High-flyers Southampton and West Ham to keep up winning ways
Two of this seasons surprise packages, Southampton and West Ham United, were tipped to have a turbulent term, but head into this Saturday’s thrilling 3pm fixtures both in the Premier League top five.
Whilst the hosts both hope to keep climbing the league ladder, respective Midlands visitors Leicester City and Aston Villa are both in need of points as they stumble around and above the relegation zone.
Southampton v Leicester City
The Saints are currently earning all the plaudits, as they sit a sensational second in the Premier League, after losing just two of their 10 opening clashes. This winning streak, and their simply scintillating football, makes them odds-on at 4/9 to claim their fourth consecutive home scalp.
Visitors Leicester (6/1 for a surprise victory), meanwhile, have suffered a severe dip in form following their promising start to the campaign, and are without a win in their last five league games.
Nigel Pearson, who has a brief spell in charge of Southampton back in 2008, will be sending his Foxes into the fray hoping they can recapture that early season spirit, and may be able to welcome back defender Matthew Upson, who has returned to training.
In a further boost, Leonardo Ulloa should be set to start at St Mary’s after only being fit enough to make the bench last time out. Back Leicester’s leading scorer at 7/1 with Coral to find his form and open the floodgates for the Foxes.
Ronald Koeman has seen his Saints side rack up 13 goals in their last four outings in all competitions, meaning the south coast club are an excellent 13/8 to score three or more against a Leicester team that have not kept a clean sheet for six games.
Top Southampton marksman and Italy international Graziano Pelle is 3/1 to bag a brace or better for the third time this term in all competitions. He will be supported by Serbian maestro Dusan Tadic (5/4 to net anytime), and starlet Sadio Mane (4/1 to grab a goal last), who could replace Shane Long in the starting XI.
West Ham v Aston Villa
The visiting Villans will be aiming to steal the headlines back from hosts West Ham (odds-on favourites to win at 8/11), with pressure piling on under-pressure boss Paul Lambert after the Midlands men recorded a dismal Premier League run of six successive defeats.
Sam Allardyce, basking in the glow of his Manager of the Month award, is anxiously waiting to see whether Senegal striker Diafra Sakho, who also picked up a gong for Best Player, will be fit enough to feature. If he does, the fearsome forward is 4/1 to close scoring after bagging six in his last six.
In Sakho’s absence, attacking partner Enner Valencia stepped up to head home last time out, and is 4/1 to strike first again, whilst recalled England international Stewart Downing is also 4/1 to be on target anytime.
Team news is not as bright for Villa, however, who will be without recently returned forward Christian Benteke, due to suspension. Instead, Lambert will be hoping Andreas Weimann (2/1 to net anytime) and Gabriel Agbonlahor (7/1 to hit home first), can end the Villans’ current dry spell in front of goal.
Big Sam should be feeling confident, even after a wobble against Stoke City last time out, as the Hammers managed to keep clean sheets against the Villans in both of their encounters last term. West Ham are 11/8 to do so again here, or 19/10 to win to nil.