Match Preview: Saints vs Middlesbrough

By SFC Media Sat 10 Dec Saints vs Boro

Get set for Southampton's Premier League clash against Middlesbrough at St Mary's with our comprehensive match preview.

What’s at stake?

Saints head into the clash against Middlesbrough looking to bounce back from their UEFA Europa League exit following a 1-1 draw against Hapoel Be’er Sheva.

Now they must get back up and go again which they so often have this season as they enter a busy month of action.

Claude Puel’s men go into the weekend in 12th place in the Premier League, with opponents Boro one place below them.

The visitors will arrive buoyed by an important 1-0 victory over Hull City at the Riverside Stadium, with former Saint Gastón Ramírez on target.

Prior to that, Aitor Karanka’s side picked up a valuable point on the road at reigning champions Leicester City. Their solitary away win came against Sunderland when Cristhian Stuani scored twice.

Team news

Southampton: Charlie Austin has been ruled out of the game against Boro with the shoulder injury sustained in the Europa League clash against Hapoel Be’er Sheva.

Claude Puel confirmed that the full extent of the damage is yet to be revealed.

Puel is hoping to have Jay Rodriguez and Sofiane Boufal available after both missed Thursday’s fixture with minor injuries.

Dušan Tadić could be in line for his first start after making a substitute appearance.

Middlesbrough: Álvaro Negredo, Gastón Ramírez and Jordan Rhodes are all doubts for the weekend, while George Friend will also be unavailable for the visitors as he continues his recovery.

Form guide

Southampton’s last five:

AC Sparta Praha (h) D 1-1 (Europa League)
Crystal Palace (a) L 3-0
Arsenal (a) W 2-0 (EFL Cup quarter final)
Everton (h) W 1-0
AC Sparta Praha (a) L 1-0 (Europa League)

Middlesbrough’s last five:

Hull City (h) W 1-0
Leicester City (a) D 2-2
Chelsea (h) L 1-0
Manchester City (a) D 2-2
AFC Bournemouth (h) W 2-0

Top performers

Dušan Tadic may make his first start since his injury during the last international break.

The diminutive playmaker was key for Saints before that and he will be hoping to add to his one goal and one assist, having created 39 chances in the current campaign.

Top scorers: Charlie Austin (9), Nathan Redmond (3)
Most assists: Six players (1)

Álvaro Negredo has netted three goals and registered three assists so far this season, having joined on a season-long loan from Valencia in the summer.

Should he be fit to feature, former Southampton midfielder Gastón Ramirez could also be a threat for the visitors, as he looks to follow up his winning goal against Hull City.

Gastón Ramirez celebrates scoring against Hull City

Top scorers: Álvaro Negredo (3), Cristhian Stuani (2), Gastón Ramírez (2)
Most assists: Álvaro Negredo (3), Stewart Downing, Gastón Ramírez, Viktor Fischer (2)

Previous meetings

All-time record:

Played: 55
Southampton: 23
Draws: 15
Middlesbrough: 17

Last four meetings:

April 2012: Middlesbrough 2-1 Southampton (Sharp)
October 2011: Southampton 3-0 Middlesbrough (Do Prado 2, Connolly)
March 2005: Middlesbrough 1-3 Southampton (Jakobsen, Crouch 2)
December 2004: Southampton 2-2 Middlesbrough (Phillips, Crouch)

Did you know?

- Southampton have allowed their opponents just 35 shots on target in the Premier League this season; the best record in the competition in 2016-17 so far.

- This will be the first Premier League game between Southampton and Middlesbrough since March 2005, which Saints won 3-1 at the Riverside Stadium.

Not at the game?

Don’t worry if you’re not here for the game on Sunday, as we’ll be keeping you right up to date.

Our Matchday Live centre on southamptonfc.com will feature build-up and team news ahead of kick-off, as well as live updates from the game and FREE audio commentary.

Additionally, our social media channels will also be offering exclusive, behind-the-scenes access, as well as updates from the match.

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