Southampton v Manchester City: Saints’ defensive slip to go on

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The bubble that seemed to be serenely carrying Southampton to a wholly unpredicted European-placed finish has well and truly burst after three straight defeats and now free-scoring Manchester City come knocking on their door.

The theory that Mauricio Pochettino’s men are defensively sound at home is all-well and good, but it’s based solely on games against the division’s bottom half and was blown to bits by Aston Villa, their first visitors from above the fold, in the last match.

Conceding three against a Villa unit that only ranks among the league’s middling sides in terms of attacking nous is alarming enough, but against City, who’ve outscored the rest of the division by 10 goals, the former Espanyol manager will have real cause for concern.

This meeting has a recent record of producing the stuff fans pay to see too, with all of the last four battles soaring over the 2.5 goals threshold and the last three topping 3.5 strikes.

Only two of the Saints’ home games have delivered on the over 2.5 front this season, but with their heads obviously in a spin and City a clear scoring force, it’ll pay to break from tradition and back the 19/10 on there being over 3.5 strikes in the game.

If that’s the kind of outlandish tip that brings you out in a cold sweat, then playing things far safer on a striker who’s among the land’s most deadly is surely the way to go.

Sergio Aguero has rippled the net 10 times in his last nine Premier League games and has 16 in his last 14 in all competitions.

So the 3/1 on him scoring first and, more importantly, the chance to double your money at 1/1 by backing him to score at anytime, are easily two of the best bets around the match.

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.