PREMIER LEAGUE boff Adam Goodwin (@AGJournalism) shares his verdict on Tuesday night's crunch Premier League between relegation battlers Swansea and Southampton.
Swansea v Southampton | Tuesday 8th May 2018, 19:45 | Sky Sports
“A relegation six-pointer” is a cliché that seems to be banded about willy-nilly these days, but this game at the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday really is one.
Swansea in 18th, Southampton in 17th. Swansea on 33 points, Southampton on 33 points. One game to go. Something’s got to give.
The Swans were bottom of the league and four points adrift of safety when Carlos Carvalhal took over, but after a miraculous recovery under the former Sheffield Wednesday boss, they’re now just a few points from another season in the Premier League.
The Welsh outfit are currently winless in seven games, grudgingly drawing to Huddersfield and West Brom in that time. They’ve only scored two goals in those seven games and are struggling to find someone to consistently stick the ball in the back of the net.
Jordan Ayew leads their goalscoring charts on 11 goals, with Tammy Abraham not far behind on eight. They’ll need one of these guys to step-up on Tuesday if they are to continue their surge out of the drop zone.
Since Carvalhal took over on 24th December, Swansea’s record at home is W4-D2-L2, which is remarkable. They only games they’ve lost have been to Tottenham and Chelsea and have beaten Liverpool, Arsenal and Burnley at the Liberty. They’ve scored 11 goals in those eight games too, which is all good reading if you fancy Swansea to steer clear of relegation this season.
The appointment of Mark Hughes was greeted with a fair amount of displeasure, with many doubting his ability to keep Southampton in the Premier League. But, barring the 3-0 defeat to West Ham, the Saints have done okay since Hughes has come in.
Narrow defeats to both Arsenal and Chelsea, along with a three-match unbeaten streak, has just about dragged them out of the drop zone.
They were less than a minute away from three points on Saturday, before a late, late Everton equaliser snatched victory away from them. A win there would have done wonders for their chances of survival, but now they look ahead to a must-not-lose game in South Wales on Tuesday.
Goals hasn’t been a problem for Southampton this season, scoring as many as Newcastle and Burnley, who are both in the top half of the table. But against a tactically-astute Carlos Carvalhal side, I have a feeling this might change on Tuesday.
The betting angle
A draw on Tuesday would mean that Swansea would go into the final game of the season needing a win at home to Stoke (assuming Southampton lose against Southampton), something which I think they’re more than capable of doing.
Whether Carvalhal will have that in the back of his mind, I don’t know, but I do think he’ll set his team up to be solid, because a loss would be detrimental to their survival hopes.
Swansea struggle to score goals and, with a defensive mentality on Tuesday, I don’t think they’ll concede many either. Whilst Southampton haven’t had a massive problem with scoring goals, I do fancy them to struggle to breakdown a reasonably resolute Swansea defence.
Under 2.5 Goals is 4/6 with Betfair and it’s landed in six of Swansea’s last seven league games and Southampton’s last two away games.
Don’t expect too many goals at the Liberty on Tuesday!
Swansea v Southampton – Under 2.5 Goals (4/6 Betfair)