Saints go in search of their fourth consecutive home win when they host the Potters at St Mary’s on Saturday. Kick-off 3pm.
Southampton are one of five teams in the Premier League with an unblemished record on home soil, and thanks to last weekend’s 8-0 demolition of Sunderland on the south coast, Ronald Koeman’s team remain third in the league table with a goal difference only second to that of league leaders Chelsea.
Koeman will prepare his team for the first of two games in quick succession against Stoke, with Wednesday’s trip to the Britannia Stadium in the Capital One Cup also likely to come into his thoughts.
With no fresh injury concerns, only James Ward-Prowse, Sam Gallagher and Jay Rodriguez are out for the hosts, who will be searching for their first win over Stoke since returning to the top-flight.
In fact all four games home and away between the two teams have ended in stalemate, with 1-1 and 2-2 the results from last season.
Visitors Stoke have produced a mixed set of scorelines from their start to this season. Last weekend’s 2-1 victory over Swansea City saw them record back-to-back home successes, after defeats to Aston Villa and Leicester at the Britannia earlier on in the campaign.
It’s been a similar tale on their travels too. An impressive win at Manchester City was followed up by a 3-1 defeat to Sunderland on Wearside which has left them with 11 points to show from their opening eight matches.
Potters boss Mark Hughes was relieved to secure a win heading into this game, and feels their total return of points to-date is a fair one: “We are up into the top ten now which is a position that we probably feel our performances have warranted for the best part of the season so far,” said the Welshman, who makes another return to the club he spent two years with as a player during the late 1990s.
Midfielder Glenn Whelan has been ruled out for six weeks with a broken leg, but American international Geoff Cameron returned from being sidelined ahead of last weekend’s game.
Jonathan Moss has been appointed as the referee for this game. He took charge of Saints’ 1-0 win at Swansea City last month which saw the hosts reduced to ten men when Wilfried Bony was sent off for two bookable offences. Mr Moss officiated two Southampton games last season, both of which were defeats at St Mary’s to Aston Villa and Cardiff City.
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