Tough times continue for lowly Sheffield United as they take on dangerous Southampton
Southampton to win 2-0
Southampton continue to impress fans and neutrals alike with their positive style of football and successful run of results up until now.
Any side that goes up against Sheffield United this season will be favourites on paper, and with the way the two sides are playing at the moment, it’s hard to see anything other than a comfortably Saints victory.
The south-coast side bounced back well last weekend to beat Brighton, after going two matches without winning. Welcoming back Danny Ings from injury has provided a huge boost, even though they have coped reasonably well without their best player anyway.
Sheffield United, even after just 11 matches, seem as though they do not have the fight in them to secure survival. With only one point to their name, they could well finish the season with the lowest-ever points total in the history of the Premier League (Derby with 11 in 2008).
On paper, this looks very one-sided.
Form Guide (all comps): WWDLW
Reasons to be cheerful:
Danny Ings’ return has provided a lift
Did the double over Sheffield United last season
Reasons to be fearful:
Face Arsenal and Manchester City after this fixture
Seems to be an over-reliance on Ings at times
So far, so good for Southampton.
Unlike Everton and Aston Villa, The Saints are a non-big-six side who have played well since the start of the season and their consistency has kept them on the verge of the top four positions.
The rest of the season will tell us how long Southampton can keep up their lofty position, but for now they’ll be enjoying the way which they are playing football, and most importantly, winning matches.
Sheffield United are likely to represent one of the easier chances to secure three points this season, but the Saints must not be complacent. Ings has returned from injury and is likely to start, though they risk becoming over-reliant on the striker.
They’ve only lost one of their last nine fixtures and that run is scheduled to continued here.
Star Man – Danny Ings
Returned from injury with a late winner against Brighton last weekend. He’s such a key player for the Saints.
Form Guide (all comps): LLLLL
Reasons to be cheerful
Eight of their 10 defeats have been by a single goal margin
Performances have shown plenty of effort
Reasons to be fearful
Shot conversion rate of 6.9% is lowest in league
No one has scored fewer league goals
Unfortunately, when you sit bottom of the table, there are no such things as easy fixtures.
Southampton, Manchester United, Brighton, Everton and Burnley are the games facing The Blades in December, all of which will be hard to take anything from on current form.
They are certainly putting the effort in on the pitch – the fact that almost all of their defeats are by just a single goal means that they are not being thrashed in matches.
However, the complete lack of goals is harming their chances of closing the gap on those teams above them. They have the lowest shot conversion rate in the league, as well as the fewer goals scored.
Star Man – Oli McBurnie
Scored his first goal of the season last weekend.
Southampton will be heavy favourites to claim three points
Sheffield United can keep things tight, but can they score?
Ings likely to get on the scoresheet for Saints
Understandably, all the stats point in Southampton’s favour for this one.
Only once before in Premier League history has a side failed to win any of their opening 12 fixtures (QPR in 2013), but it’s hard to see how this will change against a strong Southampton side.
The Saints’ form is too good and there doesn’t seem to be any complacency around the club. They are a hardworking side who can battle their way to victory here.
Southampton to win 2-0