Wolves v Southampton
Thursday 11 February, 17:30
Live on BT Sport
Wolves missing key men
Nuno Espírito Santo will be hoping that the FA Cup can provide a bit of rest-bite from their faltering Premier League campaign. There are plenty of mitigating circumstances for their poor form, but the fact remains that they have only won once since December 15th, and that victory over Arsenal was gifted to them somewhat by the referee.
They did put in a more resolute defensive display in the 0-0 draw with Leicester at the weekend, but it’s worth remembering that the Foxes only had Jamie Vardy available from the bench.
Raul Jimenez has been the big miss for Wolves, as he continues his recovery from his head injury. However I haven’t really seen it noted how much they have suffered the loss of Diogo Jota – even if they were started the season well without him.
Southampton need to put a difficult fortnight behind them
It hasn’t been a great couple of weeks for Southampton, as they have lost their last four matches – five in total if you concentrate solely on their league results. The 9-0 defeat at Old Trafford was clearly an anomaly, but Ralph Hasenhüttl must be concerned by the 3-2 loss at Newcastle on Saturday.
His team had a one-man and then two-man advantage in the second half, but they couldn’t find an equaliser, and conceding three to Newcastle is a worry in itself.
The positive from that performance was the goal for new loanee, Takumi Minamino, but he is cup-tied for the trip to Molineux. On the plus side, Kyle Walker-Peters should be back for Thursday’s clash, however Theo Walcott remains a longer term absentee.
The hosts are the favourites for this last 16 tie, with their price trading at around the 2.427/5 mark on the Betfair Exchange. Southampton are 3.39/4 and the draw is a shade higher at 3.3512/5.
When thinking about the outcome of this match, I was finding it quite difficult to come up with the winner. Therefore, when taking the odds into account, I have to believe that the visitors are the value.
The Saints are lacking options in the attacking third, but this isn’t the same Wolves defence of the last couple of years – in terms of effectiveness, anyway. Wolves are also struggling for goals in the absence of Jimenez, so it’s possible that a single goal could settle the tie.
Clearly the visitors aren’t in great form, but it wasn’t too long ago that they were winning at Villa and Brighton, and drawing at Chelsea. They are more than capable of winning at Molineux at present.
As already alluded to, I can’t see there being many goals in this game, and that is reflected by the market as Under 2.5 is the favourite at 1.84/5. Over 2.5 is 2.26/5.
Wolves’ match with Leicester is fresh in the memory, and that was a very drab affair indeed. A goalless draw was the right result, and four of their last five have seen Under 2.5 backers collect.
Southampton have conceded a dozen goals in their last three hours of football, but I can’t see their defence being overworked here, and let’s not forget that the nine at Old Trafford were when they were down to 10 men. It’s also worth noting that prior to their last two away games, they had three in a row end with two goals or fewer being scored.
When it comes to a Same Game Multi selection, I am definitely keen to double down on Under 2.5 Goals and a Southampton win. If we then add in Danny Ings to have 2+ Shots o Target, we get a bet that adds up to 21/1.
Key Opta Stat
This will be the fifth FA Cup meeting between Wolves and Southampton, with each side winning twice in the previous four. Southampton won the last meeting 2-0 in March 2003, en route to reaching the final that season.