Stoke v Southampton
Sunday March 13, 2:00am
Stoke salvaged a point with an 85th minute equaliser at Stamford Bridge on Saturday as they’ve bounced back strongly from three straight 3-0 defeats by picking up 13 points from their last four games. As a result they’ve moved back up to eighth, trailing West Ham in fifth by six points. Southampton, meanwhile, are two points behind Stoke heading into this one having dropped down from sixth after two defeats in their last three, which could easily have been three in three had they not found a 93rd minute equaliser at home to Sunderland on the weekend, despite having 10 men.
Stoke have won six of their last nine at the Britannia, most notably against both Manchester clubs, while they also held Arsenal to a goalless draw. Indeed, they managed clean sheets in all of these games as well as against Chelsea as Leicester and Liverpool are the only top-half teams to score at Stoke this season.
Their record when hosting sides between fifth and tenth since the start of last season is W6-D0-L1, with their sole defeat coming against Crystal Palace last term. They scored at least twice in five of these matches but managed just three clean sheets and as a result five of these games saw at least three goals, though interestingly the exceptions were the games this season as Stoke beat Manchester United 2-0 and Chelsea 1-0.
Having not conceded in six games heading into their visit to Stamford Bridge, Southampton have conceded five goals in their last three. Their away record this season is W4-D5-L5 though they’ve lost five of their last eight on the road and failed to score in half of these games. Indeed, they’ve managed just two goals in their last five on the road and just 11 goals in their 14 away matches this season.
Their record when travelling to sides between fifth and tenth since the start of last term is W4-D1-L4 as they kept just two clean sheets in these matches, but managed to find the net in eight. As a result, five of these games had more than two goals with both teams netting in six.
Indeed, both teams have found the net in six of the eight meetings between these sides since 2012/13 and as eight of Stoke’s last 11 saw at least three goals, we would put anyone off backing Over 2.5 goals at 2.43 or both teams to find the net at 2.04, with Southampton slipping defensively in recent weeks and Stoke themselves managing just one clean sheet in their last seven.
However, given Stoke’s strong home form and their excellent record when hosting top-half sides outside the top-four, the best bet looks to be siding with Mark Hughes’ men in this one. They’ll be aided by the fact that both Victor Wanyama and Jose Fonte are suspended, with the latter being an ever-present for Saints in recent times, missing just one game since the start of last term.
Bournemouth v Swansea
Sunday March 13, 2:00am
Bournemouth’s wins at home to Southampton and at Newcastle in their last game mean they’re now up to 14th, 11 points clear of the relegation zone and as big as 100/1 to go down, having been as short as 2.25 at the start of the season. Swansea were 10/1 to face the drop at the start of the campaign but they’re down in 16th, though still nine points ahead of Newcastle and Norwich thanks to wins in their last two games, at Arsenal and at home to Norwich.
Bournemouth have tended to be a team that have built on momentum this season as though they only managed two wins in their first 14 games, they came within the space of four games. They then won three games in a row in December, including against Chelsea and Man Utd, then their next two wins came within three games and they’ve now won back-to-back games again.
Their home record this season is W4-D4-L6, though they’ve only managed four clean sheets and have only scored more than once in five games at Dean Court. When hosting bottom-half teams this term they’re W2-D3-L2 as they’ve beaten Sunderland and Norwich, but lost against Villa and Newcastle earlier on in the season. Five of these games had fewer than three goals and three had fewer than two.
Swansea have certainly improved since Francesco Guidolin took over as they’re W3-D2-L2 with wins at Everton and Arsenal and defeats in tough fixtures against Southampton and at White Hart Lane. They’ve conceded just seven goals in these games as Guidolin’s certainly got them well-organised defensively. Their away record this season W3-D4-L7 though they’ve only conceded more than once in five of these games. Indeed, on the road under Guidolin they picked up those wins at Goodison Park and the Emirates with a weakened team, drew at West Brom who equalised in the 92nd minute and were 1-0 up at Spurs before Nacer Chadli and Danny Rose found the net in the last 20 minutes.
With Swansea much improved in recent weeks, Bournemouth look a little short in this one at evens for a side that has only won four times at home all season, despite the fact that they’ve won their last two games. We think that the Cherries’ mini run of form could come to an end here as Swansea’s away results under Guidolin have been good and as highlighted above could have been even better were it not for the concession of a few late goals. As a result we’re backing the Swans to avoid defeat in this one.