Southampton-Swansea City Preview

JEFF FLETCHER (STATS European Editor)
The Associated Press

Swansea City will welcome Southampton to the Liberty Stadium on Saturday with the threat of relegation no longer hanging over their heads.

The Swans (10-9-17) retained their top-flight status after back-to-back wins over Newcastle United and Aston Villa. They won 2-0 away to the Magpies on Apr. 12 before routing Villa 4-1 at home last Saturday. The emphatic victory over Villa took 12th-place Swansea seven points clear on third-bottom Norwich City with just two matches to play.

Swansea striker Wilfried Bony scored twice against Villa, including a last-minute penalty, while winger Pablo Hernandez also got his name on the score sheet. However, the highlight of afternoon was a wonder goal from midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, who having noticed Brad Guzan stray off his line, volleyed a dipping shot from the edge of the centre circle beyond the reach of the backpedaling Villa goalkeeper.

Dutch midfielder Jonathan de Guzman insists a good spirit has been a key factor in Swansea winning the battle against the drop.

"We've stuck together like a family and we got the job done," the 26-year-old de Guzman told swanseacity.net. "It's been a big fight for us for the season, especially for myself. A lot of things changed - a lot of adaptation after a great season last year - but we have stuck together as a team, got the results and we are safe.

"The Villa result has taken a lot of pressure off our shoulders. It is a relief to be safe. We would have loved it a lot earlier like last season so we could enjoy it more, but we are very happy with the result against Villa. We scored a lot of great goals."

Southampton need only a draw against Swansea to set a new club record in the Premier League.

The Saints (14-10-12) beat Everton 2-0 at St Mary's on Saturday to improve to 52 points and equal their best haul in a 38-game Premier League season. The victory over the Toffees ended a three-match winless streak and came courtesy of headed own goals from Everton defenders Antolin Alcaraz and Seamus Coleman.

England striker Rickie Lambert expressed his delight at Southampton matching their record points total.

"We have been desperate to get onto 52 points and that probably was our biggest ambition because I think it's one hell of an achievement that we've matched it," Lambert told saintsfc.co.uk. "We've got two games now to try and beat that and that's the desire that we need.

"We beat a team who are chasing the Champions League to do it and we showed just as much if not more desire than them, so it's full credit to the gaffer and everyone involved."

If Southampton, who are eighth in the standings, lose against Swansea, their final chance of setting a new record will come at home against Manchester United on May 11.

Swansea will be without Angel Rangel due to a groin injury, but fellow defender Chico is available after suspension. The Saints have reported no new injury concerns.

Southampton beat the Swans 2-0 at St. Mary's in October with goals from Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez.