James Collins
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Something’s got to give in disciplined Hammers and Saints defences

| 22.02.2014

No Premier League team has kept more clean sheets than West Ham this season with 13 and four in a row. They host a Southampton side that has sealed 10 shut-outs of their own, their last two coming in successive away games.

Coral’s odds of 9/4 on a draw, and 10/1 for a 0-0 result look extremely tempting then. That scoreline was how the reverse fixture panned out in September. Clean sheet prices on the Hammers (7/2) and Saints (21/10) should be snapped up by punters too.

Both West Ham, 11/5 for victory here, and Southampton (11/8) have benefited from consistency of selection in their back fives.

Sam Allardyce’s side have named the same players in defence for three games running – all clean sheets – and the Saints reaped similar rewards by developing a miserly record on the road.

Four of the last six meetings between them have seen the spoils shared, but three of those ended 1-1 – an 11/2 chance.

Big Sam’s boys have failed to score in 10 outings, however, and are still missing suspended record signing Andy Carroll.

That failure to find the net is not a recent phenomenon, even without West Ham target man Carroll. Each of their last three matches has been a 2-0 win, which is 14/1 here.

Kevin Nolan scored four of those six goals and you can back him at 2/1 to net anytime, or take odds of 12/1 for him to bag another brace or better.

Mauricio Pochettino’s Southampton, meanwhile, have been unable to score in just four outings – only top-four teams Arsenal and Liverpool have recorded fewer blanks. The portents for Saints attackers against this opposition, on paper at least, are far from encouraging though.

Top-scorer Jay Rodriguez only has only netted once when facing the Hammers – that was a consolation for Burnley in a 5-1 mauling. Rickie Lambert, who may be vying with the banned Carroll for a spot on England’s World Cup roster, has never scored against them.

Southampton captain Adam Lallana does have a goal in this fixture, but has yet to be on the winning side in four appearances. Back the Saints skipper at 15/8 to score here as a youthful frontline should finally have its day against dogged defending.



Sam Barnard

Sam has been writing for Coral since January 2014, and is the assistant editor of the news site. As well as the main betting sports, football, tennis and cricket, he covers the likes of golf, F1 and darts too, the latter of which has become a particular favourite. Sam enjoys playing as much as writing about sports, but niggling injuries have limited his participation in recent years, so is happy to mainly watch the pros such as Manchester United, Yorkshire CCC, Raymond van Barneveld and even Gibraltar national football team instead.