Southampton vs. Crystal Palace Predictions: James Ward-Prowse and Wilfried Zaha attract attention
The topsy-turvy scramble for a top-10 finish has seen a number of teams drop in-and-out of contention but as we enter the closing stages of the season seven teams can realistically still snatch 9th and 10th. Despite the wobbly form of Southampton and Crystal Palace, both clubs remain in the mix for a rare top-half standing, something which has eluded the Saints since for five years and Palace since 2014/15. Below you can find our tips for the clash between the duo which takes place at St Mary's on Saturday at 3pm...
Southampton vs. Crystal Palace Tips
Apart from an impressive win at home to Arsenal, Southampton have been pretty lacklustre of late. They picked up zero points from games against the likes of Aston Villa, Newcastle, Watford, and Burnley, with a couple of draws thrown in against Leeds and Brighton. They can, however, draw a slice of confidence from the way they battled back from two goals down to rescue a draw away to Brighton thanks to a brace from their main man James Ward-Prowse.
One win in eight represents a pretty shocking return, yet such is the clustered nature of the table’s mid-section that 13th-placed Southampton remain in the fight for a top-10 finish. With four games to go they two points off 10th and three off 9th.
Saturday’s opponents Crystal Palace sit a place and two points behind the Saints in 14th, albeit with a game in hand and far superior goal difference. Like the Saints though, Palace have stuttered of late, losing three and winning none of their last four games in all competitions; finding the back of the net just once in that time.
Southampton are hovering around the 11/8 mark to pick up only their second Premier League win in eight games, Crystal Palace are priced at 21/10, with a draw at 23/10.
James Ward-Prowse put in a true captain’s shift away to Brighton, conjuring up a delightful brace to drag his side back into the contest and eventually secure a point. He added another free-kick to the collection - he’s now just four off David Beckham's record - while his second was a pinpoint strike from outside the area.
The England international now has nine Premier League goals to his name this season; the best record of his career; with four games remaining to hit double-figures for the first time ever. So far this season he's had more shots on target in the Premier League (22) than Phil Foden, Kai Havertz, and Jamie Vardy.
A closer look at the stats show that Ward-Prowse has had nine shots in his last five games, five of which have been on target, including two in the Brighton game. Earlier in the season he had four shots in the 2-2 draw away to Palace, netting a beautiful free-kick in the process.
Given the form he’s in, the fact he’s on free-kicks/penalties and his goal-threat from outside the box, we like the look of the midfielder at 7/2 (Paddy Power) to have two or more shots on target at home to Palace this weekend.
We also like the look of Wilfried Zaha in this market, with the Crystal Palace star priced at 5/2 to have two or more shots on target at St Mary’s.
The winger somehow didn’t get his name on the scoresheet in Monday's goalless draw against Leeds; a game in which he had seven shots, rocketing five of those on target. He’s now had 14 shots in his last three games alone, seven of which have been on goal.
He’s been amongst the goals of late, scoring five times in his last eight league games and can draw on a decent record against Southampton, having scored in three of the last six meetings including the 2-2 draw back in December.
Zaha will expect to have his fair share of chances against a Southampton side which have allowed their last four combined opponents a staggering 71 shots, 31 of which have been on Fraser Forster’s goal. To hone in a little bit more, their last two home games saw Chelsea and Arsenal rack-up 47 shots, including 20 on target.
To round things off we’ve combined both of the aforementioned bets to form a nice little 17.7/1 double with Paddy Power for each of James Ward-Prowse and Wilfried Zaha to have 2+ shots on target.
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