Southampton will hope to secure a place in next season’s Europa League when they FA Cup finalists Crystal Palace at St Mary’s, as the race for qualification reaches its climax this weekend.
The Saints are finding form at just the right time ahead of their final push for European football next term, and come into the final match of the season on a run of three successive wins, including an impressive 2-1 victory against second-placed Tottenham at White Hart Lane last Sunday.
Ronald Koeman will have to focus his side amid widespread speculation linking the Dutch boss to Everton following the departure of Roberto Martinez on Thursday, although he has denied any interest in moving away from the south coast outfit.
Alan Pardew takes his Crystal Palace side back to his former team, and they could well have one eye on their FA Cup final against Manchester United at Wembley, after securing Premier League football next season.
The Eagles have only lost seven away games this term, compared to the 10 defeats they have suffered at home, so they will be confident on the road and wanting to finish their season on a high.
Palace can still finish as high as 12th in the standings despite picking up just two league wins in 2016.
Ronald Koeman has confirmed that midfielder Jordy Clasie is the only absentee for Saints, but Graziano Pelle will be pushing for a start after coming on as a substitute in the win at Spurs last weekend.
Southampton have also been boosted with the news that Fraser Forster and James Ward-Prowse have both signed new long-term deals at the club.
Meanwhile, the visitors could welcome Yohan Cabaye and Wilfred Zaha back from niggles, but Pardw may be tempted to rest the duo ahead of the FA Cup final.
They will, however, be missing Joe Ledley. The Welshman suffered a broken leg last week which looks set to rob him of his place in the Wales squad for Euro 2016.
League Positions: Southampton – 7th (60 pts); Crystal Palace – 14th (42 pts)
Previous Meetings: Southampton 1-2 Crystal Palace (January 9, 2016 – FA Cup)
Form: Southampton – LWDWWW; Crystal Palace – WDDLLW
Key Men: Southampton – Sadio Mane; Crystal Palace – Yannick Bolasie
Shoot Says: Southampton 2-1 Crystal Palace