Southampton’s Premier League future is almost secure after beating Swansea at the Liberty Stadium, leaving the Welsh side desperate for Huddersfield to blow a gasket in their final two games of the season if they are to avoid relegation.
Swansea 0 v 1 Southampton
When you’ve had a baby stuck on your left boob for 18-months, the opportunity for a peaceful night in a hotel is well received. Throw a spa treatment into the mix, and you are on cloud nine.
The Vale of Glamorgan would be my other half’s home for the night. I would take care of the little one. Things went well until 7 am when she wouldn’t stop crying. I headed for the Vale desperately seeking a boob. When I got there, my wife looked like she hadn’t slept a wink.
“Fire alarm at 1 am.” My wife told me.
The hotel refused to offer compensation for ruining her only night of peace in two-years.
“I’m not going back there again.” She said.
Southampton Manager, Mark Hughes, will.
On the eve of THE match of his managerial career, the Saints squad were forced to leave the Marriot in Swansea because of a viral outbreak. Wales is not renowned for their top quality hotels. The team ended up in the Vale of Glamorgan, close to Cardiff. The fire alarms remained silent. Hughes and his boys had a restful kip. It showed on the pitch.
After Swansea’s defeat at Bournemouth on the weekend, Carlos Carvahal said, “He wasn’t worried” about the fate of his side. With two home games against Southampton and Stoke to come, the Portuguese manager felt his team were strong enough at home to see them escape relegation.
But they went into their penultimate game of the season against Southampton sitting in the bottom three, winless in seven games, scoring only twice in that time. It was a far cry from the early impact Carvahal had when he won five of his first nine games in charge after replacing Paul Clement in December.
With Man City visiting on the final day of the season, Mark Hughes knew he needed three points at the Liberty Stadium. The game was drab, dull and dire. The tension rained down from the stands, making the match often unbearable to watch.
Then with 18-minutes remaining, Hughes replaced Jan Bednarek with Marco Gabbiadini, and within five minutes, the Italian had scored one of the most important goals in Southampton’s history.
After the wild celebrations died down, Swansea did nothing but hoof the ball into the penalty in desperation, but the Welsh side has failed to score at home in seven games, more than any other in the Premier League – what a day to make it eight.
The victory for Southampton relegates West Brom, and almost certainly means the South Coast club is safe. They are three points clear of Swansea with a +9 goal difference, meaning Swansea need to hammer Stoke, and Southampton needs to fall apart against Man City.
City are good, but they’re not that good.
All of this means Swansea’s only hope of escape comes in the shape of Huddersfield. The Terriers visit Stamford Bridge tonight knowing a point will be enough to keep them safe. But with Chelsea chasing a Champions League spot, they will surely take all three points.
Swansea has a +2 goal difference over Huddersfield, and David Wagner’s men have to face Arsenal at home in the final game of the season. It’s more than likely that Huddersfield will lose both of their remaining games. If Swansea can beat Stoke, then the Premier League could still be witnessing a Welsh derby next season.
Premier League Relegation Odds
The Fight For Relegation
Chelsea v Huddersfield
To be Played on Saturday
Huddersfield v Arsenal
Swansea v Stoke
Premier League Table
1. Man City – 94
2. Man Utd – 77
3. Liverpool – 72
4. Spurs – 71
5. Chelsea – 69
6. Arsenal – 60
7. Burnley – 54
8. Everton – 49
9. Leicester – 44
10. Newcastle – 41
11. Crystal Palace – 41
12. Bournemouth – 41
13. Watford – 41
14. Brighton – 40
15. West Ham – 38
16. Southampton – 36
17. Huddersfield – 36
18. Swansea – 33
19. West Brom – 31
20. Stoke – 30