SOUTHAMPTON are up against it in the Europa League. Can they see off FC Midtjylland on Thursday night? Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) looks at the odds.
FC Midtjylland v Southampton | Thursday 19:45 | BT Sport Europe
Southampton haven't exactly come out the 2015/16 blocks firing on all cylinders eh? A draw at Newcastle on opening weekend was followed by a 3-0 home humbling by Everton and a goalless affair against Watford. In between Everton and Watford they drew 1-1 at home to FC Midtjylland in the Europa League. Now it's time for the second leg.
Failure to qualify for the group stages would feel like a real downer for progressive Southampton and I feel it could have a negative effect on team morale. It might feel like a smart move to some but look what happened to Hull last season when they ducked out the competition early doors.
After their inauspicious start to the season this might be the boost the club needs to put them back on the straight and narrow. They face Norwich on Sunday and after going through here they'll feel confident of capturing three league points on Sunday. Surely that's what Ronald Koeman is thinking?
FC Midtjylland have a very average home record in Europe so far this season. A 1-0 win over Gibraltar part-timers Lincoln Red Imps was followed up by a 2-1 loss to APOEL Nicosia in the following Champions League round. And even last season in their only home European tie they lost 2-1 to Panathinaikos.
Southampton need to step up to the plate here and kick start their season. I fear a Europa League exit will puncture the bonhomie surrounding the club and could have negative implications. I'm not sure they'll let that happen and I'm happy to back them at 23/20 with Betfred.
FC Midtjylland v Southampton – Southampton to win (23/20 Betfred)