Bournemouth vs Southampton | Saturday 20th March 2021, 12:15 | BT Sport
Southampton take the 60-mile round trip to Bournemouth to kick the FA Cup quarter-finals off.
The Saints have been in perilous form, losing 10 of their last 12 games. Boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has suggested it is their biggest game of the season as they look to put their league woes behind them and get a trophy.
Saints had a great start to the season but eventually fell way off the pace, it was not a complete surprise though given underlying data pointing towards slight overachievement and luck.
Bournemouth, on the other hand, have three wins in five, with arguably their best performance of the season coming last midweek against Top 6 rivals Swansea, winning the xG battle 2.1 – 0.32 when cruising to a 3-0 victory.
Given the situation, and the pressure on their manager and players to perform here against Championship opposition, I think we could see a spirited Saints display and a high tackle/foul count. The players Hasenhuttl sends out onto the pitch at the Vitality will know a place at Wembley is on the line.
Unfortunately, what no bettor wants to hear at the moment is that Martin Atkinson is in charge, who has been pretty poor in the cards department. The last 10 head-to-heads have seen a fair number of cards (8/10 have seen 3+ cards) and I’m hoping that trend continues.
I like the look of Saints captain James Ward-Prowse to be carded at 5/1 with Bet365, given the below statistics.
- A Saints centre midfielder has been booked in 9 of the last 10 head-to-heads.
- Referee Martin Atkinson has booked a Saints centre-midfielder in 5 of his last 6 games overseeing them.
- 25 of the 66 players to be carded against Bournemouth this season have been central midfielders, totting up 38% of their cards against chart.
- Ward-Prowse was booked on his last visit to the Vitality Stadium.
- Southampton have been carded in 12 of their last 13 FA Cup ties, earning 2+ in 7/13.
I also can’t be having Stuart Armstrong at 12/1 for a card with Bet365. No player should be 12/1 for a card in an FA Cup quarter final in my book, especially not one who has been booked in two of his last four league games.
Bet365 class him as the least likely outfield player to be cautioned and that just isn’t right – he commits 1.2 fouls per game (4th most in their squad). His cards have come no earlier than the 70th minute and have been for cynical fouls when the games open up late on, so could be one to watch as his price rises. The last time Atkinson refereed Southampton, he booked Armstrong at Goodison Park.
Finally I’m taking Ward-Prowse to have a shot on target from outside the area at 3/1 with Betfair, from their Odds Boost section. This bet has landed in 4 of his last 8 Premier League games. He’s had 5 shots on target in his last 3 games, landing two from outside the area recently against Man City.
The Saints captain has also had a shot on target in his last three games against Bournemouth, and his free-kick speciality always helps when backing this. 3/1 seems generous.