St. Mary’s – Sunday 1st February at 16:00 live on Sky Sports 1
The last Premier League fixture of the weekend comes from St. Mary’s as Southampton host Swansea. Both sides were knocked out of the FA Cup last weekend, the Saints by Palace and Swansea by lower league Blackburn. Ronald Koeman and Gary Monk now have only the league to focus on.
Despite many, including myself, expecting Southampton to start a descent down the table, it hasn’t happened, in fact they seem to be improving all the time. Ok, they have been knocked out of both domestic cup competitions by sides you would have expected them to beat. A trophy, or even a final would have been the icing on the cake to an already fantastic season but their league form is outstanding and they can now really focus on finishing in the top 4. They are unbeaten in 6 league matches scoring an average of 2 and conceding just 0.5 goals per game, this is an improvement on their season statistics so far of 1.68 scored and 0.73 conceded per game. In the last month they’ve beaten Man Utd, Arsenal and drawn with league leaders Chelsea, can the Saints actually finish in the top 4? I’ve been a doubter all season but my opinion is starting to change.
Every time I write an article involving Swansea, they seemed to have dropped down another place in the league table. They now sit in 9th with both Stoke and Newcastle snapping at their heels. The Swans recent form hasn’t been good, with a couple of heavy defeats to Chelsea and Liverpool mixed in with a couple of draws with West Ham and QPR, Gary Monk, now without Wilfred Bony, needs to get his side back to winning ways to ensure a place in the top 10. Finishing in the top half I think is their aim now, they won’t make it into Europe but a top 10 finish, although not outstanding, is more than respectable for the Swans. Their away form is the 5th worst in the league, something that needs to improve over the next 16 matches if they want to hold their league position.
Southampton at home are a real force, Swansea away are very poor. Southampton’s league form is outstanding, Swansea’s are inconsistent and they are leaking a lot of goals. Despite missing some key players through injury, the Saints should win this and comfortably, Southampton -0.75 @ 1.82 is my recommendation.
Price correct at time of writing.