Southampton v Crystal Palace: Main men star in mid-table battle

Southampton host Crystal Palace on Saturday in a game that Ben Steele expects to be dominated by two stars...

Zaha can improve on Monday's leading role

On Monday night Crystal Palace drew 0-0 with Leeds United but that was certainly not down to a lack of effort from Wilfried Zaha. The winger was at the centre of the majority of the Palace attacks, responsible for five of his side's six shots on target and half of the total amount of shots.

Leading the line in South East London is nothing new for Zaha, he is arguably the player most associated with Palace over the last decade, a role he embraces. Last season under Roy Hodgson the Ivorian was top scorer and he is going even further this year playing for new manager Patrick Vieira.

With five games of the 2021/22 season remaining Zaha has already matched last terms total of 11 goals and will be looking to add to a growing collection of goals against Southampton.

Since Ralph Hasenhuttl took over on the South Coast he has faced Crystal Palace five times, Zaha has scored in three of those games including opening the scoring when the two sides met at Selhurst Park in December.

The Palace talisman is 13/2 to repeat that feat and score first but I think Zaha to score anytime @ 12/5 offers a little more security and is still well worth a look at that price.

Saints captain ensures December repeat

After Zaha gave Crystal Palace an early lead in December it was, unsurprisingly, James Ward-Prowse who got Southampton back on level terms.

Much like his Palace counterpart, Ward-Prowse is enjoying the best scoring season of his career and comes into Saturday's game off the back of a brace against Brighton last week.

Two long range efforts took him to nine league goals as he continues to play a key role for Saints. Much is made of his set-piece ability but the England international is similarly dynamic in open play.

Southampton have scored 60 goals in all competition this season and Ward-Prowse has been directly in 17 of those (28%), leading the team in both goals scored and assists. We can expect more of the same at St Mary's on Saturday.

James Ward-Prowse to score or assist in the game is 6/4 and looks a good bet but those looking for value could look to combine the involvement of the two talismen on show into a Bet Builder

I'm backing both Ward-Prowse and Zaha to score or assist @ 6.8 while a repeat of December's draw with Zaha scoring first and Ward-Prowse also on the scoresheet is a tasty 43.0

Fast start for Palace may not be enough

Five of the last six games between these two sides have started the same way; Crystal Palace taking a 1-0 lead. However, that has rarely been good news for Eagles fans.

Despite going behind in five of those games, Southampton have lost just once to Palace since Hasenhuttl took over, continuing an impressive record against their London opposition. 14 of the 25 Premier League encounters between the teams have ended in a Southampton win, their second best win rate against any team in the division.

Palace to lead 1-0 at anytime in the game is priced at 6/5 and facing a Southampton defence missing Tino Livramento through injury that could be worth a look. Whether the likes of Marc Guehi and Joachim Andersen can defend that lead is a different question entirely, in a game between two evenly matched sides I think the draw @ 3.45 on the Exchange is a solid bet.

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