Preview: Southampton vs. Stoke City

Dusan Tadic and Graziano Pelle of Southampton celebrate during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Sunderland at St Mary's Stadium on October 18, 2014
© Getty Images
Sports Mole previews the Premier League clash between Southampton and Stoke at St Mary's Stadium, where the Saints hammered Sunderland 8-0 last weekend.

Southampton recorded their biggest ever Premier League victory last weekend as they hammered Sunderland 8-0 to continue their impressive response to a summer of turmoil.

A manager who had led them to an eighth-place finish and five of their best players left to prompt doubters into suggesting that the South Coast club would face a relegation battle this season.

It is fair to say that those fears do not exist anymore, with some shrewd recruitment and a rapid adaptation under Ronald Koeman helping them to third in the table, and leading to them now being tipped as outsiders for Champions League qualification.

Southampton's next Premier League test comes with Saturday's visit of 10th-placed Stoke City, who recently edged out Swansea City with a 2-1 win, from which the post-match war of words is still being fought.

Potters boss Mark Hughes slammed Garry Monk as "unacceptable" after his Swans counterpart accused Victor Moses of cheating to win a penalty, and has backed the FA's request for Monk to explain his comments.

Moses is an injury doubt for Stoke's trip to St Mary's Stadium, while Glenn Whelan has been ruled out for six weeks with a broken leg, joining Peter Odemwingie, Robert Huth and Marko Arnautovic on the sidelines.

Phil Bardsley should overcome a knock to continue at right-back and may play behind Jonathan Walters, who, along with Geoff Cameron, could have earned himself a start following his impact off the bench against Swansea.

Koeman will see no need to make changes to the starting XI which humiliated the Black Cats and therefore in-form summer signings Graziano Pelle and Dusan Tadic will continue in attacking areas.

The pair have seamlessly filled the voids left by Lambert and Lallana, with Pelle having scored seven goals in 10 games, but it was Tadic who stole the show last weekend with four assists and a goal of his own.

All four previous Premier League meetings between these sides have been drawn.

Recent form

Southampton: WLWWWW

Stoke: WLWWDL

Possible starting lineups

Southampton: Forster; Clyne, Alderweireld, Fonte, Bertrand; Cork; Wanyama, Davis; Tadic, Long, Pelle

Stoke: Begovic; Bardsley, Wilson, Shawcross, Pieters; Cameron, N'Zonzi; Walters, Adam, Diouf, Crouch

Sports Mole says: 2-0

Who will win Saturday's match between Southampton and Stoke at St Mary's?

Southampton
Stoke
Draw
Southampton
81.2%
Stoke
7.9%
Draw
10.9%
Sergio Aguero of Manchester City celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Etihad Stadium on October 18, 2014
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