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Main » 2013 » April » 12 » Premier League : Southampton - West Ham

Premier League : Southampton - West Ham

premier leagueThree points for Southampton or West Ham United will all but guarantee their Premier League survival when they clash on Saturday.
After a 2-0 away win against Reading in their last fixture, Southampton have now won their last three games, including home wins against Chelsea and Liverpool, and are in 11th position on 37 points.

Coming off some solid results against Liverpool (0-0) and West Bromwich (3-1), West Ham are placed 12th in standings, behind their south-coast opponents only on goal difference but with a game in hand.

It would take a poor run for either of these sides to be relegated but three points in this clash at St Mary's Stadium would see the winner reach 40 points, a tally that only three teams have ever been relegated with in the Premier League era.

The last meeting between the two sides in October 2012 at Upton Park ended in a crushing 4-1 win to West Ham, midfielder Mark Noble netting a brace.

Since the appointment of Argentine Mauro Pochettino, Southampton have been playing a high-tempo pressing style that has been winning plaudits as well as points.

Striker Rickie Lambert has enjoyed a terrific debut Premier League season at 31 years of age, having banged in 14 goals in 32 appearances and can threaten the West Ham defence if provided with quality crosses and set-piece delivery.

Pochettino will have a full squad to choose from, a blessing at this time of season, with the club reporting no significant injuries.

The return to form of Andy Carroll will be welcomed by coach Sam Allardyce with the Liverpool loanee scoring five goals in his last nine games, including a brace in last week's clash against West Brom.

West Ham's two players unavailable for the match, Noble (arm) and George McCartney (knee), are both out for the rest of the season, with Gary O'Neil deputising solidly for the former.

The head-to-head record between the two teams is tight with Southampton claiming 21 wins, West Ham 19 victories and the points have been shared on 17 occasions.

There is no doubt that this battle will be close, and with both teams is good form of late, should be a great contest with Pochettino's intricate style versus Allardyce's direct style.
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