Southampton v Man United
Wednesday May 17, 19:45 BST
Live on Sky Sports 1
The Saints kept their hopes of a top eight finish alive with a win at Middlesbrough on Saturday and with two home fixtures as their final two outings, it would take a brave man to back against them achieving it. They are level on points with West Brom and Bournemouth, but they have a game in hand over the latter and a far easier run-in that the former.
Some Saints fans would still consider the campaign to be a bit below par however - and that's even taking into account that they reached the final of the EFL Cup. It's not so much the results - although they haven't been as a good as last year - it's more to do with the negative style of the manager.
Claude Puel's side have failed to score in each of their last three home matches and, in the wider picture, it's five blanks in seven in front of their own fans. Manolo Gabbiadini made an instant impact when he first arrived from Napoli, but he has now made six appearances without netting for the Saints.
The top four is long gone for Jose Mourinho's team, which is quite shocking given that they were the second favourites for the title and have only lost five times this term. Far too many draws have scuppered their chances though, but all is not lost as a victory over Ajax next week would give them their second trophy of the campaign and a place in next year's Champions League.
United have lost their last two league games - albeit at Arsenal and Spurs - and the focus will now be on matters in Stockholm. There are plenty of fringe players who will be trying to force their way into the starting XI for that night though - most notably, Wayne Rooney - so don't expect a hugely lethargic performance from the players that take the field in this match or against Crystal Palace on Sunday.
It will be very interesting to see what kind of side Mourinho fields for this fixture, as logic would suggest it would berelatively strong given that he has already announced that he will play a weakened line up on Sunday. I'm sure there will be some players rested though, so don't expect them to be at full strength.
Southampton 2.78 Man United 2.86 The Draw 3.40
Sometimes you look at a market and have absolutely no idea what to do. That was the case when I first saw the odds in this one, but the longer I thought about it, the morethe draw stuck out to me.
Firstly, it's the biggest price of the three outcomes, so that's a positive. Secondly, the visitors have had more draws this season than any other Premier League club - 14 from 36 matches. That's well over a third and the draw is bigger than 2/1.
The hosts haven't been too shy of a draw either as they have had nine so far and two of those have come within their four latest fixtures. It's also worth noting that it's not the worst result in the world for either team - it sets Southampton up for a top eight finish with Stoke at home to come, and it gets United back on the front foot ahead of the Europa League Final.
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
Over 2.5 Goals 2.20 Under 2.5 Goals 1.80
Half of me wants to put over 2.5 goals up as a selection as end of season games can sometimes go a bit crazy - note Chelsea's 4-3 win over Watford on Monday.
It's just not a big enough price to tempt me in though as the odds are closer than I expected and most things are pointing towards a low-scoring affair.
The pair of them haven't exactly been prolific in front of goal for a start. The intensity level of the players surely won't be at 100% either, and it's not like there is anything of real significance on the line.
A couple of weeks ago, I recommended a betting method known as 'Dutching' in the correct score market for a game and it duly obliged. I'm going to do the same again for this fixture as I think 0-0 and 1-1 should both be backed at11.50 and 7.40 respectively.
The staking plan is to back both outcomes to achieve the same profit, so for example if your total stake was £20, you would put £7.83 on 0-0 and £12.17 on 1-1. If either result came in, you would get roughly £90 back, meaning you are getting the two scorelines at around 7/2.
Back The Draw @ 3.40
Back 0-0 @ 11.50
Back 1-1 @ 7.40
Home » England » Tips for betting » Southampton v Man United: Close encounter expected at St Mary's
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