Hapoel Beer Sheva v Southampton: Hardy hosts to make life tough

Claude Puel has recovered from a tough start at Southampton
Claude Puel has recovered from a tough start at Southampton
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Both of these sides made winning starts to the group stage, and Kevin Hatchard believes they might cancel each other out in Israel...

"Saints have kept four clean sheets on the spin, while Hapoel managed shut-outs against Celtic, Olympiakos and Inter Milan."

Back No in the Both Teams To Score market at 1.8910/11

Hapoel Beer Sheva v Southampton
Thursday September 29, 18:00
Live on BT Sport

Hapoel Beer Sheva

This is a golden age of Hapoel Beer Sheva's 67-year history. Last season's Israeli title triumph was their first since the 1970s, and they have since added the Super Cup to their haul. Having impressively disposed of Olympiakos in the Champions League qualifiers, they were a whisker away from reaching the group stage, only to fall a goal short of a remarkable comeback against Celtic.

Hapoel's home record is to be respected. This season alone, the Camels have beaten Sheriff Tiraspol, Olympiakos and Celtic at the Turner Stadium. Hapoel are also on a high after pulling off one of the most remarkable victories in their history, a 2-0 success at Inter Milan on Matchday One. It wasn't a smash-and-grab - Hapoel made plenty of chances, and few could argue with their victory.


After a sticky start, Claude Puel is starting to show why he could be the latest in a long line of sensible coaching appointments by Southampton. Fans were rightly concerned a few weeks into the season, but a run of four wins in all competitions has allayed their fears, a sequence that started with a 3-0 Europa League win over Sparta Prague at St Mary's.

Virgil van Dijk and Jose Fonte are playing well at the heart of defence, full-backs Ryan Bertrand and Cedric are proving to be excellent two-way players, and defensive midfielder Oriol Romeu may finally have found some consistency. With all these pieces in place, it's perhaps no surprise that Saints have kept four clean sheets in a row.

Puel is expected to shake up his team, having made no less than 30 changes in the last four games. Having sat out the 3-0 weekend win at West Ham, Shane Long, Jordy Clasie and James Ward-Prowse could all return.

Match Odds

Saints are 2.3611/8 favourites here, and that seems too short to me, despite their fine run of form. Hapoel have taken some big scalps in Europe this term, and they've proved they can defend well and make chances against talented opposition. I can't support Saints at that price, and if anything, I'd be tempted to back Home or Draw in the Double Chance market at 1.715/7.

Over/Under 2.5 Goals

I'm not surprised to see unders trading at 1.75/7 here. Four of Hapoel's six Champions League games featured fewer than three goals, and they kept a clean sheet at San Siro against Inter. Saints are defending well too, so you could go for Under 2.5 Goals, or alternatively seek a bigger price by backing No in the Both Teams To Score market at 1.8910/11.

Recommended Bet

Back No in the Both Teams To Score market at 1.8910/11

Kevin Hatchard 2016-17 Europa League P/L (1 pt per bet)

Points Staked: 7

Points Returned: 4.16

P/L: -2.84 points

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