Dan Fitch thinks Premier League Southampton's extra class will tell against an injury-hit Bournemouth in an FA Cup quarter-final between south coast rivals.
"Since Woodgate took over at Bournemouth, they’ve scored in 11 of 12 matches under the former England international."
Bournemouth 3.953/1 v Southampton 2.111/10; The Draw 3.613/5
Saturday 20 March, 12:15
Live on BT Sport 1
Woodgate making most of opportunity
It's been a testing season for Bournemouth, but they have every reason to think that it can end with some success.
After being relegated last season and parting ways with Eddie Howe, the Cherries replaced their long-serving manager with his assistant Jason Tindall, who was sacked in early February, after a poor run of form. Jonathan Woodgate was put in temporary charge and now looks set to see Bournemouth through to the end of the season, at least.
Woodgate was sacked himself by Middlesbrough last season and, although he's fortunate to have landed another desirable job so soon, he's making the most of the opportunity. In midweek Bournemouth beat third placed Swansea 3-0, leaving the Cherries seventh, two points away from the play-off zone. In many ways the club could do without the distraction of this FA Cup run, but guiding Bournemouth to a semi-final would do no harm to Woodgate's chances of keeping his job.
Bournemouth are without several key players for this match. Shane Long, who is on-loan from Southampton is cup tied, while Jefferson Lerma is suspended. On the injury list are Adam Smith, Lloyd Kelly, Lewis Cook, Junior Stanislav and David Brooks.
Cup can save Saints' season
For Southampton, the FA Cup represents an opportunity to salvage something from a season that's turned sour.
Southampton's 2-1 home loss against Brighton last weekend, sees them 14th on 33 points after 33 games. They will probably avoid relegation, but that's not much of a boast, having been top of the Premier League in November.
It's been a worrying decline for Southampton, with Ralph Hasenhuttl's side only winning two of their last 17 Premier League matches (D4 L11). Strangely, their form in the FA Cup has been better, with Southampton knocking out Premier League opposition in Arsenal and Wolves over the last two rounds.
Like his opposing manager, Hasenhuttl has his share of injury problems. Romeu Oriol, William Smallbone, Theo Walcott Michael Obafemi and Danny Ings are all unavailable.
Value is with Southampton
Southampton are the 2.111/10 favourites, with the draw at 3.613/5 and a Bournemouth win out at 3.953/1.
If Bournemouth had fewer injury issues, then there could be some value in backing them to pull off an upset, at a time when they have retained the bulk of their squad that was relegated from the Premier League. Bournemouth have had some some impressive home wins of late against the likes of Swansea and Watford. They've also lost to Cardiff and Barnsley.
Southampton's form hardly convinces, but they've been impressive in the FA Cup. With more talent on the pitch, a price of 2.111/10 seems good value and worth taking a risk on.
Bournemouth can score against leaky Saints
Since Woodgate took over at Bournemouth, they've scored in 11 of 12 matches under the former England international.
That statistic makes both teams to score an attractive bet at odds of 1.84/5. Southampton have scored two goals in each of their last two away games, of which the most recent outing was against Manchester City. The Saints have conceded in six of their last seven matches.
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Dan Fitch 2020/21 Season P/L
Staked: 442.00 pts
Returned: 451.85 pts
P/L: +9.85 pts