Saints unlikely to take the boing out of the Baggies
It hasn't quite been the glorious reincarnation that Southampton had been looking for as they returned to the Premier League in May, with only four points to their name a quarter of the way through the season.
For Nigel Adkins, he knows that things must change, and change quickly, if they're to avoid what at this point seems like an inevitable relegation.
As the Saints travel to the Hawthorns, they are rooted to the bottom of the table after QPR and Reading fought out an intense 1-1 draw at Loftus Road on Sunday, and West Bromwich Albion will be hoping that there impressive home form will continue. The Baggies have netted ten goals in the five games in front of their own fans, picking up 12 points in the process, and are sitting in the top half of the table ahead of bother Liverpool and Newcastle.
Steve Clark has impressed since he took the full time role as WBA manager in the off-season, but consecutive 2-1 defeats to Manchester City and Newcastle United, he will know that a win against Southampton, that could take them 5th, will be a statement of intent to the rest of the league, showing not only that Albion are no pushovers, but that they can push some of the big boys for a spot in next year's Europa League.
After signing a yearlong loan from Chelsea, Belgian front man Romelu Lukaku has shown some great strength and flair as he has propelled the Baggies on to wins against Reading and Liverpool, and is a tasty 5/1 to score a brace. Of course, alongside Lukaku, Irish star Shane Long provides a constant threat on front of goal, and if ignored by opposition defences, will often make them suffer. Long is the centre of attention for William Hill this Monday night, enhanced to 5/2 to score in a Baggies win (from 9/5).
With Southampton's terrible away record proving to be a potential downfall, this would provide a great chance to prove doubters wrong. A trip to the West Midlands on Monday Night Football is likely to provide a tasty atmosphere, and if the Saints can make an impact early on in the game, they may neutralise the crowd. With four goals to his name, Rickie Lambert is 11/4 to celebrate another, whilst former club record signing Jay Rodriguez has been enhanced to 7/1 to score in a Saints win.
If Southampton manage to go ahead, they will be in danger of throwing further points from a winning position, and with 11 so far this season, they lead the Premier League in that particular category, and with 26 goals conceded already they are on track to leak a Premier League record 110 goals by May.
Coverage of this game begins on Sky Sports 1 at 19:00, with kick-off an hour later.