The last time West Bromwich Albion and Southampton met on Guy Fawkes Night 2012, the Baggies were 2-0 victors at the Hawthorns thanks to a brace from Peter Odemwingie (remember him?).
It was a result that moved to the Baggies to fifth in the Premier League table, while it also meant that the visiting Saints already looked doomed at the bottom of the table with eight defeats from their opening ten matches back in the top flight.
How times change.
Both teams are now coasting towards mid-table security, though it is Saturday’s hosts who head into this weekend’s clash with the better form.
The Saints have only lost three league matches in 2013 and have enjoyed wins over Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side are currently on a six-game unbeaten run and they secured a very creditable point in their last outing, a goalless draw at Swansea City.
Conversely, the Baggies have only tasted victory three times this calendar year, losing seven of their last 13 league games.
Steve Clarke’s side were able to rescue a point against Newcastle last weekend thanks to Billy Jones’ second-half equaliser cancelling out Yoan Gouffran’s opener.
But the Baggies are now winless in four, and with nine defeats from their 16 away league fixtures to date, they are justifiably 3/1 outsiders in bwin’s 3way market, with the draw a 13/5 punt and a home win odds-on at 17/20.
Argentine manager Pochettino has attracted copious praise since he replaced Nigel Adkins in January, but the former Espanyol boss will not be happy until his side have claimed a top-ten finish in their return season in the big time.
And although West Brom have pulled off an excellent impression of a side whose season is petering out, they have targets of their own too, according to last weekend’s goalscorer Jones.
A top-eight finish, 50+ points and a record number of Premier League victories are on the agenda for the Baggies – but they won’t make any in-roads this weekend.
Clarke’s side have suffered from a lack of games since March and Saturday’s trip to St Mary’s will be only their fourth game in 41 days, while the Baggies also have a few key injury and suspension issues.
Captain Chris Brunt will definitely miss out with a knee complaint, as will Youssouf Mulumbu, who is still suspended, and right-back Jones is a big doubt with a gash on his leg.
History is not on the Baggies’ side either, as they have won just three times at Southampton in 34 attempts and have not tasted victory in the red half of Hampshire since August 9th, 1969.
The Saints will be encouraged by Andy Carroll’s performance against the visitors at the end of March and with the similarly-sized Rickie Lambert and strike partner Jay Rodriguez both in excellent form, they could make hay against the Baggies’ brittle defence, which has only kept two away clean sheets all season.
Lambert, the highest English scorer in the Premier League, is 9/2 to net first at St Mary’s, while his younger teammate is a shade bigger at 5/1.
The Baggies’ front two, Romelu Lukaku (15/2) and Shane Long (17/2), are both well-priced to break the deadlock, but the Saints’ defence has coped admirably against the likes of Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres in recent weeks, so James Morrison at 14/1 could be a more interesting punt.
Ultimately though, I can only see it being a disappointing trip for the 3,000-plus Baggies fans travelling to the south coast.
Southampton will be out to exact revenge for their humbling last November, which was one of the lowest points in their season, and valued at 25/2, I’d look at the 3-1 Saints win.
After all, this is a result that has seen off both City and Liverpool in recent weeks, and it is also worth remembering that Pochettino’s charges have kept only one clean sheet in their past eight home league matches.
New customers using their free £20 bet after registering with bwin could potentially pocket £270 for a 3-1 home win.
However, if you are looking for a slightly bigger gamble, then why not chuck Rodriguez in as well in the scorecast market?
The ex-Burnley hitman has flourished in the last few weeks with three goals in his last five outings, including two opening strikes, and at 40/1, it’s a bet potentially worth a whopping £820 for that £20 stake.