Stoke City host Mauricio Pellegrino's Southampton side on Saturday.
Stoke v Southampton - Saturday 15:00
Life should start to get easier for Stoke having hosting Arsenal, Man Utd and Chelsea so far. They can probably feel pretty happy with having taken four points from those games and they will see this as a prime opportunity to add a further three. Ignoring the ‘Big Six’ and Stoke’s home record since the start of last season is an excellent W7-D5-L1 and while they conceded four last week against Chelsea they will be able to recall the impressive Kurt Zouma here. Their defensive record certainly isn’t something we’re too concerned about, as in those 13 matches they conceded just seven goals and 10 of the matches had fewer than three goals.
While we aren’t questioning Stoke’s ability at the back we have to look at Southampton’s ability to score. They’ve failed to find the net in four of six matches this term having failed to do so in five of six at the end of last season. However, Mauricio Pellegrino has got them well organised, as we might have expected from a coach who performed wonders last season in charge of minnows Alaves by making them incredibly hard to score against. Nevertheless, those issues mean we have to side with Stoke, who look superb value as the outsiders.
However, we struggle to see many goals as five of the Saints’ six matches this term have had fewer than three and four have had fewer than two. Furthermore, Under 1.5 Goals has landed in three of the four meetings between these teams since 2015/16.
If you want some cover on Stoke, and they do have a relatively strong draw trend, it’s worth putting a few quid on the 0-0. Pellegrino’s Alaves had six 0-0s last season – the most in La Liga – and he’s already had two with Southampton.