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Saints, Stoke and Swans’ top 10 credentials face stern PL tests

Coral preview the next assignments for Premier League top top 10 hopefuls Southampton (15/8), Stoke City (13/8) and Swansea City (6/5). Ronald Koeman’s Saints face a trip to West Ham, the Potters go to the Etihad to take on Premier League champions Manchester City and Garry Monk’s Swans host West Bromwich Albion.

West Ham v Southampton
The Saints, 7/4 to take all the spoils here, have lost heavily on this away day on each of the last couple of campaigns, but did manage to score on both occasions. Odds on a West Ham win with the two teams being on target are tempting at 24/5. It’s 23/10 for a draw.

Southampton summer signing Graziano Pelle broke his duck in the south coast side’s midweek Capital One Cup win at Championship club Millwall. His stoppage time strike sealed a 2-0 victory, and the Italian forward is a 6/1 shot to score last again.

Hammers boss Sam Allardyce, 6/4 for victory here, was less fortunate in that competition, however, losing a penalty shoot-out to League One promotion contenders Sheffield United. Many names were rested by the Londoners here, however, so first-team players will return fresh for the Saints’ visit to Upton Park.

Argentine attacker Mauro Zarate got his first West Ham goal in their 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace last time out in the Premier League, and he is 6/1 to open the scoring, or a shorter 7/4 in the anytime market.

Swansea v West Brom
Despite losing as many home matches against Albion as they’ve won in the last four meetings, Monk’s men start as odds-on 4/5 favourites for a fourth straight success (in all competitions) this season, which could temporarily take them top of the table.

The Baggies, who triumphed at the Liberty in mid-March, are rated 7/2 outside to give Alan Irvine his first Premier League victory here. It’s 5/2 for a draw.

None of the last four Swansea scorers from this fixture are still at the club, so it’s to French target man Bafetimbi Gomis, who broke his duck in the Capital One Cup win over Rotherham United, that Monk may now look. Odds of 5/1 say he will net last again.

West Brom, like the Swans, are unbeaten, albeit recording three draws (the latter with a subsequent penalty shoot-out win over Oxford United). Irvine may give Greece striker Georgios Samaras a debut in among his front three here, and the ex-Celtic and Manchester City man is 11/4 to cap his bow with a goal.

Man City v Stoke
A 3-0 win for City, odds-on at 1/5 for a home victory here, is par for the course in a Premier League fixture they have always won to nil at the Etihad. Odds of 11/2 say this will be the right scoreline.

Manuel Pellegrini is bringing Serio Aguero back to his predatory best, and the Chilean manager has brought the Argentina striker off the bench twice for his to round off wins over Newcastle United and Liverpool. Odds of 11/4 say Aguero will score last again here.

Montenegro counterpart Stevan Jovetic, meanwhile, is a 5/1 chance to repeat his brace from last week or better it against the Potters. Stoke boss Mark Hughes has the luxury of being able to rotate his own attacking options, having brought several bodies in for that area this summer.

Ex-England striker Peter Crouch was the last Potters player to score against City, doing so in consecutive games at the Britannia in 2012. His experience may be punters’ best bet if they fancy Stoke here at 4/1 in the anytime market.

Omens are not good for Hughes, however, as he is yet to manage a team to victory over the Etihad outfit since he was sacked in December 2009. Stoke are 14/1 outsiders to snatch a shock win, and 5/1 to even scrape a draw.