St Mary’s seems to be hosting a relegation six-pointer every other weekend at the moment and Southampton are revelling in it.
Since being brushed aside by West Brom in early November, the Saints have turned a corner. They’ve lost just once and, more importantly, got the better of three teams who share their relegation concerns in Newcastle, QPR and Reading.
They’ll be looking to add Sunderland to that list and a price of 1/1 says they will.
A win over the Black Cats would see Southampton leapfrog them in the table and, with two tricky away dates at Fulham and Stoke up next, a failure to record maximum points here could see them endure a festive period to forget.
They’ll fancy their chances of claiming maximum points against a team that has failed to win all but two of their previous 13 games.
However, Martin O’Neill’s boys played some decent stuff at Old Trafford in their 3-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester United last time out and they can definitely take confidence from that effort ahead of this game against far inferior opposition.
Sunderland are a long price of 13/5 to take three Christmas points back to Wearside with them and one thing that will encourage their supporters is that they seemed to have made inroads into solving their goalscoring situation.
Since drawing a blank in their home defeat to Aston Villa, they have bagged goals in seven of their last eight games and Steven Fletcher has only contributed two of them. Southampton’s cavalier approach to defending has come in for a lot of flack this season and it ensures that both teams to score here is free money at 4/6.
Sunderland’s new-found thirst for goals – that’s seen them bag a whole 12 in their last eight games – usually kicks in after half time, with eight being notched after the break.
This makes the 21/10 for the visitors to score their first goal in the second half well worth a punt, while the 1/1 on offer for there to be more goals following the half time whistle is also sound value.