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Brighton vs Saints
Saturday 30th March, 3pm GMT
Referee: Michael Oliver
Assistants: Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett
Fourth official: Graham Scott
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The teams head into this one separated by just three points in the Premier League. Victory would put Saints level with their hosts on 33 as both look to move away from danger in the final stages of the season.
Despite it being three weeks ago, Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men will no doubt be buoyed by their comeback victory over Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary’s last time out.
Harry Kane’s goal meant Saints had trailed with 15 minutes to go, before Yan Valery’s equaliser and James Ward-Prowse’s stunning free-kick earned a precious three points in the fight for survival.
Brighton have won their last two Premier League games, which was more than they had in their previous 12 combined (W1 D3 L8) and they will be hoping to build further momentum on Saturday.
All three Premier League meetings between Brighton and Southampton have ended as a draw. Only three previous Premier League fixtures have ended as a draw in their first four meetings – Arsenal vs QPR, Southampton vs Stoke City and Bournemouth vs Watford.
Southampton: Ralph Hasenhüttl says he has no fresh injury concerns off the back of the international break, but will be without Shane Long who was forced to withdraw from the Republic of Ireland squad.
Danny Ings has been in full training and is in contention to make the squad, while Mario Lemina has also been with the group.
Brighton: Chris Hughton has revealed that he will be without Pascal Gross for the weekend, while a late decision will be made on the fitness of striker Florin Andone.
Southampton’s last five:
Tottenham (h) W 2-1 (Valery, Ward-Prowse)
Man Utd (a) L 2-3 (Valery, Ward-Prowse)
Fulham (h) W 2-0 (Romeu, Ward-Prowse)
Arsenal (a) L 0-2
Cardiff (h) L 1-2 (Stephens)
Brighton’s last five:
Millwall (a) D 2-2 (Won 5-4 on pens) (Emirates FA Cup)
Crystal Palace (a) W 1-2
Huddersfield (h) W 1-0
Leicester City (a) L 2-1
Derby County (h) W 2-1 (Emirates FA Cup)
Ralph Hasenhüttl: “We are happy that this break is over now. For the guys it is good to have the focus of a game at the weekend because it is a different kind of motivation. It’s the last eight games now and we know how important they are.
“I know people speak about a ‘six-pointer’ and it’s right because it is a team in our area and we can get close to them. In their last two games they have won so they will be more confident now, but for us it’s about the focus on our game.
Chris Hughton: “Ralph has done a very good job since arriving at Southampton. He’s combined a good way of playing with getting results and their recent matches have seen them put in very good performances.
“We know that some teams have a tougher task now down at the bottom of the league. We have to keep fighting and be as competitive as we can, whilst thinking about the teams around us being capable of winning matches.”
James Ward-Prowse’s displays in recent weeks have caught the eye. He was rewarded with a Three Lions’ call-up for their games against Czech Republic and Montenegro, earning his second cap in the latter of those fixtures.
If he were to score against Brighton this weekend, he would become the first player since Jay Rodriguez in March 2014 to score in four in a row for Saints.
Elsewhere, topscorer Danny Ings could play some part which would be a welcome boost heading into the final juncture of the campaign.
Previous five meetings:
September 2018: Southampton 2-2 Brighton (Højbjerg, Ings)
August 2018: Brighton 0-1 Southampton (Austin)
January 2018: Southampton 1-1 Brighton (Stephens)
October 2017: Brighton 1-1 Southampton (Davis)
January 2012: Brighton 3-0 Southampton
DID YOU KNOW?
- Southampton striker Charlie Austin has scored more goals in all competitions against Brighton (7) than he has against any other side since his debut in the Football League in October 2009.
- Southampton have scored a league-high ratio 32% of their Premier League goals from outside the box so far this season (11/34).
- Brighton have lost once at home against Southampton this season, losing 0-1 in the EFL Cup; only Derby County in 2013-14 have won twice away at the Amex in a single season against the Seagulls.
NOT AT THE GAME?
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