Southampton v Tottenham: Saints won't go down without a fight
Tottenham have a habit of dismissing the Premier League's also-rans but Andy Schooler expects Southampton to at least give them something to think about on Saturday...
"Spurs have scored in every away league game bar their recent trip to Chelsea, while you have to go back to October to find the last time Saints didn’t find the net at home."
Southampton v Tottenham
Southampton remain very much involved in the relegation scrap but there's little doubt they've improved since the arrival in December of boss Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Recognising the deficiencies in the squad, most notably the lack of a real goalscorer, the Austrian has looked at ways of getting more out of the players at his disposal.
Examples which have paid off include pushing James Ward-Prowse into a more attacking role - he's duly scored in five of his last eight league games and is 11/2 to score at any time in this one - while he's also managed to bring out the best in Nathan Redmond, who has clearly been asked to run at opposing defenders more, while the England international has also embraced being asked to play in different positions from game to game.
The Saints are still conceding too many for Hasenhuttl's liking - they've kept just two clean sheets in his 14 league games so far - but they've overcome that handicap on several occasions, most notably when they beat Arsenal 3-2 at St Mary's.
Southampton also drew 2-2 at home to Manchester United earlier this season, while in the reverse fixture last weekend they again caused them plenty of problems before going down to a late goal, 3-2 the final score.
This weekend they face another of the Big Six, Spurs, who have been ruthless in dismissing the Premier League' weaker teams.
They've won every game they've played bar one against the teams who currently occupy the bottom half of the table, the odd one out being their recent 2-1 loss at Burnley.
That defeat has sparked a run of three league games without a win, one that has basically ended their title hopes. Focus now, domestically at least, must be on nailing down a top-four spot given fifth-placed Arsenal are now only four points behind.
They will have been boosted by their midweek Champions League victory in Dortmund, secured by a thoroughly professional performance.
How much it took out of them is open to debate, although Harry Kane's goal early in the second half allowed them to ease off somewhat.
That match was Spurs' 26th in a 102-day period since the last international break but thanks to the next such window coming up, their clash with Southampton will be followed by 22 days without a game.
Mauricio Pochettino, returning to his former club, will doubtless be trying to squeeze every last drop out of his men before then and he is boosted here by the return to fitness of Dele Alli, adding to Eric Dier's midweek comeback. Kieran Trippier remains out, however.
With the aforementioned Kane having scored three in four games since his return from an ankle injury and six in his last four matches against the Saints, Spurs could easily make [1.9] about an away win look a steal, particularly when you consider that strong record against the 'also-rans'.
However, I do feel Southampton will cause them a few problems, particularly following that midweek trip to Germany, and I'm keen on finding a way to side with them.
While not convinced they'll get a result they badly need - they are [4.5] to win the game and [3.9] to draw it - it's another odds-on shot that looks good to me.
Both teams to score can be backed at [1.75] and is something which has occurred in 71% of Southampton's home games and 53% of Spurs' away games.
The bet has landed in nine of the last 11 meetings of the two sides, including the last six.
Spurs have scored in every away league game bar their recent trip to Chelsea, while you have to go back to October to find the last time Saints didn't find the net at home. Manchester City conceded here and so can Spurs.
An alternative option is the slightly bigger [1.84] about there being over 2.5 goals - that's occurred in eight of those 11 recent meetings. The percentage stats for this bet show Southampton meeting the criteria in 64% of home games (the figure rises to 71 under their new boss) and 67% of Tottenham away games.
However, it is the BTTS bet I prefer with both sides providing attacking threat at present without being particularly secure at the back.
Same Game Multi
I've already mentioned Harry Kane's penchant for facing the Southampton defence, while Nathan Redmond should cause problems at the other end of the field - he has scored six times in 16 games under Hasenhuttl and has played a central attacking role of late.
The double of both players scoring in this game pays at 10.34.
Tottenham have lost just one of their last 13 Premier League meetings with Southampton (W10 D2), scoring at least once in all 13 games.
Andy Schooler's P/L 2018/19
1.5pts both teams to score @ 1.75