasenhüttl will be without Mario Lemina who continues to struggle with an abdominal problem. Youngster Michael Obafemi is the only other player unavailable with the Irishman out for the rest of the campaign.
Spurs' injury crisis appears to be over, giving Pochettino a near full-strength squad to pick from. The Argentine is the most notable absentee for Saturday's clash; he serves the first of a two game touchline ban after a row with referee Mike Dean last week.
Dele Alli is the sole member of the squad likely to be missing for the trip to St. Mary's. The England international pulled his thigh muscle in January and watched from the stands during his team's 1-0 victory away to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday night.
|Southampton||Gunn; Bednarek, Vestergaard, Yoshida; Valery, Hojberg, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Bertrand; Redmond, Austin.|
|Tottenham||Lloris; Trippier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Winks, Dier, Eriksen; Son, Kane.|
Head to Head Record
Tottenham have won 10 of the 13 games between the sides since Southampton were promoted back to the Premier League in 2012. Saints have been victorious just once in that run, securing a 2-1 win at White Hart Lane three seasons ago.
The broader picture looks significantly brighter for Hasenhüttl and his players; the overall record currently stands at a much more respectable 81 wins to 62, in favour of Saturday's visitors.
Unfortunately for the Austrian, it is difficult to look beyond recent match-ups, which make unpleasant reading for the south coast outfit. They have lost four of the last five encounters, with an aggregate score of 15-6 heavily weighted towards Spurs.
Southampton have made a marked improvement under the tutelage of the former RB Leipzig boss, who has led the side towards Premier League survival since replacing Mark Hughes in December.
Despite a spirited display, they lost 3-2 away to Manchester United last time out. A comfortable victory over Fulham preceded that defeat at Old Trafford and means they have taken seven points from their previous four home fixtures, a run of form they will be looking to continue against their former manager.
Spurs sit at the opposite end of the table to their hosts, though recent form may suggest otherwise. A stoppage-time penalty save against Arsenal from Hugo Lloris prevented a third consecutive league defeat for his side, who had fallen to Burnley and Chelsea prior.
The games at Turf Moor and Stamford Bridge form part of a dreadful sequence of away results for Tottenham; they have lost their last four on the road in domestic competition. However, Tuesday night's success in Dortmund will go some way to restoring their self belief away from Wembley.
Here is how the side's have fared in their last five matches:
|Manchester United 3-2 Southampton (02/03)||Borussia Dortmund 0-1 Tottenham (05/02)|
|Southampton 2-0 Fulham (27/02)||Tottenham 1-1 Arsenal (02/03)|
|Arsenal 2-0 Southampton (24/02)||Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham (27/02)|
|Southampton 1-2 Cardiff City (09/02)||Burnley 2-1 Tottenham (23/02)|
|Burnley 1-1 Southampton (02/02)||Tottenham 3-0 Borussia Dortmund (13/02)|
The standard of their performance and the narrow margin of defeat against United will give Saints a significant boost. That added impetus, combined with the confidence from recent results at home, should see them pose Spurs some genuine problems.
Away fixtures in the Champions League can be energy-sapping, considerably impacting a side's performance in the following fixture. The visitor's midweek efforts at the Westfalenstadion could allow Southampton the chance to take something from this fixture.
The likelihood of this is only increased by Pochettino's absence from the dugout and the recent troubles his side have endured in the league.
Prediction: Southampton 0-0 Tottenham