Southampton v Cardiff City preview: A real relegation six-pointer

Southampton welcome Neil Warnock's Cardiff City to the South Coast on Saturday, for what could be a pivotal match in the race to beat the drop.

The Saints come into this game on the back of consecutive 1-1 draws in the league, against Burnley and Crystal Palace respectively. 

Cardiff's last result was a very impressive 2-0 victory of Bournemouth at the Cardiff City Stadium.

The reverse fixture ended in a 1-0 victory for Cardiff in South Wales, thanks to a goal from Callum Paterson, 16 minutes from time. That game was current Saints boss Ralph Hasenhüttl's first game in charge. 

The Hasenhüttl Revolution

Since that first game at the Cardiff City Stadium, Ralph Hasenhüttl has completely changed the mood on the south coast. 

Southampton are currently on a five-game unbeaten run in the league. The last time they had a better run was seven games, between April- August 2016. The Saints could also remain unbeaten for the first six games of a calendar year since, the start of 2010.

Saints boss Hasenhüttl had this to say in his pre-match press conference: "I don't think we're showing we have problems scoring, we have scored in nearly every game. We should be focused to have more clean sheets in the future.

Embed from Getty Images

"We know we gave two points away against Burnley in the last minute, and that hurts a lot.

"I think the reaction of the team will be a very focused one - and, to be honest, I don't want to play against my team on the weekend because they are really hot.

Will there be an upturn in form now

The victory over Bournemouth was Cardiff's first victory in five matches. Cardiff are also looking to make it three consecutive wins over Southampton for the first time since March 1963. Cardiff won on their last visit to St Mary's back in 2014, that ended a 13 match winless run for Cardiff on the south coast.

The Bluebirds are looking to win consecutive top-flight matches since April 1962. On the other hand, Cardiff have only won once on the road this season and have only scored seven times on their travels this season as well.

Neil Warnock said this on dealing with the death of Emiliano Sala in his pre-match press conference: "We all have things like this happen in our lifetime, you just have to move on. You don't ever forget things like this.

Embed from Getty Images

"You put things at the back of your mind, certain aspects of meeting Emiliano.

"Fortunately for me, the players have grasped that and now we've got 13 cup finals."

Team News

Danny Ings has been ruled out for up to three weeks with a hamstring issue. Ryan Bertrand is also out with a back problem. 

Maya Yoshida is back from his Asian Cup duties and Pierre-Emile Hojberg is also in contention after recovering from a concussion.

Harry Arter is back after being ineligible against Bournemouth. Victor Camaresa is back from injury but Bluebirds captain Sean Morrison will miss the trip.