MX23RW : Sunday, September 23 12:42:54
Oct 18, 2014 at 3pm UK at ​St Mary's Stadium
Southampton
8-0
Sunderland
Vergini (12' og.), Pelle (18', 69'), Cork (37'), Bridcutt (63' og.), Tadic (78'), Wanyama (79'), Mane (86')
Schneiderlin (50')
FT(HT: 3-0)

Wickham (9'), Cattermole (25'), Bridcutt (82')

Preview: Southampton vs. Sunderland

Sports Mole previews the Premier League clash between hosting Southampton and Sunderland, who have not lost in their last eight matches against the Saints.

Two sides who broke for the international fixtures on the back of contrasting results meet on Saturday as Southampton host Sunderland in the Premier League.

The Saints saw a run of four straight wins, which had taken them to second in the table, ended by former manager Mauricio Pochettino at White Hart Lane.

Meanwhile, Sunderland's strikers found form to fire them to their first top-flight win of the season as Steven Fletcher scored a double to down Stoke City, after Connor Wickham's fourth-minute opener.

Black Cats boss Gus Poyet has admitted that the victory has put a new spin on their start to the campaign, pointing out that they have now only lost one of their opening seven matches on their way to 13th spot.

Southampton's rapid adaptation to life under Ronald Koeman has surprised many who had tipped the South Coast club to struggle following the departure of five of their most important players over the summer.

However, Koeman has moved to assure Saints fans this week that he will not be leaving them to manage the Netherlands, should his country axe Guus Hiddink and come calling as some reports have suggested.

The Dutch did not enjoy as cheerful an international break as John O'Shea, who returns to Sunderland having scored a 94th-minute equaliser against Germany on his 100th Republic of Ireland cap.

The defender, who signed a new contract at the Stadium of Light this week to boot, may not be partnered by former Manchester United teammate Wes Brown at St Mary's Stadium, with Poyet likely to persist with the O'Shea and Santiago Vergini combination which started against the Potters a fortnight ago.

That means that Billy Jones should continue at right-back in a visiting lineup showing just one change - the more physical and industrious presence of Jack Rodwell in midfield in place of the silky Jordi Gomez.

Koeman is still without Jay Rodriguez, James Ward-Prowse, Maya Yoshida and Sam Gallacher, but saw the rest of his squad return unscathed from their international exploits.

Graziano Pelle, who scored his first Italy goal to earn them a narrow win in Malta, will continue to lead the Saints line and could be supported by Shane Long, if Sadio Mane's travelling to and from Africa is taken into consideration.

Sunderland are unbeaten in eight games against Southampton, who themselves have not lost in five home matches.

Recent form

Southampton: LWWWWW

Sunderland: WDLDDL

Possible starting lineups

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

Sunderland: Mannone; Jones, O'Shea, Vergini, Van Aanholt; Larsson, Cattermole, Rodwell; Buckley, Fletcher, Wickham

Sports Mole says: 1-0

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

Southampton
Sunderland
Draw
Southampton
64.8%
Sunderland
22.5%
Draw
12.7%
Nathan Dyer of Swansea City is tackled by Billy Jones of Sunderland during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Swansea City at Stadium of Light on September 27, 2014
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Player Ratings: Sunderland 0-0 Swansea City
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