Southampton vs West Bromwich

August 22, 2014
By: Nemanja Lazarevic

Southampton were very unfortunate not to get anything from their opening fixture against Liverpool, but the promising display at Anfield should keep them in a good stead for the West Brom game. The Baggies could only muster a 2-2 draw with Sunderland having conceded a late equalizer and they probably wouldn’t mind adding another point to their tally.

New-look Saints impress at Anfield

Many pundits agreed that Southampton should be in for a very difficult season as they stayed without the likes of Lambert, Lallana, Shaw, Chambers and Lovren, doubting that new boss Ronald Koeman would be able to quickly rebuild the squad. However, the Saints appear to have been spot on with most new signings, with Ryan Bertran and Dusan Tadic especially impressive on their Southampton debuts. In spite of the numerous changes to the playing squad, the St Mary’s outfit looked like a well-oiled machine at Anfield and they managed to outplay their more illustrious opponents for large periods of the second half. It was only after Southampton missed several good chances to score and Dusan Tadic was surprisingly withdrawn that Liverpool managed to score a somewhat lucky winner. Nevertheless, the Saints can take a lot of heart from what was truly an outstanding performance against one of league’s top sides and use the new-found confidence to defeat an average West Brom side that are still far from the desired form.

Romanian centre-back Florin Gardos is unlikely to start, while Jay Rodriguez remains the only long-term casualty.

Unable to kill off games

It was team’s inability to hold on to hard-earned leads that almost cost them the Premiership survival last term as the Baggies finished the league campaign mere three points above the relegation zone, and it appears West Brom have failed to learn from their mistakes. Alan Irvine’s side did well to overturn a one-goal deficit thanks to starlet Saido Berahino, albeit being awarded a very soft penalty, but they could not hold on to the lead and eventually had to settle for one point. This will serve as another blow to the players’ confidence that is not very high at the moment, so chances are the Baggies will struggle to match in-form Saints on Saturday afternoon. While the club have made several good signings this summer, the problem is that new players are either injured to struggling for match fitness, meaning it could take at least several weeks until West Brom start playing to their potential. The back line will be in all sorts of problems if at least one of Joleon Lescott and Gareth McAuley fails to recover, seeing as how Southampton have proved to be very dangerous up front.

The two centre-backs look likely to miss the Saints clash as well, while Ideye Brown and Stephane Sessegnon are still lacking match fitness. Cristian Gamboa and James Morrison are unlikely to feature either.


Ronald Koeman has done a great job in rebuilding his team during the close season and the Saints already look like the team that set the Premier League alight last term. It is highly unlikely they will face too many problems against out-of-sorts West Brom, who arrive at St Mary’s with a host of important players missing.

Top pick: Home win   1.91 (10/11) @ Betfred

Alternative pick 1: Saints/Saints   2.90 (19/10) @ William Hill

Alternative pick 2: West Brom not to score   2.62 (13/8) @ SkyBet

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