Goal-shy West Brom unlikely to trouble Southampton
Saints look to have the edge
BT Sport 1, 5.30pm Saturday
The curse of the Baggies struck again on Tuesday when Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare was handed his P45 after his side’s failure to beat West Brom, but Saints’ boss Mauricio Pellegrino should have no fear that the hoodoo will strike again this weekend.
Shakespeare became the eighth manager in seven years to get the boot immediately after a fixture against the West Brom, a fact that hasn’t been lost on Pellegrino.
But the Argentinian, who is already fourth favourite at 11-1 in the next manager to go betting after an undistinguished start to life in charge of Southampton, can avoid becoming the ninth post-Throstles fall-guy by masterminding a home win.
It’s 8-13 there are under 2.5 goals in a game which has the feel of a low-scorer about it.
Southampton, on nine points in the Premier League, and West Brom, who are a point better off, have each scored seven goals in their eight games.
Saints have failed to score in eight of their last ten home league outings, while West Brom have not scored more than one goal in any of their last six top-flight away-days.
You get the picture. Nathan Redmond this week declared that he’ll donate to a kids’ charity every time he finds the back of the net, which is a lovely gesture, though I sense hard-up children around the land would rather have Harry Kane or Romelu Lukaku batting for them. Redmond hasn’t bagged since May.
The sense, however, is that Southampton’s fortunes are about to turn. They weren’t a bad team under Claude Puel, who lucklessly got fired after leading them to a League Cup final and eighth spot.
Pellegrino has taken a couple of months finding his feet and his best team, and he probably still doesn’t know it. But Manolo Gabbiadini sparked into life last week when bagging a couple in the 2-2 draw with Newcastle.
Defensively and in midfield – where Oriol Romeu and Mario Lemina are a majestic pairing – Southampton are fine though wantaway centre-back Virgil van Dijk looks distracted and keeper Fraser Forster has dropped more clangers over the past ten months than he had in the previous ten years.
They should have beaten Newcastle last weekend and they also should have beaten Manchester United at St Mary’s a few weeks before after outplaying them.
But they are where they are, which is a point worse off than West Brom, who are in even more ordinary form than their hosts.
They’ve not won in seven in all competitions and have drawn four of their last six league matches. If they don’t score from a set-play they barely look like scoring at all. They had just one shot on target – a stunner from Nacer Chadli – in Monday night’s draw at Leicester.
They also seem to run out of concentration having chucked away points in four different games in the last 13 minutes of those matches. A bet on the last goal time after 75 minutes at 11-8 with Betway might also work.
2pts 17-20 bet365
Jeremy Pied is the only absentee. Sofiane Boufal and Steven Davis are pushing for starts.
The Baggies have fitness doubts over both senior keepers, Ben Foster and Boaz Myhill so Alex Palmer stands by. James Morrison, Oliver Burke and Hal Robson-Kanu are out.
West Brom have thrown away seven points in the last 13 minutes of matches this season.
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