Southampton (8-9-15) vs. Wolverhampton (13-8-11)
Premier League: Saturday 13-04-2019 at 15:00 UST (St. Mary’s Stadium)
Odds: Southampton: 2.60, Draw: 3.25, Wolverhampton: 3.00
Free Premier League picks Southampton vs. Wolverhampton
Southampton welcomes Wolverhampton on Saturday in a crucial match in the battle to avoid relegation. The Saints are now five points above the relegation zone and need the tree points to stay ahead of Cardiff. They have been in a better dynamic in the last five games. Indeed, they have won three of these, losing to Manchester United and Liverpool in tight games. Additionally, they won against Tottenham at home, 2-1, in a match full of character and self-sacrifice. Southampton have a fairly accessible calendar and could stock up on confidence with a win. As a result, FiveThirthyEight projects that the Saints’ chances of being relegated are only at 1%. Offensively, they have played quite well lately. Indeed, they equalled their season record of five games in a row with at least one goal. Furthermore, they average 1.6 goals in that stretch, compared to 1.1 over the season. However, the real improvement is in defence: Southampton have only conceded six goals in that five-game period. Comparatively, they conceded 1.75 goals on average in the 27 previous Premier League games. Saints’ devotees will undoubtedly hope that their team’s form continues this weekend.
Wolverhampton‘s consistency this season is the main reason for their 8th place in the league. As a newly promoted team, the Wolves have been nothing short of impressive. Indeed, they are very solid defensively and have been able to avoid losses throughout the season. Their defence is in fact the 5th in the league and has been their main asset throughout the season. In fact, according to Understat, they have even been unlucky in defence. Wolverhampton‘s “Expected Goals Against” (xGA) were at 34.72, compared to the 39 conceded. Their season is especially impressive when compared to other promoted teams. Indeed, Fulham is already relegated and Cardiff are in the 18th place, battling relegation. Furthermore, they qualified for the semi-final of the FA Cup, lost in a thriller to Watford (3-2 aet). Nevertheless, Wolves don’t really have anything to play for anymore. Consequently, they might lack intensity and motivation for Saturday, especially after their FA Cup heartbreak.
Ralph Hasenhüttl should compose his team in his usual 3-4-2-1. Lemina and Obamefi are still injured but the Saints should be able to rely on centre-back Vestergaard’s return. The other two centre-backs should be Yoshida and Bednarek. Southampton’s midfield is full of talent, Højbjerg and Romeu should start. The Dane’s goal offered the win to Southampton two weeks ago at Brighton. He will undoubtedly hope to emulate his impact Saturday. Both him and Romeu are able to control possession and should be of great value against the Wolves’ pressing. The wing-backs should be Ryan Bertrand and Yann Valery. The two CAMs will more likely be Ward-Prowse and the Nathan Redmond. Redmond’s pace and Ward-Prowse’s technical abilities should offer a lot of space to striker Danny Ings.
Nuno Espirito Santo should use a similar shape to Hasenhüttl’s team with a flat 3-5-2. The Portuguese tactician should be able to rely on all his players for this match. Rio Patricio should start in goals with a line of Bennett, Saïss and Boly in front of him. The wing-backs should be Doherty and Castro unless Santo gives the nod to a more attacking player like Traoré. In the midfield, Moutinho, Neves and Dedoncker should all keep their starting spot. The trio is a well-oiled system mixing technicality and resilience. Finally, Jota and Jimenez, who signed a deal at the club until 2023 on Friday, should complete the line-up. The tandem have developed great chemistry and combined for 19 goals and 11 assists in the Premier League.
Free Premier League schedule Wolverhampton vs. Southampton
Southampton have more to play for and should come into this match with intensity. Their home record lately has been respectable, with two wins in their last three games. Wolverhampton might still be stunned from their FA Cup elimination and, despite their inherent quality, might not produce their best match of the season. I see Southampton win this game by a small margin, 1-0.
PICK: Southampton 1-0 Wolverhampton