Southampton 1-2 Arsenal (Own goal)
Sparta Prague 2-2 Mlada Boleslav (David Lafata, Josef Sural)
Kick Off: 20.05, 15/09/2016, BT Sport 2
Stadium: St Mary’s
* Southampton to win @ 12/25
* Under 2.5 goals @ 9/10
* Dusan Tadic to score (check prices)
* Saints boss Claude Puel made it out of Champions League groups as manager of both Lille and Lyon
* None of Sparta Prague’s five away games so far this season have seen three or more goals scored
* Dusan Tadic fired home a penalty in Southampton’s first European fixture of last season
A look at Southampton’s betting odds
With no wins in four Premier League matches under Claude Puel, Saints fans are clinging on to the thought that it took their side almost this long to get going last season, but European football is supposed to be the Frenchman’s specialty.
Puel has experienced Champions League group-stage action as boss of Monaco, Lille and Lyon, taking four points off Manchester United with Les Dogues in 2006/07, before bowing out to the same club 2-0 on aggregate in the last 16 a year later.
He made it as far as the semi-finals with Lyon in 2009/10, the 55-year-old’s top achievement in management so far, and Puel’s new charges haven’t been quite as bad as their current 18th place suggests.
They’ve been beaten away by a rejuvenated United side and an under-pressure Arsenal outfit that needed Santi Cazorla’s controversial last-minute penalty to claim all the points.
Dusan Tadic was cruelly denied a goal when his shot was deemed to bounce in off Gunners goalie Petr Cech, five days after the Serb bagged for his country in a 2-2 draw with Republic of Ireland.
Tadic’s odds to finally register a 2016/17 strike for his club will be worth a look in the betting.
A look at Sparta Prague’s betting odds
The Czech’s have got off to a flyer domestically, sitting in second unbeaten behind shock leaders Zlin after six games, but their European exploits show huge weaknesses ahead of the trip to England’s south coast.
Steaua Bucharest, who Manchester City went on to beat 6-0 on aggregate at the Champions League playoff stage, ensured their progression ahead of Sparta thanks to a 2-0 win in Romania, while Danish side SonderjyskE held Zdenek Scasny’s men to a 0-0 draw in Haderslev last time out on the road in this competition.
They’re big odds at 23/4 in bwin’s betting for those who fancy a punt, but this looks a huge step up in class.