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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Southampton's struggles should put punters on red alert

Five things we learned

Southampton boss Mauricio Pellegrino
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1 Saints overrated in the market
It was often argued that Southampton were better than results suggested last season but they continue to let their backers down at short prices, this time in a 2-0 home loss to Watford.

Saints have failed to score in four of their five outings under new boss Mauricio Pellegrino and there was little that could even be taken as a positive from the deserved defeat to a Watford team wonderfully whipped into shape by the ace Marco Silva.

"We have to keep going," was Pellegrino's less than impressive response and after starting the season well - at least performance-wise against Swansea - the stats have been quite damning.

Southampton had one shot on target against Watford and it was 6-3 to Huddersfield in shots on target before the international break.

Their only win came against ten-man West Ham thanks to a couple of penalties and in that match the Hammers came out on top 8-5 in shots on target.

2 Sticky situation for Toffees
Everton have had a tough start to the campaign with matches against Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham, but the 3-0 home loss to Spurs highlighted the distance between themselves and the Premier League's elite.

Ronald Koeman's men were awful at Chelsea and not much better against a Spurs side on cruise control. The Toffees look a confused side.

Davy Klaassen, Wayne Rooney and Gylfi Sigurdsson all want to work in the same spaces off the main forward and the lack of a true striker to replace the departed Romelu Lukaku makes it difficult for that attacking trio to be effective.

3 Tractor Boys beginning to stall
Those who follow football data closely were quick to point out that Ipswich's fast start was unsustainable as the Tractor Boys had been getting seriously lucky and now they are dropping as that good fortune inevitably runs out.

"They were better than us," admitted Town chief Mick McCarthy after Saturday's 2-1 loss to QPR and that certainly looked the case with Rangers having eight shots on target to Ipswich's two. 

4 Moore the merrier for Rotherham
McCarthy should at least be content that Ipswich look to have a big threat to look forward to next season when giant forward Kieffer Moore returns from a season-long loan spell at Rotherham.

Moore cost only £10,000 when he signed in January and maybe the step from non-league was too much for him as he failed to score in 11 games for Ipswich. But the drop down to Sky Bet League One seems to be much more to his liking. 

The double against Bury took Moore's tally to six goals in his last five league outings and the 6ft 5in target-man is causing opposition defences plenty of problems.

5 EFL new boys finding it difficult
Forest Green manager Mark Cooper reckoned his side needed to go back to basics and play less football following last week's 3-1 loss to Wycombe but if that was the aim it failed as Rovers were turned over by the same score at home to Exeter.

Cooper described his team's defending as "comical" and that all opponents have to do is "put the ball into our box and they'll score."

Forest Green have conceded at least twice in all six of their league games and the last thing they need is the visit on Tuesday of a direct Lincoln team who launch ball into the penalty box at every opportunity.

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Saints have failed to score in four of their five outings under new boss Mauricio Pellegrino
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