Swansea City are the next opponents to try and stop an in-form Southampton side in their tracks when the two Premier League outfits clash at the Liberty Stadium this afternoon.
Having won four of their previous five league outings, Ronald Koeman’s Saints have soared up to seventh in the standings, just four points adrift of fifth-placed Manchester United following their slender 1-0 victory over West Ham United last Saturday.
Meanwhile the Swans, who currently lie just four points above the English top-flight’s bottom three at the wrong end of the table, have plateaued to 1-1 draws against Crystal Palace and West Brom in recent weeks.
The visitors will be keen to build upon their great record against the Welsh club, with Southampton having won four of their last five league meetings with Swansea, although they suffered a surprise home defeat last season (0-1).
But since the arrival of new head coach Francesco Guidolin back in mid-January; who replaced former boss Garry Monk at the helm, the Swans have gone unbeaten in his four-game reign, which started with encouraging back-to-back wins over Watford and Everton respectively.
However the Italian manager will be determined to iron out his side’s latest defensive frailty, with the Swans’ last three goals conceded all coming from set pieces.
Meanwhile at the opposite end of the pitch; the home supporters will be urging Iceland international Gylfi Sigurdsson to continue his fine form in front of goal having netted five times in his last six Premier League appearances.
As for the Saints; they have not conceded a single goal since Swansea brought in their new head coach. England international goalkeeper Fraser Forster has returned from injury in remarkable fashion to save all 14 shots he has faced in their terrific five-game unbeaten run.
In fact you have to go back to Alex Tettey’s winner at Carrow Road back on January 2 for the last time Southampton let one past their own ‘keeper.
Swans midfielder Ki Sung-yueng is available for selection after recovering from the concussion which ruled him out of last Saturday’s draw with Crystal Palace.
Other than that, boss Guidolin has no fresh injury worries ahead of Saints’ trip to the Liberty Stadium.
However opposing manager Koeman will be unable to call upon fellow central midfielder Victor Wanyama as the Kenya international starts his five-match ban after receiving his third red card of the season against West Ham last weekend.
Teammate Steven Davis (Hamstring) and defender Matt Targett (Ankle) should return to the matchday squad after the duo returned from respective injuries, although the game will come too soon for striker Jay Rodriguez (Ankle).
League Positions: Swansea – 16th (27 pts); Southampton – 7th (37 pts)
Previous Meeting: Southampton 3-1 Swansea – September 26, 2015
League Form: Swansea – LLWWDD; Southampton – LWWWDW
Key Players: Swansea – Gylfi Sigurdsson; Southampton – Fraser Forster
Shoot Says: Swansea 1-2 Southampton