Preview: Swans v Southampton
Swansea City take on Southampton tonight in one of the biggest games since they were promoted to Premier League seven years ago.
In fact, it may just be the most significant fixture the Swans have faced since Reading at Wembley back in 2011.
On that memorable May day in London, the Swans were fighting to get into the Premier League.
This evening, they will be scrapping to stay in it.
It is not quite winner-takes-all, for the Swans have another game remaining this season, against already-relegated Stoke City at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday.
Southampton, meantime, will play host to Manchester City on the final day.
As it stands, the Saints have the upper hand. Their weekend draw at Everton, coupled with the Swans’ defeat at Bournemouth, means Mark Hughes’s team are above this evening’s opponents – and therefore a place outside the bottom three – on goal difference.
Yet with the champions to come at the weekend, Southampton will be desperate to put some points on the board tonight.
There are other sides in the mix, with 19th-placed West Brom still alive and Huddersfield, who are 16th, not yet safe.
But Carlos Carvalhal has been saying for weeks that rather than worrying about their rivals, the Swans must focus on getting results themselves.
In recent times, they have not done that often enough.
Since thrashing West Ham in early March, Carvalhal’s men have failed to win in seven league matches.
They have been unfortunate at times, and they have also come up against a number of the top sides during that run.
But there can be no excuses tonight. The Swans simply have to deliver on their own patch, and the good news is that they have done that on a number occasions under Carvalhal.
If they can triumph once more this evening, they will hold the upper hand heading into the weekend. That must be the target.
The Swans are again thought likely to be without Kyle Bartley (knee), while Leroy Fer and Wilfried Bony are on the long-term injured list.
But Federico Fernandez and Luciano Narsingh both came through unscathed after returning to action at Bournemouth, while Kyle Naughton will hope to return to the squad after illness.
Southampton are without centre-back Maya Yoshida after he was sent off late on against Everton, while skipper Steven Davis is a doubt along with fellow midfielder Mario Lemina.
WHAT THEY SAID
Connor Roberts: “We have to focus on getting results. There’s always been confidence and hope in the dressing room that we can stay in this division.”
Carlos Carvalhal: “We have got to this moment and everything is in our hands, so let’s do it. If we do our job, we know we stay in this league.”
Martin Olsson: “We have everything to play for in these two games and being at home is a big bonus. There are no excuses for us – we must deliver.”
Southampton boss Mark Hughes: "We have a massive game coming up against Swansea and that will probably determine who stays up and who goes down."
LAST SIX MEETINGS
12.08.17 Southampton 0 Swans 0
31.01.17 Swans 2 Southampton 1
18.09.16 Southampton 1 Swans 0
13.02.16 Swans 0 Southampton 1
26.09.15 Southampton 3 Swans 1
01.02.15 Southampton 0 Swans 1
7 – The Swans have won seven of their 11 home fixtures since Carlos Carvalhal took charge. Their only defeats have been against Tottenham (twice) and Chelsea, and in two of those games the Swans deserved more than they got.
37 – In the 22 years in which the Premier League has been a 20-team competition, the average number of points needed to finish in 17th place, one above the drop zone, is 37. The Swans have 33 with two home games to come.