Southampton take on Watford on Sunday afternoon (2pm), as two teams looking for redemption after their mid-week efforts proved to be in vain go head-to-head in the Premier League at St. Mary’s. Can either side claim what would be a big three points? This EPL match preview should be able to answer that and provide some considered betting tips.
Things were going swimmingly for the Saints, who when they beat West Ham by three goals to nil in the FA Cup not that long ago had won three on the bounce, and were on an unbeaten run of seven games in all competitions. However, over the last week, things have gone slightly awry, first with a defeat against Aston Villa, then they were unable to overcome the challenge of taking on a resurgent Newcastle in front of a home crowd on Thursday evening. A reprieve is now needed.
Sunday’s visitors are also in desperate need of a lift after they were thrashed by Wolves during the week, a defeat that followed their home to loss to Arsenal last weekend. The Hornets are now without a win in four, and once again Roy Hodgson finds himself tasked with leading a team to safety. Three points now separate Watford and Everton, who are the closest team to the relegation zone without being inside the dreaded bottom three.
Hard to beat at home
Yes, the hosts did lose at this venue in the week, and yes, they have now lost two league matches on the bounce, but we shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men are easy to beat, especially on their own patch, where they’ve lost just two out of 14 in the league.
Interestingly, no team outside of the current top seven has accumulated more home points than the Saints this season. Offensively, they have been reasonable without pulling up any trees, scoring a modest 19 goals in 14 games at St Mary’s. In the defensive third is where Sunday’s hosts have really impressed at home this season, conceding only 12 goals, shipping an average of 0.85. Only four Premier League teams have conceded fewer home goals, so it’s fair to say that the hosts are anything but simple to face on their own patch.
Not the worst on the road
If their 4-0 defeat to Wolves, who are anything but the most offensively threatening side that this division has to offer, was the first time you’d seen Watford on the road this season, you’d probably think that was business as normal. Though perhaps surprisingly, the Hornets have put together some pleasing efforts on their travels this term.
Prior to Thursday’s hammering, Watford were unbeaten in two on the road, picking up an impressive win at Villa Park, before holding Manchester United to a draw at Old Trafford. What was particularly eye-catching was the fact that they kept a clean sheet in both of those matches. Sunday’s visitors have now lost only two of their last six away-day fixtures, which is form not exactly becoming of relegation fodder, though Watford are heavily odds-on to be relegated from the Premier League.
Eight losses from 14 travelling games overall this term isn’t great, but they have only lost by more than one goal on two occasions. Their average goal difference on the road is -0.50, which is far from appalling, and doesn’t exactly point towards a side that can’t get competitive.
Should we expect goals?
After the recent exploits of both, it’s slightly surprising to find that ‘Over 2.5 Goals’ is available, in places, at a shade under even money. Watford can get competitive on the road, despite what Thursday’s game suggests, but their recent defensive lapses are hard to overlook. Much the same can be said for the hosts, who’ve failed to keep things tight, and who to put things right offensively, could leave a visiting side that is certainly not short of counter-attacking pace, plenty of room to manoeuvre.
The hosts have now kept only two clean sheets in their last 12 matches, all of which they’ve scored in. Such a stat should be music to the ears of goal bettors, as will the fact that three or more goals have been scored in each of Southampton and Watford’s last four fixtures combined.
So, for this preview’s money, the answer to the question: “should we expect goals?” is quite simply, “yes”. More importantly, given the recent efforts of both, and with both needing to put in a big performance here, the odds available look to represent a shade of value.
Bet on Broja to bag
Armando Broja is one of those players who has gone on the radar a little bit, and if you’re not either a Southampton fan or an avid watcher of all things Premier League, then you may not be too familiar with his work.
The Albanian has notched seven goals (six in the league) since his switch from Vitesse, five of which have come in front of a home crowd. What’s more, he’s averaging a very tidy 0.39 expected goals per 90 minutes, as well as 2.45 shots. At odds of 11/8, against a visiting defence that has shown a few gaps of late, the lively 20-year-old is worth supporting to add to his goal tally. So these are the betting tips for this SaintsFC vs WatfordFC preview:
- Over 2.5 Goals @ 4/5 with Bet365 or William Hill.
- Armando Broja to be an anytime scorer @ 11/8 with Bet365 or BetVictor.
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.