Southampton vs Cardiff prediction: Southampton 2-1 Cardiff
A proper relegation 6-pointer if ever there was one.
Southampton come into this match just two points above Cardiff, who start the day in the relegation zone in 18th place.
Win the game and they put a 5-point gap between themselves and the relegation zone. Lose, and they likely travel to Arsenal on 24th February in the relegation zone themselves.
Their form coming into the game is excellent, as they are undefeated in their last five matches in the Premier League. While Cardiff have lost three of their last five matches.
The transformation since Ralph Hasenhüttl took charge at Southampton is very clear in terms of points on the board. Mark Hughes had managed just nine points from fifteen games; an average of 0.6 points per game.
However, since 5th December, they have picked up fifteen points from Hasenhüttl’s ten games in charge; an average of 1.5 points per game.
Southampton vs Cardiff: Who will win?
Southampton have the second worst home record in the league, with just two wins this season. However, both came under Ralph Hasenhüttl in their last five home fixtures. Also, Cardiff have been poor travellers having lost eight of their last ten away matches in the Premier League. Thus, the bookies have Southampton as 8/11 favourites to take the win.
Southampton have drawn three of their last five Premier League matches. They have also drawn half their home matches this season, with six draws from twelve. Will there be another stalemate here at St Mary’s Stadium? Odds of a draw are 13/5.
Cardiff have won just one away match all season; a 0-1 win at Leicester in their last match of 2018. Can they pick up their second here? Odds of 15/4 reflect the confidence in their away record.
There is also a good chance of this being a low-scoring match. The last four meetings between these clubs have seen under 2.5 goals. Odds of another under 2.5 goals match here are 4/5.
Southampton vs Cardiff: Who will score?
The only player from either side who has looked a consistent goal-scoring threat this season is Danny Ings. However, he was withdrawn from the Burnley game due to his hamstring and is expected to miss the game.
Nathan Redmond has been in good goalscoring form recently. His opening goal against Burnley last weekend was his fourth goal in seven games for Southampton in all competitions. He is 6/1 to be first scorer again this Saturday, or 2/1 to score at any time.
James Ward-Prowse seems to have added goals to his game in recent weeks. He has three goals in his last four Premier League games. He is 10/1 to be first scorer here, or 7/2 to score at any time.
Bobby Reid doubled his tally for the season with his brace against Bournemouth at the weekend. He is also 10/1 to be first scorer here, or 7/2 to score at any time.
Southampton vs Cardiff: Match preview
Ralph Hasenhüttl digging Southampton out of relegation already feels like it will be one of the success stories of the season.
Southampton made the brave decision in avoiding ‘relegation expert’ managers such as David Moyes, Alan Pardew or Sam Allardyce. Instead, they opted for a coach largely unknown to Premier League fans. Although, avid Bundesliga fans will remember his aggressive pressing and counter attacking approach at Leipzig that earned them Champions League football.
Since coming in, he has picked up an average of 1.5 points per game; an amount that equates to 57 points in a 38 game season. The question though, is how sustainable this is?
Southampton vs Cardiff: New Manager Bounce?
As the top graph above shows, Southampton had been trending on or around the 0.5 points per game line for much of the season under Mark Hughes.
However, the second graph shows that perhaps they weren’t getting the points then which their football deserved.
The expected points graph (xPnts) is based on the expected goals model. This is calculated on the probability of goals from the chances both teams are creating, and the number of points a team could reasonably expert to earn based on the chances both created and allowed.
This suggests Mark Hughes’ side were good for an average of at least one point per game for the games he was in charge.
It also suggests, for all Hasenhüttl’s good results, performances are actually starting to decline somewhat. So is this simply a purple patch? The nebulous ‘New Manager Bounce’ effect?
Southampton team news vs Cardiff
Mario Lemina and Michael Obafemi remain on the long-term injury list for Southampton.
Danny Ings picked up a hamstring injury in the first half of Southampton’s 1-1 draw with Burnley. Shane Long is expected to replace him in attack.
Maya Yoshida may be available for selection once more having returned from Asian Cup duty with Japan. However, Ralph Hasenhüttl is unlikely to change his back-line right away for him. Expect him to take a place on the bench.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjergmissed the draw with Burnley due to a head injury. He is being monitored for signs of concussion. However, he is expected to receive the all-clear to play at the weekend in place of Slattery.
If not, Yan Valery is expected to return to the side, with James Ward-Prowse moving back into midfield.
Cardiff team news vs Southampton
Sean Morrison remains on the long-term injury list for Cardiff. He isn’t expected to return until March at the earliest.
Victor Camarasa missed the 2-0 win over Bournemouth with a muscle injury. He faces a late fitness test to prove to Neil Warnock he is ready for this key relegation match up.
With a full weeks rest between matches, Warnock is likely to name the same XI that started Saturday’s win.
Predicted Southampton team vs Cardiff
Predicted Cardiff team vs Southampton
The latest tweets from Southampton pre-Cardiff
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) February 7, 2019
The hard work never stops…
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) February 6, 2019
The latest tweets from Cardiff pre-Southampton
— Cardiff City FC (@CardiffCityFC) February 6, 2019
— Cardiff City FC (@CardiffCityFC) February 6, 2019
All odds mentioned in this article are correct at the time of publishing and are subject to change.