Premier League Soccer Picks: Southampton vs Manchester City

Lee Phelps

Friday, November 28, 2014 10:02 PM GMT

The Premier League throws up an intriguing betting match this weekend with champions Manchester City taking on pretenders Southampton. Our tipster has looked at the odds and has some free picks on the game.

This weekend St Mary’s hosts one team ‘everyone’ expects to drop down the table and one who ‘everyone’ expects to climb above them in the Premier League ladder. Southampton face Manchester City in the first of three big questions, I’m going to try to find some answers and apply them  to the soccer odds for this top-of-the-table match.

 

Southampton
So did we see the start of a stumble for the Saints at Villa Park on Monday, as Aston Villa held them to a 1-1 draw? It was hardly the kind of performance you would want going into this run of fixtures which starts with City, with Arsenal and then Manchester United.

Their rating was their lowest this season and they made a few uncharacteristic individual errors, including Fraser Forster’s for Villa’s goal. I’ve been scouring the EA Sports Performance stats for the players to see if the level is dropping and although they aren’t as high as they were earlier in the season, there is nothing alarming.

Ronald Koeman’s team is still the third best defensively in Europe’s top leagues and second stingiest at their own stadium, behind only Roma. But here’s the thing. Look at the opposition: West Bromwich Albion, Newcastle, Sunderland, Stoke and Leicester, and QPR. Five of the six are in the bottom 10 for shots on goal away from home.

In terms of results since the 8-0 win against a hapless Sunderland, they have won three (1-0 Stoke, 0-1 Hull and 2-0 Leicester) before the draw against Paul Lambert’s men on Monday. The goals aren’t flowing, but they haven’t needed to with the defensive displays.

 

Manchester City
The Champions have only failed to score less than two goals once this season, at West Ham when they lost 2-1 despite having 16 shots on goal. Manuel Pellegrini’s men have been criticised for their performances at times, including when they were trailing to Bayern Munich on Tuesday night, but that man Sergio Aguero and some Munich mistakes left them with all three points and a chance of qualifying for the next phase of the Champions League.

I’ve had the feeling City needed something to get them going and that result may just be that. They have had mixed fortunes coming back to the Premier League after a European midweek, with one win at Aston Villa, a draw at home to Chelsea and away at QPR and that loss at Upton Park.

The last two results came after the disappointing performances against CSKA, so you would have to expect them to be in a better and more confident mood this weekend.

The stats show that City have the most shots away from home and the most on target with just over six a match, so Southampton’s defence will be tested and tested by Sergio Aguero. The Argentinian striker has scored 12 Premier League goals from 53 shots on goal, which narrows slightly to six goals from 25 shots away from home, which means he needs four or five efforts to score on average.

 

Soccer picks
When making your Premier League soccer picks abd taking everything into consideration, I think Southampton will be closer to top form given the opposition, but if they made mistakes against Villa, chances are they will make more under much more sustained pressure from an attacking City side. Add in some fatigue in the legs from their Champions League exertions and that tips back in Saints’ favour, but with Aguero they have a superb in-form striker and he makes me think an away win is the bet here, but only by a narrow margin.

My main bets in this game centre around Aguero scoring and bookings. His best soccer odds price 13/8 to score at St Mary’s and that is simply too big for a player like him.

I’ve spoken before about City’s tactic of breaking up play away from home and therefore committing more fouls and in turn picking up more bookings than the opposition and this game looks primed for another bet on City having the most bookings. They have picked up 15 yellow cards on the road, while Saints have a league low six at home.

Free Soccer Pick: Sergio Aguero to score 13/8 at 5Dimes

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