Southampton can cement third place in the Premier League if they can complete the double over a West Ham United side looking to improve on a run of just one win in seven.
Sadio Mane has starred for the Saints in recent weeks, and it was he who secured a deserved victory last time out at Queens Park Rangers with an impressive late strike. In truth, the game could have been wrapped up earlier, with the pace of the Mali international and Eljero Elia causing numerous problems.
It was the best possible way to recover from the frustration of losing to Swansea City, and strengthened their position in the Champions League places. The defence has maintained its incredibly high standards throughout the season, with Fraser Forster presiding over the top-flight’s best clean sheet record.
Frustratingly for Sam Allardyce, his West Ham team have found shut-outs a rare commodity in the Premier League of late, and they were prevented from earning a fine win over Manchester United on Sunday by a last-gasp equaliser, which also continued a recent knack of squandering leads.
That said, they are still having a strong season and have aspirations of a top-six finish. Injuries are a slight problem at present, but Cheikhou Kouyate made light of that with a terrific performance as a makeshift central defender on Sunday, with his well-taken goal adding to some fine defensive work.
Ryan Bertrand is still suspended for Southampton and remains out along with Toby Alderweireld, Shane Long and Jay Rodriguez. However, Morgan Schneiderlin could return to the midfield.
West Ham will assess Kevin Nolan and James Tomkins, while James Collins and Winston Reid are still out. Andy Carroll has outside chance of coming back from injury.
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