Saints frailties could leave Martin Jol-ly
Southampton's return to the English top flight hasn't been easy on their fans' state of health nor mind, and as Fulham visit the St Mary's Stadium, they may well be in for another roller-coaster afternoon.
The Saints' flew out of the blocks at the start of their campaign as they travelled to the home of the Champions, and led late in the game. In the end, they fell to a 3-2 loss, which was swiftly repeated at the hands of Manchester United only 3 weeks later. Whilst playing some stylish attacking football, Southampton's defence has looked unconvincing at best this season. Their opponents this weekend will naturally look to take advantage of the back line frailties, and with all Fulham's games ending with over 2.5 goals this season, you can expect the net to bulge tomorrow.
With neither teams having drawn this season, a stalemate is priced at 21/10 at St Mary's, although the west Londoners have only registered one draw in their past 21 Premier League matches. They are without a win in any of the four trips they have made to the Saints' home stadium, with the south coast team leading the head-to-head record with 22 wins from their 59 meetings.
Martin Jol has led his Fulham side to three wins in their six games this season, and after losing Clint Dempsey and Mousa Dembele to his former team, Tottenham Hotspur, in the summer, the deadline day acquisition of Bulgarian forward Dimitar Berbatov has looked to be an astute signing. However, it is Mladen Petric that has looked the livelier striker at Craven Cottage, having netted three times so far, and William Hill are offering an enhanced price of 6/1 on the Croatian to score in a Fulham win.
Inconsistency has been the by-word for both of these teams so far, and after a humbling 6-1 defeat at the Emirates, Nigel Adkins guided his team to an emphatic 4-1 win at home to Aston Villa. So, after a 3-1 loss last week at the hands of a clinical Everton side, and recent form would suggest a Southampton win. Of course with Brede Hangeland and Aaron Hughes create an ever-reliable central defensive partnership, and in front of veteran goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, Adkins' side will have to make the most of any chances that come their way.
Of course, Rickie Lambert offers a strong, direct attacking threat, and having scored four already this season, he has begun to prove doubters of his top flight ability. The Home of Betting is offering 5/1 on Lambert to score in a Saints win.
This is the first of a Super Sunday double header, and kicks off at 1330 on Sky Sports 1.