Southampton vs Tottenham | Sunday 20th September 2020, 12:00 | Sky Sports
Southampton were many a fine pundits’ dark horses this season so there was general disappointment in the opening day defeat at Selhurst Park as Wilfried Zaha’s 50th goal in league football secured three points for the Eagles.
Ralph Hasenhuttl orchestrated a fantastic end to last season, unbeaten in their final seven games, in a run which included both Manchester clubs, so will be looking to bounce back from that unexpected defeat in the first game of this new campaign.
The Saints collected 60% of their points on the road last season, so a better return at home will definitely be required if they are to improve on last season’s 11th place finish and challenge those European places. Meanwhile, a midweek exit, despite fielding a full-strength side, from the Carabao Cup to Brentford did little to calm the nerves of the St Mary’s faithful.
There are definite parallels with this weekend’s opponents Spurs, who also ended the 2019/20 season well under the steadying influence of Jose Mourinho, finishing sixth to ensure Europa League football, with the first game of that campaign being just three days prior to this clash.
The legendary Portuguese manager will also be looking for a reaction from his team after their own 1-0 loss in their opening Premier League fixture at home to Everton – a performance he branded “lazy” accusing his side of not pressing and allowing their opponents to build from the back as they wished, in turn surrendering a proud 19 season undefeated record as a manager on the opening day of a league season.
Both sides seem to lack a creative spark in midfield so picking a winner in this one is a task I will leave to others and instead turn my attention to two player-based props bets.
James Ward-Prowse 2+ shots outside the box (6/5 Ladbrokes)
James Ward-Prowse has long since had a reputation as being one of the best exponents of dead ball situations in the Premier League and he is a player I always look out for since the prop markets became more widely available to us.
From his 232 total Premier League appearances, the Saints skipper has averaged just over a shot per-game in clocking up a total of 246 but with the majority of his work done beyond the 18-yard line it is Ladbrokes’ Shots Outside The Box market via their Bet Builder option that appealed to me.
In Ward-Prowse’s 10 league games since Project Restart he has had two or more shots from outside the box on six occasions (3, 2, 2, 0, 4, 0, 2, 1, 0, 2) including two efforts in that aforementioned defeat at Selhurst Park – both from free-kicks.
The 6/5 on offer for JWP to have 2+ Shots Outside The Box again looks slightly overpriced to me. For those of you looking at shots on-target Ladbrokes offer 19/20 for 1+.
However, all of the England midfielder’s eight accurate attempts from those 16 shots mentioned earlier were from outside the box so my advice would be to take a trip over to SkyBet and under the Player Shots On Target Specials you will see Ward-Prowse to have 1+ shot on-target from outside the area available at 5/4.
*Ryan Bertrand 3+ tackles (7/4 Ladbrokes)
Another bet I like is utilising the defensive strength of Southampton’s left-hand side with Nathan Redmond providing able support to Ryan Bertrand.
Interestingly, since the Premier League returned after lockdown Redmond has made more successful tackles than left-back Bertrand and is on a run of nine successive games where he has made at least one (2, 3, 2, 1, 3, 3, 1, 1, 3) – crossing 3+ in four of those including in that opener against Zaha’s Palace last weekend.
Redmond could be busy again with Spurs slightly favouring attacking down their right side with 38% of their play going down that side against the Toffees. New signing Matt Doherty has been brought in for his attacking threat as much as what he brings in defensively and Lucas Moura got the nod in that seasonal opener as the right sided attacker.
Lucas was dispossessed more than any other player up against the men from Merseyside – being tackled a total of seven times and if given another chance on the South Coast we should expect the task of nullifying him and Doherty being evenly split between both Redmond and Bertrand.
Ladbrokes offer 7/4 for Bertrand to make 3+ tackles and 2/1 for Redmond to cross the same line, so given the stats outlined previously and the price available I am going to side with the latter.
*With Redmond injured, take Bertrand instead.