Teams who’ve recently parted company with managers go head-to-head on Saturday afternoon, as Leeds welcome Southampton to Elland Road (3pm). Both are in desperate need of a win, with the hosts currently in 19th and the visitors sitting bottom of the Premier League and odds-on for the drop. Can either get the desired result? This LUFC vs Saints FC preview, with its concluding betting tips, aims to work it out.
Just a few weeks ago, Leeds parted company with Jesse Marsch after a year in charge, presumably to shake things up and get a reaction from a team that was struggling for form. That reaction has not arrived yet, at least not in terms of results, as the Whites have gone on to lose to both Manchester United and Everton.
Last time out, they struggled to hurt an Everton team that is also fighting for survival, which will have displeased the fans, who will now be hoping that better days are around the corner following the announcement of Javi Gracia as the new manager. The Spaniard took Watford to an FA Cup final for the first time in 35 years in 2019. He was sacked a few months later and has since been dismissed from Valencia after less than a year in charge.
The Saints also removed their manager recently, saying goodbye to Nathan Jones, who’d been in charge for just eight matches, earning him the unwanted title of Southampton’s shortest serving permanent manager. It is widely rumoured that caretaker boss Ruben Selles will take the reins on a more permanent basis, though that is yet to be confirmed.
Under Selles, there was immediate improvement as the team currently languishing at the foot of the table pulled off a surprise win away to Chelsea last weekend, winning by a goal to nil. Saints’ fans will be hoping that such a victory can act as the springboard that allows them to jump out of the relegation zone.
LUFC weak offensively
Under Marcelo Bielsa, Leeds often gave too much away, but they offered lots going forward. Towards the end of Jesse Marsch’s relatively short time in charge, that offensive threat had waned considerably. Saturday’s hosts have scored in just one of their last five Premier League games, which is a worry.
More worrying still is the fact that in those games, they have not exactly been knocking on the door. At Goodison Park last week, they created a measly 0.5 xG, while in four of their last five, they have left the pitch having posted an expected goals total of 0.9 or less.
Having Rodrigo out for their last four has not helped matters much. The Spaniard gives Leeds an abundance of both energy and quality in the final third and without his experience and goals, they are struggling. Besides Rodrigo, who has scored 10 times in the Premier League this term, Crysencio Summerville is Leeds’ top scorer with just four goals, and he is the only other player to have scored more than twice.
Not much between them in recent times
When Leeds and Southampton have got down to business in recent times, there’s not been too much between them. Both have registered one victory in the last four renewals, while the last two have both ended all-square.
When the teams met here last term, they drew 1-1, with the ever-reliable James Ward-Prowse cancelling out a Jack Harrison opener. Earlier this season, the pair drew 2-2 at Elland Road, in what was an entertaining contest, where Southampton came from two goals down to share the spoils thanks to an 81st minute strike from full-back Kyle Walker-Peters.
Saints offer a smidgen of value
Both teams are going through a tough time and now with their previous manager’s gone it’s hard to know exactly what to expect, but the visitors may just be a little more settled. Ruben Selles laid rather solid foundations last week and has had a bit longer to steady the ship than Javi Gracia, who come kick off will have had very little time to prepare for this fixture.
Moreover, for all their faults, Southampton have showed some grit on the road of late. For starters, they got the better of Chelsea, who like Leeds have been struggling for goals. They have also won three of their last five on the road, beating both Everton in the Premier League and Crystal Palace in the FA Cup. Such performances may just hold them in good stead at Elland Road, where Leeds are without an EPL win in four.
The Saints have been by no means excellent offensively, but they have scored in three of their last four in the Premier League, while they may just be better equipped for this relegation six-pointer. As mentioned in this LUFC vs Saints FC preview above, Leeds’ lack of goals is a huge problem and with Rodrigo not likely to return just yet, coupled with Southampton’s better preparations, the away win, with the insurance that ‘Draw No Bet’ provides gets the nod. So these are our betting tips, at best odds, in a bid to part the recommended United Kingdom bookies from some of their vaults full of cash:
Bradley Gibbs is an experienced football writer. He is an expert analyst on Premier League, and all global football leagues & tournaments, for Just Bookies. Bradley has been published by many respected outlets, including USA Betting and the Racing & Football Outlook. He has also written betting strategy guides.