By William Hill
5th December 2018
Southampton are trading at 10/1 in the Premier League top-half finish betting this season after the club confirmed that former RB Leipzig manager Ralph Hasenhuttl will replace Mark Hughes in the dugout.
The Austrian arrives at St Mary’s with the cellar-dwelling Saints 12 points behind Brighton in 10th and a single point above rock-bottom Fulham, yet he has previous for joining and reinvigorating a side part way through a campaign.
Hasenhuttl gives you wings?
In his first season at Ingolstadt in 2013/14, he joined in October with the club bottom of the 18-side 2. Bundesliga. Hasenhuttl eventually steered them to 10th, level on points and goal difference with Union Berlin in ninth.
Further impressive feats have followed too, such as leading the same team to the title the next season and top-flight consolidation the campaign after that.
His ability to make a profound impact was again reiterated in his first season with RB Leipzig (2016/17), when he guided the newly promoted German club to second in the Bundesliga, backing that up with a respectable sixth in what was the club’s first season in Europe.
Hassenhuttl takes over a Southampton side, where certain metrics of attacking intent indicate they haven’t been getting the just deserts for their efforts this season.
Saints among chief cheaters of shots and expected goals stats
Even amidst the nadir in form that led to Hughes’ dismissal, it might surprise you to know that only Manchester City and Chelsea have had more efforts on goal from open play in the league this term than Southampton, who also rank seventh for shots on target and fifth for efforts inside the penalty area.
As a result, it’s perhaps unsurprising they’re also dramatically underperforming on the in-vogue expected goals metric. At +5.99 according to Understat, they should have notched the bones of six more than their current tally, a discrepancy only exceeded by Crystal Palace and Wolves.
The Saints are fifth in the division for key passes (ones that create goal-scoring opportunities) too, offering Hasenhuttl and their top-half-finish odds backers real reason to believe that merely taking the chances they already create could see them end up above the equator by the conclusion of the season.
Southampton are 9/1 to beat Tottenham at Wembley this evening, while a second consecutive draw between the clubs is a 4/1 pick and the Spurs win is trading at odds of 1/3.