EFL Championship

Southampton v West Brom: Baggies' Bartley the 14/1 bet to net

WBA defender Kyle Bartley
WBA defender Kyle Bartley had four shots in the first leg

George Elek from Not The Top 20 previews Friday night's televised Championship play-off semi-final second leg between Southampton and West Bromwich Albion, and fancies a Baggies centre-back to get on the scoresheet...


Southampton v WBA
Friday, 20:00

Live on Sky Sports Football

The less said about the Championship play-off semi-final first legs the better, with both ending goalless without much cause for further discussion. It leaves Southampton in what looks like a commanding position, with the remaining fixture on home turf at St. Mary's.

Neither team created a great deal in open play at The Hawthorns, with Alex Palmer making one very smart save from a heavily deflected Ross Stewart shot, but when looking for pointers as to how this one is going to go it was a case of neither side blinking in a staring contest.

Southampton's home form is somewhat perplexing, only the 6th best in the Championship this season but with a goal difference of +25. Basically when they win at St. Mary's they tend to do it well, but five defeats shows that this isn't mission impossible for the Baggies.

The fact that three of these losses have come in their last eight home games will give Carlos Corberan even more cause for hope, especially given that two of those came against Millwall and Cardiff, the latter in their last home league game of the season.

Russell Martin sprang something of a surprise in the first leg by countering WBA's aerial threat but playing three centre-backs, which was effective in its design but also served to stunt their attacking threat from their possession-heavy brand of football, as they were unable to effectively progress the ball up the pitch.

The Saints boss will surely be tempted to revert to type with home advantage, and that could well play into WBA's hands, both in terms of being a threat on the counter but also with their aerial bombardment, especially in from set-pieces.

There were 15 corners in the first leg, and we've seen in all three of West Brom's games against Southampton this season how Corberan clearly thinks his best means of hurting this particular opposition is to cross balls into the box whenever possible.

Kyle Bartley scored the only Baggies goal in these three ties, and there is reason to think he could be the one to do so again should West Brom get some joy with this tactic. He had four shots in the first leg and was WBA's most likely goalscorer, so given we can be confident in how they will approach this game, the 14/1 for him to score anytime looks a great bet at a big price.


Now read Lewis Jones' Premier League final day tips!

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