Southampton v Crystal Palace: Goals to roll in on the coast
Two improving sides meet at St Mary's on Wednesday and there's value to be had in backing plenty of goals, according to Andy Schooler...
"Eight of Southampton’s 10 games under Hasenhuttl have featured three or more goals."
Southampton v Crystal Palace
After the misery they had to endure under Mauricio Pellegrino and then Mark Hughes, these are good times for Southampton fans.
Ralph Hasenhuttl has them playing a relatively expansive game and while they are conceding too many for the new boss' liking, four wins and three draws from his 10 games in charge is a pretty impressive return.
That run, which has included a win over Arsenal and a draw at Chelsea, looks more than a dead-cat bounce.
Hasenhuttl has been happy to place trust in emerging wing-back Yan Valery, so much so that Cedric Soares has been allowed to leave for Inter Milan this week, but on the other side of the field Ryan Bertrand remains a week or so away from fitness.
Further forward, James Ward-Prowse has caught the eye in midfield of late, joining Stuart Armstrong in producing some strong displays, while Nathan Redmond seems re-energised by the new manager's arrival.
Saints' last four games have seen them score two goals on each occasion - such a run never occurred under Hughes or Pellegrino - so they are carrying a goal threat these days.
Away days, happy days
Palace stand-in keeper Julian Speroni may therefore need to be on his mettle, something which wasn't the case at Anfield recently.
However, that game helped show Palace's vibrancy on their travels of late.
They lost that one 4-3 but did win 3-2 at champions Manchester City before Christmas.
With pace in their attack via the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend, Palace are well equipped to play on the break away from home and it is no surprise to see they have collected more points on the road than they have at Selhurst Park.
In terms of goals, 17 of their 23 in the league have been netted in away games and they now also have the options of Connor Wickham following his two-year injury hell, not to mention the re-signed Bakary Sako.
Sunday's FA Cup victory over Spurs was a sixth win in their last 12 games for Roy Hodgson's men, a decent return, and a side which can score three times at Anfield and the Etihad should have enough to at least trouble a Southampton side who have kept just the one clean sheet under Hasenhuttl.
Given both sides' recent upturn in fortunes, it's not hard to make a case for either.
Southampton, who have only beaten Newcastle more times than Palace in the Premier League era, are on offer at [2.46] for the match win, although Palace are perhaps a more eyecatching [3.25].
If pushed, I'd probably sit on the fence and back the draw at [3.4], more specifically a high-scoring one.
Goals on the menu
Given recent trends, I'm a bit surprised to see over 2.5 goals on offer at odds-against and this looks worth at least a second look.
Eight of Southampton's 10 games under Hasenhuttl have featured three or more goals and it's worth noting the first of those was a 1-0 defeat at Cardiff which makes the statistic even better.
Palace's stats in this field are less convincing but that's largely due to their poor home goalscoring form. Look at their recent away games and four of the last five have met the over 2.5 criteria.
All of that makes 11/10 worth a bet.
Zaha to make a fool out of Valery?
In the sub-markets, the aforementioned Valery looks to have card potential in him for this game.
It's fair to say his talent is raw and the right wing-back has been carded in three of his eight starts thus far with too many fouls conceded.
In this game he's likely to have Zaha, the league's most prolific dribbler, playing down his side of the pitch and the youngster will have plenty of tracking back to do.
Zaha caused Liverpool's stand-in right-back James Milner all sorts of problems at Anfield - and Milner was twice booked for awful tackles on the winger.
While Valery is more used to the position than Milner, it's also fair to say he won't have faced too many opponents with the skill of Zaha.
5/2 about him being shown a card at some stage looks about right but some will want to consider it.
Same Game Multi
Perhaps the way to side with a Valery card is by including the selection in a Same Game Multi.
Add that to both teams to score and over 2.5 goals and you get odds of 9.12.
If you're after an even bigger price, you can get 49.23 by also including the draw.
Southampton have won eight of their last 10 top-flight home games against Crystal Palace (D1 L1), though they did lose this exact fixture last season.
Andy Schooler's P/L 2018/19