Sexta-feira, 24 Fevereiro, 2017

Merson tips Sunderland to secure a vital victory v Southampton

Southampton v Sunderland- EFL Cup Fourth Round Getty Images
Estanislau Duarte | 12 Fevereiro, 2017, 00:42

Saints boss Claude Puel was delighted with his team's display, which earned just a second league win in eight attempts, and will now hand his players four days off before beginning preparations for their Wembley showdown with Manchester United on February 26.

Sunderland have kept as many clean sheets in their last two league outings (2) as they did in the 22 games under David Moyes prior to that.

And ultimately I see no value in backing a team that has won just two games on the road at such short odds.

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"That maybe sums us up a little bit, one week we can be so good and another week we can be so bad", Moyes said. Southampton themselves had fragile confidence, but they got a goal off their centre-forward's arm.

"For the moment the priority is that he can sign for Southampton".

They're through to the EFL Cup final and were superb in both legs against Liverpool but have struggled to recreate it in the league. Southampton's defence is one of their strengths (though undoubtedly a weaker unit without van Dijk), but I'd still be a backer of unders if forced to have a bet in the market.

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Sofiane Boufal is likely to miss this through injury. Not only that, Rodwell has formed a solid central midfield with Didier Ndong, thus leading to Rodwell eventually winning a game when starting but he won't be involved v Southampton due to an injury he suffered away to Palace.

Ward-Prowse wastefully headed wide from Nathan Redmond's clipped cross as Saints sought a third, before Gabbiadini was replaced by Long. The Italy worldwide fired past goalkeeper Vito Mannone, making it three goals in two league games for Gabbiadini, who was signed from Napoli. This will certainly give the Black Cats ample rest before continuing the relegation dogfight. The wide-open first goalscorer market is shared by Jermain Defoe, Manolo Gabbiadini and Shane Long at 9/2 apiece, while Defoe was cut to 18/1 to be the Premier League top goalscorer after taking his tally to 15 with last weekend's brace.

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