Bet of the day: Southampton to Beat Derby in FA Cup Replay, and <2.5 GoalsPublished on: January 16, 2019Author: Antonia Kelly
It’s one of those nights when we see just how wide – or narrow – the gap really is between the teams at the bottom of the Premier League and those at the top of the Championship. Frank Lampard brings his Derby County side to St Mary’s to for an FA Cup Third Round replay against a Southampton team that has experienced that uplift in form which so often comes with sacking Mark Hughes. Now under the tutelage of Austrian supremo Ralph Hasenhuttl, the Saints are expressing themselves more than they have in ages, and won at Leicester last weekend.
Southampton start out as favourites, priced by 888sport at 7/10 (1.70), and that seems fair enough given that they will feel they’ve already won the tie once. Ten days ago at Derby’s Pride Park, a pair of goals from Nathan Redmond put the Rams 2-0 ahead shortly after half-time. Goals from Jack Marriott and Tom Lawrence just before and just after the hour mark, however, saw the hosts pull themselves back into the game and keep their name in the hat for the Fourth Round draw. A visit to Accrington – and a match we’re contractually-obliged to call a “potential banana skin” – awaits whichever team wins here.
Our Bet of the Day favours Southampton to win, and do so in a manner befitting a cold Wednesday night in the middle of January. Looking at the Betway odds, they’ve got 15/4 (4.75) on the hosts to win in a match featuring fewer than 2.5 goals. Keen-eyed viewers will have noted that the first game between the sides featured four goals, but with greater familiarity between the sides and the flattening factor of this being a midweek game, those are surprisingly long odds on a low-scoring game.
Both Teams Have Bigger Concerns
The “magic of the cup” aside, there’s little about this game to inspire a great deal of excitement among the fans. An away fixture in the next round against an opponent that won’t generate major ticket sales is one reason for expecting a flat atmosphere. In addition, both managers and their players could be forgiven for focusing more of their attention on the league. With Southampton a single point off the relegation zone, and Derby very much in the battle for Championship promotion, the distraction of a cup run is something neither side really needs.
In the first meeting, Hasenhuttl fielded a weakened side, making six changes from Saints’ previous league game, and with a weekend Premier League test against Everton on the horizon, are likely to keep their powder dry again. This may mean another start for goal-shy Irish striker Shane Long, whose goal at Leicester was his first in nine months. He’s due another goal some time around Halloween.
For Derby, Saturday’s home game with Reading is of more value than this outing. Although Lampard won this trophy four times as a player, he’s been hired to secure promotion for the Pride Park club, and lost ground last weekend as County lost 2-0 to Leeds. Top scorer Harry Wilson is expected to miss out here through injury, and without him the visitors are likely to lack pace and penetration out wide.
Redmond The Man To Watch For Saints
Due to a long list of injured strikers, the home side may be forced to continue fielding Nathan Redmond through the middle. The former England Under-21 winger, recently linked with a change of international affiliation to Ireland, looks like a decent bet to open the scoring here as he did early on in the first game between the sides. Available at 7/1 (8.00) with Paddy Power, the former Norwich man has the kind of pace that so often makes the difference in tight games, and will look to bring that to bear on the visiting Championship side.
For Derby, much will depend on the fitness of Wilson. If he is available to play, then Derby immediately gain another dimension to their attacking game through the on-loan Liverpool winger’s ability to both score and assist goals. Fellow loan star Mason Mount – who is contracted to Chelsea – performs a playmaking role in midfield, while veteran striker David Nugent is likely to start on the bench, but could play a crucial role late in the game.
Hasenhuttl, a coach with Champions League experience through his previous role as Red Bull Leipzig manager, will probably have enough in his locker to swing this one for the Saints. While both sides undeniably have bigger fish to fry than this outing, a home win would feed the current good mood under the new manager. If you’re looking for a 1X2 bet, we’d favour a home win.
Bet of the Day: Betway’s 15/4 on Southampton Win and Under 2.5 Goals; Southampton to win; and Nathan Redmond to score first.