Get game ready for Saturday's return to Premier League action at West Ham's London Stadium with our pre-match preview..
West Ham United vs Southampton
Saturday 31st March, 3.00pm BST
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
There is no doubt this is a game of real significance for both sides, given their standing in the Premier League table.
Saints will begin the weekend in the bottom three but will enter the final strait of the season with renewed optimism following the appointment of Mark Hughes and a morale-boosting 2-0 win over Wigan in the Emirates FA Cup quarter-final in their last outing.
West Ham are one place and two points better off having lost three consecutive league games by three goals or more.
With Arsenal and Chelsea to follow for both sides, a decisive result could be crucial at London Stadium. Goals from Manolo Gabbiadini, Dušan Tadić and Charlie Austin separated the pair in August.
Southampton: The Saints squad received two welcome boosts over the international break as far as injuries were concerned.
Charlie Austin rejoined the group out on the grass for the first time last week since limping out of December’s draw with Huddersfield clutching his hamstring. Likewise, Maya Yoshida is likely to available having been absent since February with a knee problem.
West Ham: Late calls are expected to be made on trio James Collins, Manuel Lanzini and Cheikhou Kouyaté. Defender Collins is a major doubt after limping out of the Hammers’ friendly against Dagenham and Redbridge during the international break.
Lanzini picked up a knock in Argentina’s 2-0 win over Italy at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester before sitting out his team’s heavy defeat to Spain.
A stomach bug may also keep defensive midfielder Kouyaté out of action.
Southampton’s previous five:
Wigan (a) W 2-0 (FA Cup)
Newcastle (a) L 3-0
Stoke (h) D 0-0
Burnley (a) D 1-1
West Brom (a) W 2-1 (FA Cup)
West Ham’s previous five:
Burnley (h) L 3-0
Swansea (a) L 4-1
Liverpool (a) L 4-1
Watford (h) W 2-0
Brighton (a) L 3-1
In a difficult season, the performances and on and off-field demeanour of Pierre-Emile Højbjerg has been a bright spot for Saints fans.
The Dane netted his first goal for the club to hand his team the lead at the DW Stadium, just reward for a typically combative and effective display in the centre of midfield.
Joining him on the scoresheet for the first time as a Saints player was Cédric, the Portuguese showing a deft touch and killer finish to secure a place at Wembley.
Top scorers: Charlie Austin (6), Manolo Gabbiadini (4), Dušan Tadić (4), James Ward-Prowse (4)
Most assists: Dušan Tadić (4), Nathan Redmond (4), Ryan Bertrand (3), James Ward-Prowse (3)
For West Ham, it is difficult to look beyond the form of Marko Arnautović at the moment. Once of Stoke under Mark Hughes, the striker has netted ten times in his last 15 appearances for club and country, including three in the past week.
Fellow frontman and Mexican international Javier Hernandez struck twice at St Mary’s earlier in the season.
Top scorers: Marko Arnautović (7), Javier Hernandez (7), André Ayew (6)
Most assists: Manuel Lanzini (5), André Ayew (3), Marko Arnautović (3)
West Ham United: 40
Previous four meetings:
August 2017: Southampton 3-2 West Ham United (Gabbiadini, Tadić, Austin)
February 2017: Southampton 1-3 West Ham United (Gabbiadini)
September 2016: West Ham United 0-3 Southampton (Austin, Tadić, Ward-Prowse)
February 2016: Southampton 1-0 West Ham United (Yoshida)
DID YOU KNOW?
• All three of James Ward-Prowse’s league goals for Southampton this season have come away from home – no player in the competition has scored more with 100 per cent of them coming on the road so far in 2017-18.
• The Hammers are currently on 999 top-flight defeats, and could become the 16th club to reach 1000 losses in the top division of English football.
NOT AT THE GAME?
Not in the capital on Saturday! We’ll be with you every step of the way on our interactive match centre at southamptonfc.com, where we will have all the build-up, as well as in-game updates and free live audio commentary.