Newcastle v Southampton: High in importance, low on goals

Rafa Benitez took on Jose Mourinho a few weeks ago.
Rafa Benitez's knowledge of the Premier League should prove crucial in the bid to fight the drop.
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This match is a proper 'six pointer' but what it may have in tension it's unlikely to have in quality and goals so bet accordingly, says Jamie Pacheco...

"I’d be lying if I said 0-0 ([9.0]) on the correct score market if you fancy it) wasn’t a lively runner here and I suppose given the Saints’ decent record against Newcastle, it could end 1-0 to the visitors if they get the rub of the green here. Cover both those eventualities plus the 1-0 home win by going with under 1.5 goals at a very fair [3.0]."

Newcastle v Southampton
Saturday March 10 15:00

Keep calm...and leave it to Rafa

Rafa Benitez isn't everyone's cup of tea but as a relegation-threatened side, there are few wiser and more experienced Managers in the game that you'd want in charge of your team.

It's been a pretty decent last month and a half for Newcastle with three draws and of course the icing on the cake being that 1-0 win over Manchester United that reminded the supporters that they can still beat the big boys on their day, something they use to do regularly back in the late 90s.

They did admittedly lose 2-0 at Anfield last week but there's no disgrace there; most teams have lost away at Liverpool this season.

They could do with Islam Slimani being fit, though. The likes of Dwight Gayle and Joselu have done their bit for the cause this season but the Algerian's strength and finishing will give them something different when he recovers from a thigh injury. The player himself will be keen to get on the pitch and remind his permanent employers (Leicester) that he's more than good enough for this league.

Slimani and the much-improved Jonjo Shelvey are both doubtful for this one.

What are the Saints trying to do?

If Rafa has been there and done it in the past, then Mauricio Pellegrino hasn't. Southampton have hardly been pulling up any trees in the Premier League over the past few years but they never sunk this low and are in real danger of going back to The Championship. I've certainly seen worse bets than the 4.2 that they're relegated.

For better or for the worse, most teams have some sort of identity to them but if Southampton do, I'm not sure what it is. They're not a 'hard to beat' sort of side, they're not a ball playing side nor a counter-attacking one.

To coin an expression from the much-maligned Louis van Gaal, whatever their 'footballing philosophy' is, they certainly haven't shown much of it this season.

Hosts to nick it

Now, it may seem like I have something against Southampton but I really don't. What I do have something against, is the fact that they've been under-priced all season despite neither playing good football nor getting results.

This is a case in point. Newcastle are a point better off than Southampton and at home yet despite that are only marginally shorter than them at [2.7] with the visitors trading at [3.0].

In truth, both Newcastle and Benitez have struggled to beat the Saints over the years. The Spaniard hasn't got the better of them since 2004 and the Magpies haven't beaten the in their last seven attempts, as Opta remind us.

But as ever, you have to question the relevance of that ahead of this match. I'm sure Benitez sat down and pin pointed this match as not only a chance to get three points but just as crucially, a chance to put daylight between his side and another relegation-threatened one. For me he can out-think Pellegrino and his side can out-play them.

But shall we be a bit greedier than take that win price? Let's. No side has scored fewer games at home than Newcastle so if they are to win, it's likely to be a low-scoring affair. It's better value to go with a home win with under 2.5 goals in the game at 4/1 than the [2.7] on the straight win.

Goals at a premium

If you've just read the last paragraph, you've probably guessed where this is heading. But rather than taking the [1.66] on under 2.5 goals, it could pay to be a little bolder once again and going with under 1.5 goals.

I'd be lying if I said 0-0 ([9.0]) on the correct score market if you fancy it) wasn't a lively runner here and I suppose given the Saints' decent record against Newcastle, it could end 1-0 to the visitors if they get the rub of the green here. Cover both those eventualities plus the 1-0 home win by going with under 1.5 goals at a very fair [3.0].

Ref Watch

Jonjo Shelvey may be somewhat glad if he does miss out here. It would mean he wouldn't have to face Andre Marriner, who sent him off on the opening day of the season for a childish kick on Dele Alli.

Marriner isn't one to needlessly get out his cars, though. He averages less than three yellows a game this season and showed just 10 over his last four matches.


Staked: 38.5 pts
Returned: 36.45 pts
P and L: -2.05

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