Southampton head to London on the final day of the 2020/21 Premier League season and will be looking to end on a high note against West Ham.
Saints, although assured of a mid-table finish, have something still to play for. In a time where finances have been squeezed by the pandemic, they can secure vital funds by pushing up to 12th instead of a possible fall to 16th by the time the final ball of their season is kicked.
West Ham are still in the hunt for European qualification and can secure their 6th-placed finish with a point against Saints. Other results going their way could see them retain their Europa League position if they happen to lose to Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.
These sides played out a 0-0 draw when they met back in December and the point apiece saw them sitting 9th and 10th respectively in the table.
Ralph Hasenhuttl confirmed in his pre-match press conference that striker Che Adams would miss the final game of the season with a minor groin injury that he picked up against Leeds.
The Austrian also spoke positively on Oriol Romeu’s chances of being involved against West Ham, with Hampshire Live’s Tom Leach suggesting that the Spaniard had taken part in four full training sessions after recovering from his ankle fracture.
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Jan Bednarek returned to the bench on Tuesday and could come back into the starting line-up this weekend, which leaves midfielder Will Smallbone and Ryan Bertrand as the only absentees – the latter having played his last game for the club ahead of his departure at the end of June.
West Ham will be without Manuel Lanzini for the final fixture of their campaign, with European qualification very much in their sights.
Lukasz Fabianski and Arthur Masuaku could come back into plans after minor knee injuries kept them out in the 31 win over West Brom in midweek.
Predicted Saints line-up
Fraser Forster; Kyle Walker-Peters, Jan Bednarek, Jannik Vestergaard, Jack Stephens; James Ward-Prowse, Stuart Armstrong; Theo Walcott, Nathan Redmond; Danny Ings, Nathan Tella
Jan Bednarek could come back into the starting line-up, which could also see Jack Stephens shift to left-back.
Nathan Redmond could start again with the forwards rotated consistently in recent weeks, and Nathan Tella will surely fill in for the missing Che Adams. Fraser Forster may be brought back in too after a display lacking in confidence from Alex McCarthy last time out.