Southampton v Arsenal Betting Tips: Ings can be crucial in Saints' win
These two sides couldn't have had more contrasting fortunes since the resumption and the smart money is on the hosts winning again, says Jamie Pacheco.
Southampton v Arsenal Thursday June 25, 17:00 Sky Sports Main Event
Ings finally getting the support he deserves
Southampton are right up there as candidates for the most impressive display since the Premier League resumed. Yes, it was only Norwich - the Premier League's bottom side - but it was away from home, they thoroughly deserved it and they never really looked like conceding a goal.
As is normally the case, it was Danny Ings making the difference in attack for the Saints. The former Liverpool striker scored his 16th league goal of the campaign and also notched what was just his second assist of the season. With Michael Obafemi starting to impress, Nathan Redmond looking sharp and Stuart Armstrong also scoring and having a good game, it's the first time in a while that Ings seems to have some proper support.
A Top 10 finish may convince the Board the manager deserves some money to spend in the summer so that will be their target from here.
A disastrous week
I'm not sure Arsenal could have had a worse restart if they'd tried. Back-to-back defeats, five goals conceded, just one scored, a sending off for their most senior defender David Luiz and new injuries to Pablo Mari, Granit Xhaka and keeper Leno mean this last week has been nothing short of a disaster for them.
And they were pretty fortunate that Matteo Guendouzi didn't join Luiz on the list of suspended players after a post-match altercation with Brighton match-winner Neil Maupay, who had previously been responsible for Leno's injury.
Good luck getting Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to sign a new deal if they carries on like this.
But Arsenal need to forget about all that, field the best side they can and get back on track or else they really won't be in Europe at all next season, not something the Gunners fans are used to.
Saints definitely the call
I think this is a rare occasion where we can talk about genuine betting value about a Premier League side winning a match. And it's not Arsenal I'm talking about.
Southampton were excellent at Norwich, albeit the side who are currently sitting rock bottom, both in attack and in defence. They're carrying confidence and momentum into this game and have won three of their last five home matches against the Gunners in the league. They have just about every first-team player available, so the gaffer will be able to field the same team he did at Norwich or rotate a couple of players as he sees fit.
The same, of course, can't be said of Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta. He'll have to motivate his troops and find solutions in terms of the players he's missing, the biggest absence probably being Leno, given Arsenal don't have a back-up keeper who's anywhere near his level in terms of experience and class.
I don't see why Arsenal are (marginal) favourites here and the Saints are a bet.
Goals at both ends likely
'Both teams to score' could be a good option. It would have paid out in five of the last eight games between these two and has happened in 66.7% of the Saints' home games, which is pretty high indeed. It goes down to 46% for Arsenal away games but the data still suggests we may well get goals at both ends.
As does common sense. Arsenal's defence is all over the place and missing key elements while Arsenal have in players like Aubameyang and Pepe men who should be able to grab at least one goal between them against a defence that can't always be trusted. We're going to take the 13/20 that both teams score as part of a same-game multi-bet.
Ings to score again
Danny Ings must surely be one of the most under-rated players in the league. Sixteen goals for the season at a club sitting 14th, who have only scored 38 in total, is an excellent effort. Saints can thank Ing for being safe by this stage of the season because they may have been in serious trouble without those goals. He rates an 11/10 chance to score here and when we remember that he has three goals in his last three games against the Gunners, that's enough to convince us we should get him on board. Adding a Ings goal to our 'both teams to score' selection comes to 2.82.
That man Aubemayang is the same price as Ings to get a goal and is by far Arsenal's most likely goalscorer. He didn't look quite at his best in his two games since the resumption but he's surely getting fitter by the game and will be a major threat in this match.
Arsenal should think about getting Alexandre Lacazette a game. He's scored three of the Gunners' last four goals against Southampton so obviously enjoys playing them. He's a 9/5 chance but it makes sense to wait and make sure he plays before backing him and you'll probably get better odds than that on the Exchange anyway.