Southampton are a miniscule 2/25 to finish above Swansea in the Premier League, but if the Swans aren’t careful they might just pip them to seventh spot.
If Arsenal justify 3/10 favouritism by lifting the FA Cup, the dubious prize of Europa League football will be their reward for doing so.
The Saints may be four points ahead of Garry Monk’s men with an ostensibly easier fixture list, but their season is beginning to deflate like a bouncy castle after a bar mitzvah.
At the bwin.com the odds moguls have gone as long as 27/5 that Swansea can overhaul the south coast side – here’s why it’s a generous assessment.
Morgan Schneiderlin and Fraser Forster are massive injury absences
The Frenchman is the brains of the Southampton midfield and they’re a far less stubborn proposition without him, losing 50% of fixtures in which he didn’t make the starting line-up so far this term.
Forster’s recently-sustained long-term knee complaint is a further hammer blow to the previously parsimonious defence that had underpinned the Saints’ strong season.
Since Kelvin Davis began deputising, Ronald Koeman’s men have kept one clean sheet in five games, shipping twice in each of their last three.
The Swans are in easily the better form of the pair
South Wales’ finest have won four of their last six league games, losing just once, whereas their seventh-spot rivals have just two victories (and three losses) to their names in the same timeframe.
Since Swansea pulled off a 1-0 smash and grab at St Mary’s on February 1st they’ve averaged 1.76 points across the next 13 games.
Southampton, by contrast, have managed only 1.15, meaning if their current rates of accumulation continue across the rest of the campaign the gap between the sides would be reduced to roughly a point.
That wouldn’t be enough to see them overhaul Monk’s men, however…
Swansea have a far more certain three points buried among their remaining fixtures
The joust for Europa League action could be decided by very slender margins and so the sight of a visit to Crystal Palace among the Liberty Stadium side’s last three foes is easily the most obvious win among either club’s outstanding assignments.
Alan Pardew’s side are safe for the season and do their winning away from home in any case – they’d be 17th in a division based purely on form in front of their own fans.
They’ll be far more digestible than relegation battlers Leicester and Aston Villa, both of whom will be eyeing the downwardly mobile Saints hungrily.