THE Premier League continues on Saturday as relegation threatened Southampton host Chelsea at St Mary's Stadium. Ross Casey(@rosscasey24) shares his picks.
Southampton v Chelsea | Saturday 14th April 2018, 12:30 | Sky Sports
The Saints have a game in hand on their closest relegation rivals Crystal Palace, but they currently reside three points behind them and occupy the third and final spot in the dreaded zone.
They have been a middle of the road side for too long now, with a lack of goal threat – only three sides have scored less than The Saints at home – and losing the defensive stability of seasons gone by. Since Virgil Van Dijk last played for them, they have kept just two clean sheets in 15 matches. Although the problem cannot simply be attributed to a VVD shaped hole in defence – they had only managed four before his last appearance in December.
That two-fold problem is the reason they are where they are, they aren't scoring enough goals and they don't keep teams at bay. Their last home win in the Premier League came way back in November, when they put Everton to the sword 4-1. Their FA Cup run hasn't been enough to appease their justifiably angry fans, as two wins in 19 league games is simply not good enough.
Charlie Austin was back in the goals last time out in their 3-2 loss at Arsenal, but Jack Stephens was sent off so another defensive reshuffle will be required again here for new manager Mark Hughes.
That made for sober reading didn't it? Unfortunately, Chelsea are also in a downward trajectory of late, with the uncertainty surrounding manager Antonio Conte a big reason for the huge difference between this season and last.
Three wins from 13 heading into this fixture tells its own story. Whilst attacking hasn't been a problem in terms of their goal tally – they have only failed to score in three matches on that poor run – their defence has been at sixes and sevens compared to the 2016/17 campaign.
For a title winning side that relished keeping a clean sheet it is very bizarre to know they have not kept one in any of their last eight matches now, conceding a total of 12 in that sequence.
The Betting Angle
With Southampton keeping just two cleans sheets in 15 and Chelsea conceding in each of their last eight fixtures, surely both teams to score looks on – especially as Southampton will be missing Jack Stephens in defence and can welcome back Charlie Austin to their attack.
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Southampton v Chelsea – Both Teams To Score (10/11 188Bet)