A battle for Premier League survival continues at St Mary’s as basement boys Southampton entertain Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday afternoon.
Nathan Jones’ future in Hampshire is hanging by a thread after the Saints lost back-to-back league matches ‘to nil,’ losing further ground on 17th-placed West Ham United.
Desperate times require desperate measures, but after already cutting ties with long-serving manager Ralph Hasenhuttl earlier this season, Southampton may stick with Jones despite a string of poor results.
A four-point deficit on West Ham is not unbridgeable by any stretch of the imagination. However, Jones’ side must recover mentally after being booed off by their fans after a 3-0 defeat at Brentford last time out.
The upcoming visit of Wolves will do little to improve the mood at Southampton, with Julen Lopetegui’s charges coming into proceedings on the back of a 3-0 home rout of Liverpool.
Strikes from winter arrival Craig Dawson and Ruben Neves, coupled with Joel Matip’s own goal, helped Wolves bounce back from a 3-0 thumping at Manchester City on their last league travels.
While such an overwhelming triumph against such a prominent rival must have lifted the spirits in Lopetegui’s camp, a narrow two-point lead on 18th-placed Everton means now is not the time to get complacent.
Except for a come-from-behind 2-1 win at Everton in mid-January, out-of-sorts Southampton have suffered eight losses in their last nine outings in the Premier League.
If Jones is to keep hold of his job, his first assignment is to increase the Saints’ level of performance at St Mary’s, with no side from England’s top-four tiers lamenting fewer home points than them this term (six).
Southampton have only won one of their ten home league games in 2022/23 (D3, L6) and are one of just two sides yet to hit a ten-goal landmark on home turf in the Premier League (nine).
Like their hosts, Wolves’ scoring woes are well documented, as even though they put three goals past Liverpool last weekend, they’ve still netted fewer times than any other side in the Premier League (15).
Lopetegui’s arrival at the helm has at least improved Wolves’ shot conversion rate, with the team converting 10.6% of their attempts under the Spaniard compared to 4.5% before his appointment.
Given Southampton’s form issues, one goal may do the trick here, as Wolves aim to win five consecutive matches against a single opposition in the Premier League for the first time in history.
Southampton vs Wolverhampton Wanderers Potential Line-ups
Southampton (4-2-3-1): Gavin Bazunu; James Bree, Jan Bednarek, Mohammed Salisu, Romain Perraud; Carlos Alcaraz, Ibrahima Diallo; Samuel Edozie, James Ward-Prowse, Kamaldeen Sulemana; Paul Onuachu.
Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-3-3): Jose Sa; Nelson Semedo, Craig Dawson, Max Kilman, Rayan Ait-Nouri; Matheus Nunes, Ruben Neves, Mario Lemina; Adama Traore, Matheus Cunha, Pablo Sarabia.
How to Watch?
Southampton vs Wolverhampton Wanderers, alongside all other fixtures in England’s top flight, is available to watch online via live Premier League streams.
Southampton vs Wolverhampton Wanderers Prediction
The winter acquisitions of Kamaldeen Sulemana and Paul Onuachu from Rennes and Genk, respectively, are meant to bolster Southampton’s firepower in the fierce fight for survival.
Both players are expected to start on Saturday, but manager Jones has had little time to bring new additions up to speed, so it’s hard to see a new-look Saints side shining right away.
Despite utterly outclassing Liverpool, Wolves haven’t won consecutive league matches this season and we can envisage a share of the spoils.
Southampton 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
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