Swansea City vs Southampton Preview: Crucial six-pointer in dramatic relegation battle

Swansea City vs Southampton Preview: Crucial six-pointer in dramatic relegation battle

Two sides at the wrong end of the table are battling it out to retain their Premier League status, and go head-to-head in south Wales on Tuesday.

Ryan White

Swansea City host one of the most critical games of the campaign as they entertain a Southampton team who are scrapping around the bottom-three as well, and the outcome of this encounter will more or less dictate who becomes a victim of the drop to the Championship

The final score line could have detrimental impact to West Bromwich Albion; if either side happen to claim the three points then the respectable revival of the Baggies will be nothing other than an admiration as that may see them fall to the second-tier of English football. 

Carlos Carvalhal's Swans suffered a damaging result at the weekend having lost to the single goal on the south coast to AFC Bournemouth, meanwhile the Saints conceded a heartbreaking injury-time equaliser on Merseyside to Sam Allardyce's Everton on Saturday; meaning the relegation dog fight remains wide open going into the last two outings for these two clubs. 

Carvalhal lacking squad depth 

Unfortunate for Swansea City as they approach this game with a number of key first-team members absent from the matchday squad. Forward Wilfried Bony, who has failed to impress since his return last summer, is injured, as is midfielder Leroy Fer, notorious for his several relegations from the top-flight, and centre-half Kyle Bartley

Former Tottenham Hotspur man Kyle Naughton was missing from his side's defeat to AFC Bournemouth through illness. 

Late test for Saints

Mark Hughes will be eager to hear the news of midfielder Mario Lemina who faces a late fitness test prior to the trip to Wales, following a thigh strain the 24 year-old picked up at Goodison Park which did force him off. 

Veteran and captain Steven Davis continues to sit on the sidelines as a result of his injury. The Northern Ireland international has made 23 Premier League appearances this season but has not featured for Southampton since the goalless draw to Leicester City last month. 

Defender Maya Yoshida is also unavailable for selection with him serving a suspension. 

Swans backing Liberty Stadium as fortress

Swansea City boss Carlos Carvalhal has become a popular figure across the border, especially with his prolific home form since being appointed manager in late 2017. The ex-Sheffield Wednesday man has only seen Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea come away with victories to shout about. 

Meaning, the Portuguese is hoping his players can take advantage of home turf; ''My players will give the maximum, the fans will give the maximum, and when we play in Liberty, usually, we are a strong team, and it is our (plan) to be a strong team on Tuesday."

"All of them. Possibly the cup game against Tottenham was the game that was hard for us. All the others, we dominated and were better than our opponents.''

Redmond Hughes' saviour?

The Saints side has wholeheartedly unimpressed the entire campaign, both home and away, but the slight rejuvenation since Mark Hughes' incoming has seen several players lift their heads up in anticipation to keep the St. Mary's outfit in the Premier League. 

One first-team member Hughes is backing to play a key role in Southampton's game at Swansea is Nathan Redmond, having netted his first goal of the term at the weekend against Everton; ''I haven't been at the club that long and I think it was just Nathan, he is basically an outstanding player, he lost a little bit of confidence maybe and that was evident in his play."

"I obviously had to make the decision not to start him so he was disappointed with that but it didn't affect his focus on the game itself because that was why he was able to make the impact he did."