Something’s got to give in disciplined Hammers and Saints defences
No Premier League team has kept more clean sheets than West Ham this season with 13 and four in a row. They host a Southampton side that has sealed 10 shut-outs of their own, their last two coming in successive away games.
Coral’s odds of 9/4 on a draw, and 10/1 for a 0-0 result look extremely tempting then. That scoreline was how the reverse fixture panned out in September. Clean sheet prices on the Hammers (7/2) and Saints (21/10) should be snapped up by punters too.
Both West Ham, 11/5 for victory here, and Southampton (11/8) have benefited from consistency of selection in their back fives.
Sam Allardyce’s side have named the same players in defence for three games running – all clean sheets – and the Saints reaped similar rewards by developing a miserly record on the road.
Four of the last six meetings between them have seen the spoils shared, but three of those ended 1-1 – an 11/2 chance.
Big Sam’s boys have failed to score in 10 outings, however, and are still missing suspended record signing Andy Carroll.
That failure to find the net is not a recent phenomenon, even without West Ham target man Carroll. Each of their last three matches has been a 2-0 win, which is 14/1 here.
Kevin Nolan scored four of those six goals and you can back him at 2/1 to net anytime, or take odds of 12/1 for him to bag another brace or better.
Mauricio Pochettino’s Southampton, meanwhile, have been unable to score in just four outings – only top-four teams Arsenal and Liverpool have recorded fewer blanks. The portents for Saints attackers against this opposition, on paper at least, are far from encouraging though.
Top-scorer Jay Rodriguez only has only netted once when facing the Hammers – that was a consolation for Burnley in a 5-1 mauling. Rickie Lambert, who may be vying with the banned Carroll for a spot on England’s World Cup roster, has never scored against them.
Southampton captain Adam Lallana does have a goal in this fixture, but has yet to be on the winning side in four appearances. Back the Saints skipper at 15/8 to score here as a youthful frontline should finally have its day against dogged defending.