EUROPA LEAGUE BETTING
FC Midtjylland v Southampton
Friday August 28, 4:45
It’s very difficult to constantly re-invent a side that loses its best players on a regular basis, and Southampton’s well of miracles has run dry, at least for the moment. All-action midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin departed for Manchester United, excellent right-back Nathaniel Clyne is now lining up for Liverpool, and Sadio Mane continues to be linked with a move to join Schneiderlin at Old Trafford.
Saints are masters of the transfer market, and I have no doubt they will kick-start their season eventually, but their last three performances against Everton, Midtjylland and Watford have raised concerns. Ronald Koeman’s men have scored just one goal in their last three games, and they now face a tough test against the Danish champions.
I have to hold my hands up and admit I underestimated Midtjylland last week, and they played with discipline in defence and adventure on the break. Tim Sparv scored a fine goal against his former club, and goalkeeper Johan Dahlin had a solid game between the posts.
With the tie so finely balanced, this could be a slow burner. Midtjylland’s last six matches in all competitions have featured fewer than three goals, and they have kept four clean sheets during that time. With Southampton short of goals at present, backing Under 2.5 Goals at 1.72 seems a sensible play, although you may also be tempted by backing No in the Both Teams to Score market at 1.91.
I’m expecting caution to be the watchword, with neither team playing at their best at present, and a place in the group stage a huge prize for whoever can claim it. Midtjylland like to keep things tight and spoil, and will hope to nick a goal.
If you’re looking for an option in the To Score market, it’s worth bearing in mind that Midtjylland looked a touch vulnerable at set-pieces last Thursday, so an aerial threat such as Graziano Pelle 2.70 is worth considering.