Odds: West Brom 11/8, Draw 12/5, Southampton 9/4
Last season: 2-0
Southampton probably have the happiest striker in the Premier League at the moment after Rickie Lambert made the perfect start to his England career against Scotland. Under Mauricio Pochettino, the Saints are looking to play some more open and expansive attacking football demonstrated in their 17 goals scored during pre-season – whist the Baggies have strengthened their attacking line-up over the summer, with Premier League veteran Nicolas Anelka getting on the scoresheet in their latest friendly against Bologna.
West Brom proved themselves capable last season of overcoming sharp passing sides last season, so a lot of this game will depend how disciplined their defensive structure is, if it is as good as it was at the start of last season then they could be difficult to break down. Southampton under Pochettino had a reputation towards the end of last season for taking big scalps but not beating the sides in mid-table, and this is an opportunity for him to try and rectify that.
The baggies will be without midfielder Zoltan Gera until October with a knee ligament injury whilst Steven Reid and Chris Brunt are trying to shake off knocks, with Nathaniel Clyne a slight doubt for the Saints as he tries to shake off an ankle injury.
West Brom are favourites, but this could be a close encounter.
Last time they met:
Southampton 0-3 West Brom
Three sendings off and three goals in what ultimately ended up being a one-sided affair. Marc-Antoine Fortune gave West Brom the lead early on with Romelu Lukaku doubling the Baggies lead midway through the second half shortly before Fortune along with Southampton’s Gaston Ramirez were given their marching orders, after Ramirez seemed to have elbowed Long in the face with Fortune retaliating. Shane Long put the game to bed before Danny Fox became the third player to take an early bath for a two-footed tackle on Steven Reid.
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