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Stoke vs Southampton Premier League Preview

December 29, 2012


Southampton travel north on Saturday for the unenviable task of facing a Stoke City side unbeaten in their last nine Premier League matches and who are yet to lose at home this season.

Arsenal, Manchester City, Everton and Liverpool are among the teams to have tried and failed to breach fortress Britannia so far this campaign, and with only one league win on the road to their name, there is little reason to think Nigel Adkins' visitors will fare any better.

Their form is actually not too bad, with three wins and two draws in their last seven matches having lifted them out of the relegation zone, albeit only by a point.

But they have been at their weakest when away from St Mary's and will need to plug the gaps that saw them concede six at the Emirates Stadium, four at Upton Park and three at both the Etihad Stadium and Goodison Park if they are to have any hope of avoiding defeat against Stoke.

Goals have also been in short supply of late, with Jason Puncheon's strike against fellow strugglers Reading at the start of December being their only one from open play in their last four matches.

Tony Pulis' side, on the other hand, are on one of their strongest runs of form since they returned to the top flight in 2008 and have their sights firmly set on European qualification.

Confidence is coursing through the veins after a comprehensive 3-1 victory over Liverpool on Boxing Day in which Stoke were as impressive going forward as they were at the back.

Their current front two appear to be getting back to somewhere near their best form, with Jon Walters having struck a classy brace against Liverpool and Kenwyne Jones capitalising on the absence of Peter Crouch by netting twice in his last three matches.



Stoke manager Tony Pulis will be forced into a defensive reshuffle. 

Captain Ryan Shawcross and right-back Geoff Cameron both serve one-match bans for accruing five bookings this season. 

It means Matthew Upson is likely to replace Shawcross in the centre of the back four, with Ryan Shotton coming in for Cameron.


Adam Lallana will be on the sidelines once again for Southampton. 

The Saints captain picked up a knee problem against Reading on December 8 and has not featured since. 

Manager Nigel Adkins revealed one or two unnamed players picked up knocks in the 1-1 draw with Fulham on Boxing Day, but expects them to be available at the Britannia Stadium.


Source: SkySports


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