Gallagher impressing in much-improved Palace side
Patrick Vieira wasn’t everyone’s idea of what was needed for Palace to take a step up but he’s been pretty impressive so far.
They’re 12th and with all due respect top Roy Hodgson, look a better, more ambitious side who have more strings to their bow.
They beat Everton at the weekend and though the Toffees are hardly in any sort of form, 3-1 was still a good result.
A lot of the good work done in attacking positions is down to the influence of loanee Conor Gallagher.
He impressed last season in a poor WBA side but has really kicked on this campaign.
Opta tell us that no English player has contributed (with goals or assists) to his team than the on-loan Chelsea man. He has six goals and three assists, contributing to 41% of their goals so far.
Vieira has pretty much a full squad of players to call upon. He shouldn’t leave out Christian Benteke for this one. The Belgian international has six in his last nine against the Saints.
Key injuries in key positions plaguing Saints
16th place isn’t where they’d want to be and (injuries aside) it’s hard to put your finger on what exactly has gone wrong. Same manager, pretty much the same bunch of players.
Yes, they lost their main goal threat in Danny Ings and yes they’ve missed his goals. But one man doesn’t make a team and the likes of Che Adams, Armando Broja and Adam Armstrong are all pretty capable and should have mustered a few more goals between them by now.
All three of those could be missing, by the way.
Adams is definitely out and the other two are touch and go, both with muscle injuries bothering them. It could mean a second appearance of the season for Shane Long if they’re all unavailable.
At the other end they have plenty of problems, too. First-choice goalkeeper Alex McCarthy is injured, as is his back-up Fraser Forster. So veteran Willy Caballero should play again after conceding three against Arsenal.
It’s 2.245/4 the home win, 3.711/4 the away one and 3.412/5 the draw.
Long-term stats suggest the Saints are worth siding with in some capacity. After all, they’ve won five of the last eight played at Selhurst Park.
More from Opta: of teams they’ve faced at least 10 times in the Premier League, against no side have Southampton won a higher share of their games in the competition than they have against Crystal Palace (58% – 14/24).
But as we all know, stats can be manipulated to say whatever you want them to say so to play devil’s advocate, there are good reasons why Palace are the bet.
Palace have lost just once all season at home so only Liverpool have a better home record than them this campaign.
More proof that it’s the Eagles you should go with? Ok, here you go: Southampton have lost 15 of their last 19 Premier League away games (W2 D2), with Saints conceding 50 goals and scoring just 13 in these matches. Also Opta.
So, take your pick of which lot of numbers you want to go with.
I’ll take Palace, good at home this season so far, to win. But I’m not sure I want to be taking 2.265/4. We can do better by going with the hosts to win to nil.
I’ve already mentioned the visitors might be without their three first-choice attackers and it’s worth remembering the Saints average considerably less than a goal a game on the road.
The Palace win to nil is 13/5 and looks better value than the straight home win.
There might be some value in going high on bookings here.
Ref Simon Hooper hasn’t been shy to get the yellow card out this season, though admittedly not the red one yet.
Across 12 Premier League and Championship games this season, he’s shown 47 yellows so just shy of four a game.
Three of Palace’s seven home games and three of Southampton’s eight away games have had over 40 points (four yellows).
So, looking at the sides in question, the 8/5 on over 40 points doesn’t look fantastic but if you pay more attention to who the man in the middle is, it looks a decent bet.
There’s nothing to suggest this is going to be a high-scoring game, with the Saints’ inability to score many away from home a key consideration.
So, it’s no surprise that under 2.5 goals is favourite at 8/11 but it’s still worth going with, as part of a Bet Builder.
Southampton’s results on the road have been poor but they’ve had a surprisingly high amount of corners. Here’s how many they’ve managed in their away games this season: 8, 4, 5, 2, 8, 7, 7, 7, 8.
That’s five out of eight that have gone over 6.5 corners for them on the road, making a repeat of that very appealing indeed, at 2/1. The double comes to 4.92 and I think that’s worth a bet, as well.