Premier League statistical preview, including Manchester United vs Southampton as Ronald Koeman and Louis van Gaal face off

We also take a look at the first league games for Tony Pulis and Alan Pardew at their new clubs

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The Independent Online

West Bromwich Albion vs Hull

While this match may not jump out from the list in gameweek 21 it will certainly be of interest for a number of reasons, not least that it will mark Tony Pulis' first league match in charge of the Baggies. Saturday's encounter also represents a really important match for either side in terms of the battle against relegation, with just one point separating the two ahead of kick-off.

The neutrals will be hoping that the entertainment value can match that when the two teams met in the Capital One Cup in September - West Brom running out eventual 3-2 winners - rather than the more recent goalless draw in the league last month. The man that netted the winner in the former meeting between the sides will be in the spotlight once again, with Saido Berahino's future at the club believed to be in doubt.

The youngster has netted 8 league goals this season - a full 6 more than any other teammate in the top-flight - and adding another 4 to his individual tally in the recent cup romp over Gateshead will only have served to entice potential suitors further. The temptation to cash in on the striker could prove too strong for the new manager, who is unlikely to tolerate too many bloated egos in the squad, which is a criticism that has been aimed at the England hopeful.

Hull, meanwhile, won't be too fazed by the fact that they will be the away side this weekend given they have picked up more points on the road (10) than at the KC Stadium (9) this season. Meanwhile West Brom have conceded more goals at home than any other Premier League side (16), which is something that Pulis will want to remedy sooner rather than later.

Crystal Palace vs Tottenham

In the late kick-off on Saturday another newly appointed manager will face his public with Alan Pardew's arrival at Crystal Palace representing something of a homecoming. The at times divisive manager spent 5 seasons at Selhurst Park as a player and has somewhat of a baptism of fire back at the club as they face local rivals Tottenham.

Spurs are certainly one of the in-form teams in the Premier League right now after a relatively slow start to life under Mauricio Pochettino. The most recent 5-3 league win over Chelsea is undoubtedly the highlight of their season so far, with Harry Kane continuing his hot streak - netting 5 goals in his last 5 league appearances - to steal the show at White Hart Lane.


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Alan Pardew

Much like the league meeting between West Brom and Hull last month the reverse fixture ended in a 0-0 draw so the fans will hope that the attention brought onto the match following Pardew's appointment will encourage a more entertaining game. Palace, however, have failed to score in 5 of their last 7 league matches, with a new striker set to be at the top of the new manager's wish-list.

The stats suggest that for now, however, it's a tough ask for Pardew, as the league's second worst home side (9 points) host the team with the third strongest away record (17 points). Indeed, Pochettino's men have won four of their last 5 matches on the road in the Premier League, each by a 1-2 scoreline, and another victory on Saturday may well see them jump into the top four, with the two sides directly above them facing one another on Sunday, bringing us nicely onto our next preview.

Manchester United vs Southampton

There were no real fireworks when these two sides met last month, either on the pitch or the sidelines, with a fractious relationship between Ronald Koeman and Louis van Gaal a talking point ahead of the game. United ran out 2-1 winners at St. Mary's in December but the hosts' manager had reason to feel hard done by, with Southampton having restricted United to just 3 shots compared to the 15 they mustered at the other end.

It was a ruthless display from the visitors - who scored with each of their efforts on target on the night - and not least Robin van Persie, who bagged both goals to secure all three points for the Red Devils. The goals were his fifth and sixth in just 5 appearances against the Saints for United but, as has been the case too often in recent times, Van Persie's form has run hot and cold since.


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Ronald Koeman and Louis van Gaal

As is the case for a number of the games between sides at the opposite end of the table this weekend, there's plenty to play for in this one, with just one place and one point separating the two sides. Southampton have returned to form in impressive fashion since a tough spell leading up to Christmas and while United have drawn 3 of their last 4 league matches, they remain on an unbeaten streak of 10 games in the top-flight.

The two teams certainly have plenty of attacking talent on display and traditionally when they have come to blows in the past it's the front men that have won out. Indeed, of all Premier League fixtures to have been played out at least 10 times since the turn of the century United vs Southampton is the highest scoring affair of any current top-flight match up, with an average of 3.59 goals scored per game over the course of the last 17 meetings between the sides.

All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings.
 

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