Premier League

Wolverhampton-Southampton Preview

Whilst Southampton continue to surge within the Premier League, wins have been a bit hard to come by of late for Wolverhampton in any competition.

The Saints look for a season-high third straight top-flight victory whilst trying to keep visiting Wolves winless in a sixth overall match on Saturday.

Not too long ago, Southampton (8-4-10) were sitting atop the Premier League relegation zone with manager Ralph Hasenhuttl wondering about his job security. Fast-forward to the present day, and the Saints are 4-1-0 within the league since losing back-to-back matches to Newcastle United on Dec. 8 and West Ham United from Dec. 14, and hold down the 12th position in the table.

More impressive for Southampton is that their current unbeaten stretch includes victories over Chelsea, Spurs and Leicester City. After going down 1-0 in the 14th minute at Leicester last weekend, the Saints got a 19th-minute equalizing goal from Stuart Armstrong and Danny Ings' go-ahead score in the 81st to stun the hosts.

"I think the team deserves credit for the very good job they are doing," Hasenhuttl, whose club owns a 9-3 scoring advantage over those last five contests, told Southampton's official website. "If you asked me one month ago, I would say, 'If we are above the line, I'd be the happiest man in the world.' Now, three weeks later, it looks a little bit different.

"The good thing at the moment is that we are not playing like a relegated team. We are playing like a good team."

Ings remains a major reason for that, scoring a team-leading 14 league goals. Including one in three straight contests, and 10 over his last 11 top-flight matches.

"He has scored unbelievable goals and important goals for us," Hasenhuttl said of Ings. "This is the best Danny Ings we have ever seen."

One of Ings' goals came in the 53rd minute of a 1-1 draw at Wolves on Oct. 19.

Raul Jimenez (eight Premier League goals) equalised via penalty in the 61st minute for Wolverhampton (7-10-5) in that contest. Beginning with that match, Wolves are 5-6-3 in the league, sitting in seventh place, but also amidst an 0-2-3 stretch over all competitions.

They've also dropped three straight road contests - two in the league (at Liverpool and Watford) and whilst being eliminated from the FA Cup with a 1-0 loss at Manchester City this week.

"When we perform well, we have to be confident," manager Nuno Espirito Santo told Wolverhampton's official website. "We played well (against Manchester United this week), (that ) gives me confidence. When you don't play well is when you have a problem. Results are important of course, we value them, but what is important is how we do things."

Balancing the Premier League, Europa League, League Cup and FA Cup this season, Wolves have done a relatively solid job whilst going 17-13-8 over all those competitions. They are 2-1-2 over all competitions at Southampton, but both defeats came in the Premier League, most recently 3-1 last season.

Jimenez has gone five overall matches without a goal, and just the one in three career Premier League games versus Southampton.

Updated January 16, 2020

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