Portsmouth v Southampton | Tuesday 24th September 2019, 19:45 | Sky Sports
We all love a local derby, and they don’t much bigger than this south coast dust-up as Portsmouth entertain Southampton for a place in the next round of the EFL Cup. The magnitude of this game is increased even further knowing it last took place in the 2011/12 campaign, when both were in the Championship (both draws).
Taking away the whole local clash element to this, it could be argued that this is a game neither side particularly want at this moment in time. Pompey are struggling in the league at present, whilst the Saints saw their recent good run of form ended by another local rival in the form of Bournemouth on Friday night.
Neither will care much about the past when they take to the field however, it what should be a hotly-contested battle despite this essentially being League One versus Premier League.
Unrest at Fratton Park
The reality of the matter is that Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett finds himself under a little bit of pressure at this moment in time. For all that they made the play-off Final and won the EFL Trophy last season, that was then, and this is now. It has certainly been a bit of a struggle this time around, and the fans are starting to warm to the prospect of a potential change in management.
Why is that? Well, they’ve certainly been a ‘cup team’ this season. They’ve knocked Championship duo Birmingham and QPR out of the EFL Cup to set up this Southampton clash already, plus they’ve got two EFL Trophy wins to their name as well. They’re actually winless in the league since beating Tranmere 2-0 on 10th August. Too long for a side like Portsmouth at this level, which is why fans aren’t too happy.
That is why I state this is probably a game they could do without at this moment in time. For all that they are the underdogs in one sense, defeat would still increase the pressure on Jackett. One the flip side, the stage is set for them to cause a cup shock on the TV and really kick-start their season, but many of a Pompey persuasion aren’t too expectant.
Saints go marching on the road
Whilst Southampton lost to Bournemouth on Friday, they were unbeaten in four in league and cup prior to that. The opening day defeat to Burnley proved to be a bit of a kick up the backside that the Premier League side needed. They did lose to Liverpool a few days after, but it was a major improvement.
Ralph Hasenhuttl has switched to a four-man defence, providing them with greater balance. It seems to suit them away from home, as well.
That is because they’ve won away at Brighton and Sheffield United, as well as Fulham in the last round of the cup. They’ve perhaps more importantly kept three clean sheets in those, too. It was arguably their away form why they struggled so much last season.
Consider the fact they beat Tottenham, Arsenal, Wolves and Everton at St Mary’s, but lost to the likes of relegated Cardiff and Fulham away. They only won four away in the league last season, and have already reached two this time around and we’re still in September.
Something also quite noticeable about Southampton away is that goals don’t necessarily flow, that is either when facing one of the big boys or the rest of the division. Only four of their last 16 in league and cup away has contained a minimum of four goals. Two of those came away at Man Utd and Tottenham. They’ve only failed to score at Burnley, Arsenal, West Ham, Chelsea and Cardiff in that time – note two of the ‘big boys’.
The betting angle
When we consider League One versus Premier League we have to find a way of getting the top flight side on our side. It would just be typical British cup football for Portsmouth to find a way, and I don’t doubt that they will have a go, but I just fancy the Saints to be too classy on the night.
You can find quotes of evens on a Southampton win alone, which is quite generous all things considered, but I think we can throw in Under 3.5 Goals as well. This is priced at 9/5 (Coral).
The head-to-head record should be taken with a pinch of salt considering the last meeting was in 2012, and whilst it has been a game that has contained goals, we have to take the occasion into the equation, too. Saints to be too good, but not too good, if you see what I mean!
Portsmouth v Southampton – Southampton to win and Under 3.5 Goals (9/5 Coral)