The Premier League fixture list pits together a huge match at the bottom end of the table as relegation-rivals Southampton and Sunderland go head-to-head in a Christmas cracker at St Mary's. On Saturday afternoon the two teams will jostle it out for a vital three points, with the winning team ensured of being outside the bottom three come Christmas Day.
The table currently has Sunderland in 16th place with 16 points, with the Saints a single point behind but with a game in hand. The south coast side have been installed as the 21/20 favourites with Paddy Power to claim the win, while the Black Cats are available at 13/5 to come away with the spoils. A draw can also be backed at tempting odds of 12/5.
The Saints have hit form at just the right time, having lost just one of their last six games. This impressive streak has included pivotal wins against the likes of QPR and Reading, with the hampshire outfit now six points clear of bottom spot.
As things stand the Saints are only just outside the relegation zone by the skin of their teeth, due to their slightly superior goal difference. However, a win would not only boost their chances of beating the drop but, depending on other results, could shoot them up to 14th place in the table, which would have been deemed impossible back in early November.
It has been well documented that wins have been hard to come by for Sunderland this season but their recent 3-0 demolition of fellow strugglers Reading will be a huge confidence booster going into Saturday's match. Furthermore manager Martin O'Neill will be desperate for his side to clinch the victory as his side face a daunting post-Christmas triple-threat of matches against Man City, Tottenham and Liverpool.
The teams last met in the Championship back in 2007, with Sunderland coming from behind late on to register a 2-1 win at St Mary's. That result will do perfectly for the visitors this time around and they can be backed at 11/1 to repeat the feat. However, it must be remembered that they have won just once on the road since February, which is a sequence of 13 league matches. This makes a draw a more appealing bet at 12/5, with a 1-1 scoreline priced at 11/2.
The Saints are unbeaten in four on home soil and will be looking to extend that run this weekend. Their home form will no doubt be fundamental to their chances of preserving their Premier League status and it is matches such as this where they will need to claim the spoils.
Southampton's side's last match was a narrow 1-0 win against Reading and Saturday's match could follow the same pattern, with Paddy Power Bookmakers pricing Nigel Adkins’ men at 13/2 to record another one goal to love victory. A 2-0 scoreline is available at 9/1, while there are odds of 7/1 for a 2/1 win.
None of Southampton's last five home games have contained more than three goals, making an evens bet tempting for Saturday's match to feature exactly two or three. Meanwhile the Saints can be backed at 7/2 to win with one or two total goals in the match.
Rickie Lambert is always worth stick a few quid on to score, with the striker priced at 11/10 to net anytime and 4/1 to open the scoring. Adam Lallana is available at 12/5 to get his name on the scoresheet, while the in-form Jason Puncheon could be worth a shout at 13/5.
Steven Fletcher bagged a goal against Reading and will have his eye on scoring another at St Mary's. Sunderland's summer signing may be worth a bet at 9/4 to find the back of the net, while James McClean, who also scored against the Royals, is available at 7/2.
Southampton v Sunderland Form
Check the season's statistics for both Southampton and Sunderland, plus the odds ahead of Saturday's match.
Southampton Stats | Sunderland Stats
Southampton v Sunderland Tips
Tip#1: Rickie Lambert to open the scoring @ 4/1 with Paddy Power
Tip#2: Steven Fletcher to score anytime @ 9/4 with Paddy Power
Tip#3: Exactly two or three goals @ evens with Paddy Power
Correct Score Odds
13/2 Southampton 1-0
9/1 Southampton 2-0
7/1 Southampton 2-1
10/1 Sunderland 1-0
18/1 Sunderland 2-0
11/1 Sunderland 2-1
9/1 Draw 0-0
11/2 Draw 1-1
11/1 Draw 2-2
First Goalscorer Odds
4/1 Rickie Lambert
6/1 Gaston Ramirez
6/1 Jay Rodriguez
7/1 Steven Fletcher
7/1 Emmanuel Mayuka
13/2 Louis Saha
15/2 Adam Lallana
8/1 Jason Puncheon
8/1 Stephane Sessegnon
9/1 Connor Wickham
Odds supplied by PaddyPower.com, who are offering to double your first scorer odds if your winning first goalscorer bet scores again in the match.
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