Danny Ings has a great chance to add another goal to his tally and the stats suggest the Saints should score first, so bet accordingly, says Jamie Pacheco...
"It’s hard to ignore the claims of Danny Ings to get a goal. Three in his last four, five in his last six, he’s a man in a form. There’s also the small matter of the Golden Boot to play for."
Southampton v Sheffield United
Sunday July 26, 16:00
Saints know their game
When you look at Southampton's squad there are only really three or four players you look at and think would be a really good addition to a mid-table to Top 6 team. But maybe that's the point. Maybe right now it's hard-working and well-drilled players that Southampton need to keep re-booking their place in this division, which with all due respect, will be their primary objective for the next few years at least.
Two of the players I really like though are James Ward-Prowse and Danny Ings. The former has good feet, a fine delivery from set pieces and has taken over the role as captain and proper leader with flying colours.
The latter is the prime reason they are where they are in the table. Ings has had a wonderful season, scoring 50% of the Saints' goals in the league and is eyeing up the chance to become the first Saints player since the great Matt Le Tissier to score 10 home and away goals in the same season. He certainly won't be PFA Player of the Year because he's not a fashionable player at a fashionable club, but he certainly deserves to make the Team of the Year.
Lots to look forward to next season for Blades
Back-to-back defeats have probably robbed United of the chance to be in the Europa League next season but that may even be a good thing. They don't have the largest squad and an extra two matches a month when you're already punching above your weight in your national league could be a bit too much for them to handle. Then again, that may have been an absolutely unique chance for a club like Sheffield to be in Europe and one doesn't know when there might be one like that again.
Either way, it's a 9.5/10 effort we're giving them for finishing the season between eighth and tenth when they were odds-on for the drop at the start.
It will be very interesting to see whether they can hold into Dean Henderson. The on-loan keeper has arguably been their best player all season, they'd love to have him for another year and it would certainly do his progress some good for him to be playing every week for another season.
Can't be backing hosts
Southampton have been good since the restart, unbeaten in their last five, which includes wins over Man City and away at Bournemouth. The Blades have had a tough couple of weeks, losing away at Leicester and at home to Everton but there's no disgrace in either of those results and it wasn't so long ago that they were beating the likes of Chelsea and Wolves, albeit at home.
So it's unlikely that the Saints will lose but it's also not so easy to make a case for backing them a 2.35/4. In fact, they've done most of their hard work away from home, which is why they rank in the Top 4 for results on the road this season. So we'll swerve the short price about a side who has a strange habit of performing away from home territory better than they do on home soil. It's 3.55/2 United and 3.55 the draw.
It's hard to ignore the claims of Danny Ings to get a goal. Three in his last four, five in his last six, he's a man in a form. There's also the small matter of the Golden Boot to play for. He has 21, Jamie Vardy has 23 so a brace here and he's tied if the Leicester hitman doesn't find the net. That's a bit of a steep ask but he can certainly grab one.
Put that together with the Saints scoring the opening goal, whether that's Ings or another Saints player. They've done so in five of their last six and as a 8/11 chance you should be safe here.
The double comes to 2.96.
Points Staked: 55.5
Points Returned: 57.31
P&L: +1.81 pts