Cardiff v Southampton: Saints’ defensive slide to gather pace

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The wheels are slowly, bolt by bolt, vacating the vehicle that looked to be taking Mauricio Pochettino’s Southampton to a top six finish.

A miserable month’s worth of results has seen the south coast club pick up just two points from the last available 18 in the league and now even the one morsel of salvation from their season, defensive solidity, has well and truly vanished too.

Having boasted one of the league’s tightest rearguards this season, Southampton have not only failed to keep a clean sheet in their winless run of six games, but have shipped the third most amount of goals in the division in that time.

Four of those six games have seen oppositions slot two or more goals against the Saints keeper and when that list includes the likes of Aston Villa and goal-shy Tottenham there should be genuine cause for concern.

Despite that uninspiring form, Southampton find themselves the 11/8 favourites for their trip to Cardiff, with the hosts at 2/1 for a Boxing Day win and a draw priced at 9/4.

Cardiff’s form – one win in the last seven games – isn’t strong enough for us to encourage Ladbrokes customers into siding with Malky Mackay’s (for now) side.

Instead, we’ll implore you to take your hard earned over to the goal markets and specifically the one labelled Cardiff goals – Over/Under 1.5.

That’s because there is still a perception among the football world that Southampton are defensive rocks.

As the previous stats tell you, this is certainly not the case and when you throw in the fact that they are using a make-shift back line because of injury, Cardiff, who scored twice at home to Man Utd and three times against Man City, should definitely back to fly over this particular line at the healthy 19/10.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.