Cardiff v Southampton: Wily Warnock to thwart Hasenhüttl's Saints
Ralph Hasenhüttl begins life in English football in Wales on Saturday and Paul Robinson thinks that his Southampton team will be in for a tough time of things against Cardiff.
"The Bluebirds failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their three victories, but they still got the job done, and it's worth noting that their eight goals were scored by seven different players."
Cardiff v Southampton
Saturday December 8, 15:00
There's no place like home for Cardiff
Neil Warnock will be smarting at the nature of his side's midweek loss at West Ham as they missed a penalty with the score at 0-0, and they then went on to concede three times to eventually lose 3-1.
On the bright-side for Warnock, his Cardiff City team are back at home on Saturday and following an iffy start, they have now won three of their last four in front of their own fans. Victories over Fulham, Brighton and Wolves highlights a clear focus on picking up maximum points against their relegation rivals, and in Southampton they face another one this weekend.
There are no fresh injury concerns for Warnock to deal with ahead of the game, but with Callum Patterson having started the last two matches, there is a chance he will drop to the bench, as that is one position that the manager has chopped and changed this season.
The start of a new era at Southampton
There will be a new face in the Southampton dugout at the Cardiff City Stadium as Ralph Hasenhüttl takes charge for the first time since his appointment as manager of the club.
The former RB Leipzig boss took the German club into the Champions League, but it's worth remembering that he was backed with a lot of money - something which probably won't happen on the South Coast.
The Saints have struggled at both ends of the field this year as they are averaging less than a goal a game, while with 29 conceded, they have the fourth worst defensive record in the division.
Hasenhüttl likes to play with two strikers so it's likely that his initial focus will be on improving their record in the final third, but with a dozen goals conceded in their last three away matches, he really needs to do something with the defence too.
Value on the hosts
Surprisingly, Southampton have been priced up as the marginal favourites for this clash as they are currently trading at around the [2.72] mark. They have only won once away from St Mary's this year, and that came all the way back on September 1st at Selhurst Park.
Since then it's been five defeats and one draw from their six outings, and while they have faced some tricky opponents during that period, they have also been beaten at Wolves and Fulham.
The hosts are my idea of the winner, especially when [2.98] is on offer. Not only have they been winning their home games of late, they have been scoring plenty of goals too.
The Bluebirds failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their three victories, but they still got the job done, and it's worth noting that their eight goals were scored by seven different players.
I appreciate that the visitors have a new man in charge for the occasion, but teams don't always get that new manager bounce, and Southampton have capitulated too many times this year for my liking.
The outsider of the three results is the draw, and that is trading at around the [3.3] mark. Cardiff have only drawn once at home this season and the same can be said for the Saints on the road.
Back goals at a nice price
The Betfair layers are opposing the stats in the Over/Under 2.5 Market as Overs is the underdog at [2.3], while the Under is the favourite at [1.75].
Cardiff have played eight times on this ground this term and half a dozen of them have had at least three goals. Since a 0-0 draw with Newcastle in their first home match back in the top flight, they have only failed to find the net on two more occasions, while failing to keep another clean sheet of their own.
The visitors have seen five of their eight away from St Mary's end with the ball in the net on three occasions or more, and despite coming into this match on the back of three straight away defeats, they still managed to score in each of them - which included matches at Man City and Spurs.
What I like best about Over 2.5 Goals, is that both teams have been scoring and conceding - which makes it somewhat absurd to me that Under 2.5 is the firm favourite.
Cardiff to win and Charlie Austin to score is my bet of choice for a same game multi and the odds are [16.42]. As mentioned above, all three of Cardiff's recent wins here have had goals at both ends, and Southampton have been scoring on their travels.
Charlie Austin came off the bench to net at Wembley on Wednesday, and with Hasenhüttl's stated preference for two strikers, given the injuries to some of the others, Austin appears to be a nailed on starter. Always check the team news first though.
Finally, Opta tells us that Southampton striker Charlie Austin has been involved in nine goals in nine Premier League starts against newly-promoted opposition (8 goals, 1 assist).
2018/19 P/L (1pt each bet)
Back Cardiff @ [2.98]
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ [2.3]