Alan Dudman successfully tipped Southampton's draw with Newcastle last time at 5/2, but he thinks Ralph Hasenhuttl's men might struggle against free-scoring West Ham this Saturday...
"This could play into the hands of a side brimming with confidence and goals, and lest we not forget, Moyes guided his team to nine away victories last term and they were always a threat from set-pieces.."
Can Saints address the goals conceded column?
Southampton grasped a point from Newcastle in their match before the international break, and thankfully the 96th minute penalty from James Ward-Prowse ensured a profit from my match preview with the draw prediction bet at 3.55. A pity we couldn't get one of the Sportsbook Multiples home too at big prices, and all we needed were assists from Matt Ritchie and Allan Saint-Maximim. The French winger got the goal, which gives food for thought for covering those bets in the future with half point stakes on both scoring and assisting.
The end-to-end 2-2 at St James's Park featured some shoddy defending, but the Saints were full value for their point (their second of the season) following a storming first-half performance, probably their best half of football thus far. Manager Ralph Hasenhuttl changed the shape in the second 45 and they had to weather the Toon storm as they looked far more open.
The 'goals against' was a big problem in their previous campaign, and a lack of an experienced centre-back with a defensive midfielder wasn't exactly addressed in the transfer window either, as the club's policy to shift to buying younger players from bigger clubs continued.
Whether new signing Lycano from Torino will be the answer is open to debate, but they've got some good young players in Tino Livramento, Thierry Small and Dynel Simeu. Livramento looks an absolute steal from Chelsea judged on his marauding performances so far.
But it's back to the goals against column, and the Saints have shipped in every game so far with five in their two away games against Everton and Newcastle, and that's a big worry going into Saturday against a potential top-six side.
Southampton are priced at 5.49/2 in the Relegation market, odds that suggest they shouldn't have any worries staying up. It's a possible lay-to-back long term as a host of other clubs are a lot shorter in the betting. Arsenal by the way are 24.023/1 to go down.
Fine transfer window for Moyes
The feelgood factor has been around West Ham for a long time now. The well-trumpeted end to last term, and missing the Champions League by two points has carried on to a fresh, vibrant campaign with the Londoners continuing their free-scoring form with 10 goals in three.
Manager David Moyes pulled off some good business with deadline deals for Nikola Vlasic from CSKA Moscow, Alex Kral to add to the Czech contingent (from Spartak) and Kurt Zouma from Chelsea. Vlasic will be hungry and has a point to prove as he was deemed a failure at Everton. But the consensus from Toffees' fans was that he was excellent technically but never got a chance under Sam Allardyce following the chaos of the Ronald Koeman months.
Vlasic will add goals, if only Moyes had signed Jesse Lingard too. We will never know if the Manchester United attacker was open to moving again to London, but it would have been a spectacular window if the Hammers moved heaven and earth to get the England man.
Prior to MD3, West Ham were 16/1 for a Top Four Finish, they are now 11.521/2 despite drawing their previous match with Crystal Palace. They remain unbeaten though, and the Europa League is on the horizon next week with Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday. These are exciting times and they are 15.014/1 in the Winner market - only two points bigger than Napoli.
With West Ham second in the table and unbeaten, and a batch of excellent new signings, the visitors look a good bet here to continue this compelling narrative. My colleague Mike Norman made a salient point in his match preview with Leicester how a lot of squad have got their first season under their belts - in particular Said Benrahma - who has scored two in three. The winger has been nominated for PL player of the month with Antonio. Moyes is in with a shout too for manager of the month.
Touching on the Leicester game, and we have a similar sort of market again as the Hammers were 2.77/4 for that, and they aren't far off at 2.588/5 for Saturday. It looks a bet.
West Ham United
Granted, the Foxes are woeful defensively at the moment, but West Ham's 4-2-3-1 enjoys a lot of success against high-pressing teams, as they tend to invite the press and hit opponents with width using full-backs as auxillary wingers. Hasenhutll is famous for his 'go-go' pressing, although he changed that in the Manchester United game to allow Fred more of the ball. Perhaps he was listening to Troy Deeney on Talksport!
This could play into the hands of a side brimming with confidence and goals, and lest we not forget, Moyes guided his team to nine away victories last term and they were always a threat from set-pieces - something the Scot has really maximised on. A lack of an experienced defender or two at the back for the hosts could create its own problems.
Do I see West Ham scoring? Yes. If you need some extra cover, the Sportsbook offers 8/11 on the Draw No Bet, which is more than reasonable.
Southampton have conceded in every game, West Ham have scored in all three so far, so it is no surprise to see Both Teams To Score price available to back at 1.625/8. That's a little too short for us to get involved with. Excitement is very much anticipated here with some good forwards on show.
Backing Over 2.5 is nudging 1.804/5, with the Over 3.5 Goals at 2.829/5. We might even consider the Lord Cardigan route of bravery here considering West Ham's away wins of 1-4 and 2-4 this term, so the Over 4.5 at 5.69/2 is a possible. An early couple of goals of course gives lots of room to trade back your stake.
It's clear I am with an away victory knowing that West Ham attack. According to Opta Stats, As well as being the joint-highest scorers in the Premier League this season (10), the Hammers have the best shot conversion rate in the competition (19.6%). With an xG tally of 6.6, the Hammers have also scored 3.4 goals more than would be expected, the joint-highest number in the competition.
Moyes to gain another win and BTTS pays out 3.87 on the Sportsbook Betbuilder, while West Ham to win the Corners Match Bet is something to mull over too as they have won on that market in all three PL games so far - including a 10-0 against Leicester. The latter pays out 5.89.
KEY OPTA STAT: Southampton have kept just one clean sheet in their last 24 Premier League games, conceding in each of their last 14 since a 2-0 win against Sheffield United in March. It's their longest run without a clean sheet in the competition since September 2016 (16 games)
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Alan Dudman's P and L