Are the Saints slipping towards the trapdoor
Ralph Hasenhuttl will celebrate three years in charge of Southampton on Sunday and that's quite an achievement given the lack of patience shown by the board over the last three decades. The Austrian is now the longest serving Saints boss since Chris Nicholl was sacked after they'd finished 14th in the Premier League in 1991.
There have been 28 different mangers over the last 30 years so after a stuttering start the season, Hasenhuttl must be starting to feel vulnerable with Everton's Rafael Benitez the only man trading shorter in the Next Manager to Leave market.
Languishing in 16th place in the Premier League after failing (twice) to hold on to the lead at home to Leicester on Wednesday night, and defeat to relegation favourites, Norwich, and a 4-0 drubbing at Anfield on Sunday, Southampton are in real danger of being dragged into the mire.
The Saints have nine points less than they had at this stage last season, they've lost more games in 2021 than they've lost in 25 calendar years and they've won just three Premier League games so far this season. All three victories have been by a solitary goal to nil and when Che Adams made it 2-1 in the 34th minute on Wednesday night, it was only the third time all season that they managed to find the net more than once.
With Norwich fighting, Newcastle set to spend big and Watford spreading the goals around, Southampton need to buck their ideas up before they slip even further into trouble, and they look a fair bet for the drop at a double-figure price.
Southampton are away at Arsenal and Crystal Palace after Saturday's game, and with West Ham away and Spurs at home also in the fixture list before the year is out, it's hard to imagine them trading so high come 2022. They look a decent trade at least in that market.
Draw Specialists Brighton tough nuts to crack
Having missed a couple of straightforward chances in the 0-0 draw at home to Leeds at the weekend, Neal Maupay was at least part of the reason for the bizarre booing at the Amex, but all was forgiven on Wednesday night when his spectacular 89th minute overhead kick saw the Seagulls earn yet another draw.
Although the hosts, West Ham, had a goal ruled out for offside after a lengthy VAR review when 1-0 up, even David Moyes admitted the 1-1 draw was a fair result and despite the strange reaction of the home fans at the weekend, Brighton are ticking along nicely and they're proving tough to beat.
After winning four of their first five Premier League games this season, Wednesday's draw was Brighton's seventh in nine games in the Premier League, but they've not won since September.
Their 2-0 defeat to Everton in August, sandwich between a pair of victories, is far and away the Seagulls' worst result of the season with losses at home to Manchester City and away at Villa, understandable defeats.
City are worthy favourites to defend their title and Villa were rejuvenated under new boss, Steven Gerrard, although the Seagulls did keep them out for 83 minutes. As Villa showed in their second game away to Palace (won 2-1), and in the second half at home to City on Wednesday night (lost 2-1), Gerrard has had a huge impact at Villa Park and it was a tough break for Brighton to meet them when they did.
A shortage of goals and a 1-1 saver the way to go
I'm not remotely tempted by odds of around 6/4 about the hosts. The home side hasn't won this fixture since Brighton beat the Saints 3-0 in the Championship at the Amex back in 2012.
The away team has won five of the last nine encounters in all competitions and there have been four draws.
The saints knocked the Seagulls out of the League Cup in 2018 but in their previous eight Premier League encounters, the two sides have finished level on four occasions and there have been three 1-1 draws between the two.
Graham Potter's Brighton appear to have picked up from where they left off last year, continuing to fail to get what they deserve from games. They tend to dominate but fail to take their chances and that makes the draw the logical selection in the outright market.
In addition to Brighton drawing seven of their last nine in the Premier League, Southampton have drawn six of their 14 played so far this season so playing the stalemate at almost 5/2 makes perfect sense.
Looking at the side markets, Yes in the Both Teams to Score market is the narrow odds-on favourite but that makes no appeal. Both sides have found the net in exactly half the games involving Southampton and Brighton but neither team features in many high scoring encounters.
There have been three or more goals scored in seven of Southampton's 14 Premier League games this season but in only four of Brighton 14. The Premier League average is 53% so it's absolutely no surprise to see No is odds-on in the Over/Under 2.5 Goals market.
This looks likely to be a tight affair and a low scoring one at that so I'm happy to play Under in the Over/Under 1.5 Goals market with a saver on 1-1.
It's a combination of bets that would have paid dividends in seven of Southampton's 14 Premier League fixtures this season and in six of Brighton's last nine.
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