Sunday, May 26, 2024

Prediction: Southampton vs West Bromwich Albion

Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 15/19

Bookmaker: BetUS

Southampton and West Bromwich Albion will face each other on Friday evening at St. Mary’s with their Championship playoff semi-final tied at 0-0 after the first leg, played at The Hawthorns on May 12th.

Both teams enter the second leg at the south of England on the back of unbeaten runs in their last two matches. Southampton triumphed previously away to Leeds United, while West Brom smashed three unanswered goals at home against Preston North End.

Southampton

After defeating Leeds at Elland Road on the final day, Southampton traveled to The Hawthorns on Sunday, aiming to secure a second notable away win in a row.

Although Russell Martin’s side did not leave the West Midlands with a first-leg advantage, they managed to achieve their first clean sheet since April 16th, which was a commendable outcome under the circumstances.

West Brom missed several opportunities to take the lead against the Saints, and while Martin’s team also had their chances, both sides could be content with the draw.

Southampton concluded the season with only three goals in their last five away games, but they have been far more prolific at home, excluding their recent 1-0 loss to Stoke City at St. Mary’s.

Earlier in April, Southampton scored eight goals across three consecutive home victories, and Martin will be hoping his team can recapture that form on the South Coast.

Team News

Martin is hopeful that Che Adams will recover from a calf issue in time to join the Southampton front line.

If the Scotland international replaces Sekou Mara, it could be the only change to the lineup, with Ross Stewart likely remaining on the substitutes’ bench following his recent return to action.

Gavin Bazunu, a long-term injury absentee, and Juan Larios are both still unavailable for this match.

West Bromwich Albion

In this same fixture but in the regular part of the Championship season, back in November, West Brom were level heading into the final 15 minutes but ultimately fell to a 2-1 defeat. Kyle Bartley had cancelled out Will Smallbone’s Southampton opener, but Adam Armstrong secured victory for the Saints that day.

With a 2-0 loss and a goalless draw at The Hawthorns, Carlos Corberan leads his side into this semifinal second leg having failed to overcome Southampton in three attempts during 2023/24.

On a positive note, the Baggies have kept two consecutive clean sheets for the first time in 2024, following a 3-0 victory over Preston North End and the stalemate on Sunday. However, Corberan has not seen his team secure an away win since March 10, when they defeated struggling Huddersfield Town.

Despite a defeat against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium, Corberan noted that West Brom can challenge the best teams in the division. Yet, with his team having scored only four times in five games, three of those goals in a single match, they will have to embrace their underdog status for this contest.

Team News

No significant changes are expected from the visitors for this match. Jed Wallace is a potential replacement for Tom Fellows on the right flank, if Corberan does decide to make alterations.

Jayson Molumby and Daryl Dike are confirmed absentees, but Josh Maja will be given every opportunity to prove his fitness and secure a place on the bench.

Conclusion

West Brom have demonstrated their ability to impress on the road several times this season. However, they often fall short of securing the desired result, and Southampton should manage to achieve a hard-fought victory, possibly even needing to come from behind to do so.

Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 15/19

Bookmaker: BetUS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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