Premier League Free Soccer Pick: Stoke City vs. Southampton

Lee Phelps

Friday, April 17, 2015 1:46 PM GMT

Friday, Apr. 17, 2015 1:46 PM GMT

Who has the most to play for? Stoke or Southampton? Let William Hill's Lee Phelps answer that for you and get his free betting pick from the odds too.

Motivation is the key word for these two sides, with Stoke sitting in 10th and aiming for that eighth spot, while Southampton are going for Europa League football and the remote possibility of Champions League football if Manchester City’s poor form really continued.

 

Stoke
Gone are the days when Stoke feared relegation, they assured their safety with three wins on the spin in February and March over Aston Villa, Hull City and Everton. Since then victories have been hard to come by as the club lost three matches on the bounce before a stoppage-time equaliser from Marko Arnautovic stopped the rot against West Ham United, but Hughes will want to see improvement from his men before the end of the season.

It’s been an inconsistent season for them, with plenty of shots but relatively few goals, soccer odds makers opened Stroke as a +250 home dogs. Their percentage of shots on target is just 37% - the lowest in the division. And although they have the seventh best defence, conceding just 40 goals in their 32 matches, they've only kept seven clean sheets. Only Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Queens Park Rangers have kept fewer.

Stoke's home form has been hit and miss this season as they have beaten Arsenal, but have also lost matches at the Brit to Burnley, Leicester City and Aston Villa. With four of their remaining six games left at home this season, Hughes will be determined to see his side end on a high note

As for Stoke’s starting 11, Victor Moses, Bojan Krkic and Peter Odemwingie are all still missing for the clash at the Britannia Stadium due to long-term injuries. Marc Wilson could return to the line-up after recovering from a thigh injury, while Mame Biram Diouf and Peter Crouch could also push for a recall to the team.

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Southampton
The Saints have a tremendous season defensively. Even when their form has slipped they’ve maintained that part of the game, letting in just 22 goals in 32 matches this season, which incidentally is the same record Arsenal had on their way to winning the title in 2004.

They have the best away defensive record in the Premier League and have not conceded more than once away from home since the opening weekend of the season.

They haven’t been able to capitalise by scoring enough goals though. Graziano Pelle has had more shots off target than any other Premier League player this season (53).

The form of Pelle and Dusan Tadic has been critical to the club and Pelle's goal in that 2-0 victory over Hull City last week may have just reignited his form.

Southampton will be without Victor Wanyama as he is suspended for the match. Fraser Forster and Jay Rodriguez will continue to be sidelined with long-term injuries.

Florin Gardos could be available after recovering from a knock, but Koeman is likely to make as minimal change as possible to a winning team.

 

Soccer pick
The Saints’ defence and Stoke poor shots on target ratio can only mean one thing here and that is low on the goals. Under 2.5 is 1.67, so that’s a little low for me, instead I’ll go for a draw for my soccer pick at 3.3 (23/10)

Free Soccer Pick: Draw 3.3 (23/10)

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