Sunderland endured one of the worst days in their history in last season’s visit to St Mary’s, but the Black Cats can surely not suffer a repeat this time round.
Indeed, the Red and Whites’ record on the south coast in recent years has not been too bad overall, with three Premier League successes – one detailed here, a Kevin Kilbane winner in April 2001 and a 2-1 victory thanks to Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn back in April 2000.
Here we look back at the last five games away to Southampton, including two wins, a draw (when they led until the final few minutes) and a last-gasp defeat.
Southampton 2 Sunderland 1
December 28, 2002
Sunderland were beaten by a goal four minutes into added time to stay deep in relegation trouble.
In the dismal 19-point campaign, Sunderland survived a disallowed James Beattie strike and went close when Michael Proctor curled an effort against the post, but all the goals came in the final 17 minutes.
The visitors fell behind to a Beattie goal on 73 minutes, powerfully heading a Chris Marsden cross beyond Jurgen Macho, who enjoyed an excellent performance between the sticks.
Tore Andre Flo levelled three minutes later, nodding home a bulleted header from a Kevin Kilbane corner.
But hopes of a welcome point were dashed in the 94th minute when Jo Tessem got the final touch in the box, after Rory Delap’s long throw caused problems.
Southampton 1 Sunderland 2
April 9, 2007
Roy Keane’s Black Cats climbed into top spot in the Championship table after coming from behind to see off Southampton.
All the action came in the final quarter at St Mary’s against the play-off chasing hosts, who broke the deadlock when Marek Saganowski volleyed home on 67 minutes.
Lively winger Carlos Edwards equalised with a magnificent 25-yard drive which went in off the underside of Bialkowski’s bar.
Then substitute Grant Leadbitter smashed home another brilliant effort from a few yards outside the box to sink a Saints side managed by former Sunderland full-back George Burley.
Southampton 0 Sunderland 1
December 22, 2012
Steven Fletcher’s eighth goal of the season moved Sunderland four points clear of the relegation zone after triumphing in their crunch basement battle at fellow strugglers Southampton.
Fletcher’s strike on the stroke of half-time proved sufficient for Martin O’Neill’s men as they secured a huge result in front of almost 2,000 travelling fans in the pouring rain on the south coast.
It was a game of few chances, although Sunderland could have gone ahead with just 20 seconds on the clock when Stephane Sessegnon was denied by a stunning stop from ex-Black Cats stopper Kelvin Davis.
Sunderland defended superbly throughout and limited the Saints to efforts from long-range, despite a few late scrambles in the Black Cats penalty area.
Southampton 1 Sunderland 1
August 24, 2013
How different would life have been for Sunderland if the Black Cats had held on for a victory – after being ahead for 86 minutes.
Paolo Di Canio’s men, beaten by Fulham on the opening day, were denied all three points at St Mary’s when defender Jose Fonte headed home a James Ward-Prowse free-kick two minutes from time.
That cancelled out Emanuele Giaccherini’s second-minute opener, with the Italian heading home a Seb Larsson set piece.
Saints probably deserved their draw, with Jay Rodriguez having an effort disallowed and two penalty claims waved away, but would Di Canio’s reign lasted a lot longer had his men secured an early-season win.
Southampton 8 Sunderland 0
October 18, 2014
What an utter shambles.
Santiago Vergini’s calamitous own goal – it’s still hard to fathom exactly how he did it – started a nightmare defeat, one which forced Gus Poyet to change his tactics and become more defensive.
Graziano Pelle and Jack Cork made it three by half-time, but the worst was to come as Sunderland capitulated meekly in the second half, with two more of Saints’ strikes going down as own goals for Liam Bridcutt and Patrick van Aanholt, with Pelle, Dusan Tadic and Victor Wanyama adding to the misery as the Black Cats suffered a joint club record 8-0 defeat.
It has to be better this year, surely.