Last season Southampton loved the big games at St Mary’s, taking some notable scalps, but they didn’t seem to attack their more mundane fixtures with the same relish. It’s a trend that’s continued this term, making the 3/1 about Crystal Palace holding out for the draw an enticing prospect.
The Saints are red-hot 9/20 favourites, with Ian Holloway’s Premier League rookies a pipe-dreamer’s 13/2 for victory.
Despite earning a reputation for strength on home turf founded on wins over Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool in 2012/13, Southampton were beaten by Wigan, Sunderland, QPR and West Brom at St Mary’s last season.
The feeling that Mauricio Pochettino’s men find it hard to get up for the fixture list’s less exotic encounters is further enhanced by them being held to home draws by Fulham, Norwich, West Ham and Stoke during the same campaign.
Little appears to have changed in 2013/14 with the Hammers once more frustrating their hosts and only a late Jose Fonte header sparing them the ignominy of being beaten by Paolo Di Canio’s failing Sunderland side.
It was the same Black Cats outfit that were comfortably beaten 3-1 at Selhurst Park on their next outing.
The Eagles may have shipped two goals on trips to the Britannia Stadium and Old Trafford, but on both occasions freak incidents such as Ashley Young’s penalty-winning acrobatics or misplaced passes and clearances afforded their opponents the breakthrough and they are a deceptively well-organised side under Ian Holloway.
Southampton have scored just three times in five Premier League games, so if Palace can keep their suicidal streak in check they have a serious chance of leaving St Mary’s with a hard-earned point.
With the exception of their home blow-out against Sunderland, the Eagles’ Premier League games have all shimmied the 2.5 goals bar and they’ve only rippled the net on two other occasions.
Given each and every one of their hosts’ matches has done likewise, the 83/100 about under 2.5 goals also looks like a strong wager.