Mauricio Pochettino’s Southampton may have become the Premier League’s surprise package on a steady diet of wins to nil, but Stoke have maintained their Potteries impenetrability under Mark Hughes pointing to bagels all round at the Britannia, where a 0-0 correct score can be backed at 6/1.
Mark Hughes’ outfit are 11/5 underdogs for maximum reward, with the foreseen draw 21/10 and Southampton favourites for the win at 13/10.
Stoke have kept clean sheets in two of their four games at the Britannia Stadium this season.
Fans expecting the post-Pulis era to bring about a loosening of the Potters’ defensive morals will have been pleasantly surprised to see that, at least as far as their own turf is concerned, there has been no such occurrence.
The 0-0 draw with West Brom last time they played to their crowd was an impressive fourth shutout in their last nine home league games.
Southampton have scored once at most in their four Premier League away games so far.
The Saints haven’t exactly blasted off to a third-place perch on the back of a fusillade of goals and the league’s ninth-highest scorers have found them hardest of all to procure when on their travels.
Norwich are the only side to stop them netting, but in Adam Lallana’s deflected Old Trafford strike and a 90th Rickie Lambert penalty at the Hawthorns two of their three away strikes were somewhat fortuitous.
The Potters have the division’s most toothless home attack, while their visitors have its outright best rearguard.
It’s not just Stoke’s guests for whom goals have been in short supply, with just two registered for Hughes’ men in four home games so far.
They’ve managed more on their travels yet they’re still the Premier League’s joint-lowest scorers.
As such it would take a brave man to insist they’ll bag against the meanest defence in the English top flight, with Pochettino’s rabid pressers yielding a trifling three goals in nine 2013/14 games.