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Top four hopefuls Saints scrap with Burnley plus Swans vie with Villa

| 21.03.2015

With Liverpool and Manchester United preparing to duke it out at Anfield, fellow top four contenders Southampton (10/1 with Coral to finish in a Champions League spot) have the chance to make up ground against trap door battlers Burnley.

Relegation candidates Aston Villa, meanwhile, continue to plot their great escape as they welcome Swansea City to Villa Park.

Southampton v Burnley
Saints were superb last time out in their draw at Stamford Bridge, but need to ensure they secure all the spoils on the south coast against Burnley.

Southampton stumbled against the Clarets earlier this campaign, but the story should be different at St Mary’s, where they are odds-on at 4/9 to win.

Coach Koeman spoke about whether his side could battle physically with Burnley, stating: “We know how they play but we have to do better than we did against them last time.

“You know exactly that every game is difficult because the intensity of the games is very high. It’s very physical, okay if you can’t do it on the physical side, you have to do it on the football side.”

Wing wizard Eljero Elia should return for this clash and is 7/4 to hit home anytime against the Clarets, while Senegal starlet Sadio Mane is 9/2 to fire Saints ahead first. Graziano Pelle (4/1 to close the scoring), meanwhile, could start on the bench.

Despite Southampton’s superior firepower, Sean Dyche’s side will fancy their chances after showing spirit to beat champions Manchester City. Burnley are 6/1 to win or 10/3 to hold their hosts to a draw, with main forward threats Danny Ings and Ashley Barnes 11/4 and 5/1 in the anytime market respectively.

Aston Villa v Swansea City
Tim Sherwood will be aiming to continue Villa’s turn around by steering them to success against Swansea. The former Tottenham coach is 7/5 to do so and rack up his fourth win on the trot across all competitions.

Now three points above the drop zone, Sherwood seems to have energized the Villans’ attack. The Midlands men had been struggling for strikes, but have notched up eight in their last three outings.

Christian Benteke, in particular, appears to have reaped the rewards from Sherwood’s presence and has poached three goals in his last three games. A forward threat once more, the big Belgium frontman is 5/1 to draw first blood or 5/4 to grab a goal anytime.

Benteke’s foil Gabriel Agbonlahor has also been impressive of late, bagging a brace last time out. The Birmingham-born forward is 11/1 to score two or more for his boyhood club once again, or 7/1 to have the final say.

Comfortably safe Swansea will have the advantage of playing without pressure, however, and are 19/10 to snatch victory, or 9/4 to split the spoils.

Garry Monk’s men could welcome back centre back Federico Fernandez, and will be bullish after beating Villa on their past two attempts.

The Swans’ midfield thrust and threat is provided by Gylfi Sigurdsson, and this skilful Iceland international struck a winner in the reverse at the Liberty Stadium earlier this season. At 8/1 to hit the opener, or 11/4 to punish the hosts anytime, Sigurdsson is sensational value.

Swansea conductor and South Korea skipper Ki Sung-Yueng has also been among the goals lately, and is 5/1 to contribute again anytime, while leading man Bafetimbi Gomis is 7/1 to chip in last.



Holly Thackeray

Holly is a member of the content team, and can often be found on the sports desk writing about favourite topics Serie A and East Asian footballing nations. A recent darts convert, she is also a fully-fledged member of Barney's Army and a proud Leeds-born Manchester United fan.