Southampton go head-to-head with Cardiff City in what will no doubt be a heated battle at the heart of the war to avoid relegation from the Premier League. Both of these teams have improved greatly as of late. We’ve seen Cardiff push Arsenal to the limit and tear through Bournemouth’s defence in a dominant victory, while Southampton showed exactly what they are made of against the likes of Everton and Leicester. Even their 1-1 draw against Burnley saw them look unlucky not to win.
Bookmakers certainly have Southampton as clear favourites, but when you consider that both teams have shown so much potential as of later, we really think this could be the stage for either to showcase a breakout performance.
Southampton vs Cardiff City Prediction: Southampton 1-0 Cardiff
Considering what’s at stake here and the positives we’ve seen from both, this really could go either way. And we think anything other than a closely-fought contest is going to be unlikely. More than anything else, we predict that whoever wins will have a difficult time doing so.
Nonetheless, with the home field advantage and the fact that their performances have been more consistent than their opponents’, we are going to say that Southampton take the win here. We predict they pay Cardiff back for their loss last year in kind with a 1-0 victory.
Our recommended tip: Southampton win to nil
There may only be two points between them in the Premier League standings, but Southampton have a sizeable advantage going into this contest, with the home side enjoying a 55% win probability to Cardiff’s 20%. While the away team’s match odds of 4/1 aren’t too bad, Southampton have much lower risk 3/4 odds of a victory at Ladbrokes. Those who want to back the favourites but increase their potential ROI can instead predict that they will manage to keep a clean sheet in order to get 7/4 odds on this result.
Despite predicting that Southampton will scrape by with a win here, we do think the odds against Cardiff aren’t giving them enough credit. A big part of the reason for that is their previous games.
Cardiff City won their last match 1-0 a mere two months ago, showing that victory is very much within their abilities. Before that, we have to head back to 2014 – less relevant for sure – but the results ended the same way with a 1-0 result in Cardiff’s favour.
Even when we look at the overall picture, the underdogs here have the statistical advantage. It’s only by one game over nearly a century but still, a win is a win. If history is teaching Southampton anything, it’s to not underestimate Cardiff.
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Players to watch: James Ward-Prowse & Bobby Reid
Southampton: James Ward-Prowse
Arguably the star player in Southampton’s razor-close 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace and the difference maker in that world-class victory over Everton, James Ward-Prowse has impressed with both his striking and passing accuracy. He has been a key part of the team’s gradual improvements over the last few months. Both him and Nathan Redmond are absolutely essential to the strategic changes that have been made, and Ward-Prowse will be vital in assessing whether those decisions prove successful, not just in this game but the long-run.
Cardiff City: Bobby Reid
After their performance last week, there could only be one player to watch for Cardiff and that is the man that did the double in their spellbinding 2-0 win over Bournemouth, Bobby Reid. Despite many missed chances this season – most notably against Arsenal – he kept his head and remained the rock that Cardiff needs when the going gets tough. Considering the challenge that’s ahead of them, that is exactly what they need to survive this season and indeed, this vital match up.