A strong start to Premier League proceedings has afforded Southampton the luxury of being able to take the Capital One Cup seriously.
Unfortunately for Sunderland, this privilege does not extend to them.
The Saints make the long trip to the Stadium of Light as 21/20 favourites to advance to the quarter finals of the competition, with their relegation threatened hosts a dizzyingly long 5/2.
Avoiding the drop is imperative for the Wearsiders; an extended run in the thin air towards the peak of Capital One Cup Mountain an unwelcome distraction. Therefore, the heavier duty weapons in the Black Cats’ arsenal of peashooters and BB guns are likely to be left on the shelf as they prepare to welcome the stringent south coast club.
The frugality of Mauricio Pochettino’s men makes the catenaccio masters of 1980’s Italian football look as soft a touch as chocolate left behind the radiator. A cosmopolitan defence built around high-pressing and ball retention has rocketed Southampton into unchartered top-flight territory and they’re yet to concede more than a single goal in any game on the road.
Their six away trips have yielded two clean sheets to date and a third is almost certainly on the agenda in the north east given Sunderland’s likely team selection. A punt on away laundry remaining unsullied appeals at 37/20, while the win to nil is an attractive proposition at 27/20.
The Black Cats themselves aren’t exactly flush for goals when they’ve got their strongest selection on the field. Against Premier League adversaries, they’ve found the back of the net on multiple occasions just once this season and haven’t scored in two of the three games Poyet has manned the cockpit.
On the one hand you’ve got a stingy Hampshire club with their chastity belts fastened up tight and, on the other, a misfiring Sunderland side with a serious lock-picking difficulties.
All roads point to an under 2.5 goal bet here and Ladbrokes have such an outcome chalked up at 4/5. Don’t miss out.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date