Southampton vs West Bromwich Albion Predictions

Southampton vs West Bromwich Albion Predictions for this Championship play-off clash. Southampton hosts West Brom in Championship playoff semi-final second leg, aiming to capitalise on home advantage after first-leg draw. Read on for all our free predictions and betting tips.

Southampton
West Brom

Championship | Playoff 2nd leg – May 17, 2024 at 8pm UK at St. Marys Stadium

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Southampton vs West Bromwich Albion Predictions

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Southampton and West Brom Clash for Championship Playoff Final Spot

Key Stats

– Southampton have scored in all but one of their last 12 home games.

– West Brom have won just two of their last 12 away matches.

– Adam Armstrong has netted 21 goals this season, leading Southampton’s attack.

A place in the Championship playoff final is up for grabs as Southampton host West Brom at St Mary’s Stadium in the second leg of their semi-final clash. Following a goalless draw in the first leg, both teams will be eager to secure victory and move one step closer to promotion. This article provides an in-depth analysis of the upcoming match, highlighting key areas, player duels, and tactical insights, alongside expert predictions.

Match Preview

Southampton and West Brom could not be separated in the first leg, resulting in a 0-0 draw at the Hawthorns. The Saints had the slight edge in a tightly contested match and will be confident of leveraging their home advantage. St Mary’s Stadium has been a fortress for Southampton this season, with the team winning 10 of their last 12 home games. However, their defence has been leaky, managing just one clean sheet in their last nine home fixtures.

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West Brom, on the other hand, will be disappointed not to have taken a first-leg lead. The Baggies have struggled on the road, winning only two of their last 12 away matches and currently on a four-match winless streak away from home. This second leg at St Mary’s is crucial for both teams, with a place in the final at stake.

Team News

Southampton: The Saints might be without Che Adams, who missed the first leg due to injury. Ross Stewart, who made a brief cameo at the Hawthorns, could start. Key players like Adam Armstrong will be crucial, and his fitness is pivotal after a knock in the first leg. Stuart Armstrong is sidelined with a hamstring injury, and goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu is out with an Achilles injury.

West Brom: The Baggies have a relatively fit squad with no new injury concerns from the first leg. Captain Jed Wallace is expected to start after his substitute appearance in the first leg. Defender Semi Ajayi, who also came off the bench, might feature from the beginning. Daryl Dike remains the only significant absentee due to a leg injury.

Expected Lineups

Southampton: McCarthy; Stephens, Bednarek, Harwood-Bellis, Walker-Peters; Smallbone, Aribo, Downes, Manning; Stewart, Armstrong.

West Brom: Palmer; Townsend, Bartley, Ajayi, Furlong; Mowatt, Yokuslu, Wallace, Fellows, Diangana; Thomas-Asante.

Key Areas and Player Duels

The midfield battle will be crucial, with Southampton’s Will Smallbone and Joe Aribo looking to control possession and dictate the game’s pace. West Brom’s Alex Mowatt and Okay Yokuslu will aim to break up play and launch counter-attacks. The duel between Southampton’s Adam Armstrong and West Brom’s Semi Ajayi will be pivotal, with Armstrong’s pace and finishing ability testing Ajayi’s defensive resilience.

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Gameplay Analysis

Southampton are likely to dominate possession, given their higher ball possession rate (66%) and accurate passing (89.7%). They will look to control the game through short passes and patient build-up play. West Brom, with a lower possession rate (52.3%), will rely on quick transitions and set-pieces to create scoring opportunities. Their direct approach and ability to exploit defensive gaps on the counter could be their main threat.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Southampton:

  • Strengths: Strong attacking unit, high ball possession, and home advantage.
  • Weaknesses: Defensive inconsistencies, reliance on key players, and vulnerability to counter-attacks.

West Brom:

  • Strengths: Effective on counter-attacks, solid in the final third, and capable of grinding out results.
  • Weaknesses: Poor away form, defensive vulnerabilities, and occasional lapses in concentration.

Managerial Analysis

Russell Martin has guided Southampton through a challenging season, with his team finishing fourth despite a late-season slump. His emphasis on possession-based football and attacking play has been effective, but defensive frailties remain a concern. Carlos Corberan, managing West Brom, has struggled to find consistency, especially away from home. His tactical acumen will be tested in ensuring his team remains compact and exploits any chances on the break.

Expected Goals (xG) Analysis

Southampton’s average of 1.9 goals per game reflects their offensive prowess. Their xG (expected goals) suggests they create and convert a high number of scoring opportunities. West Brom, averaging 1.5 goals per game, have a solid attacking unit but might struggle to create high-quality chances against a stronger opponent. Defensively, Southampton’s higher goals conceded per game (1.4) compared to West Brom (1) indicates potential vulnerabilities that the visitors could exploit.

Betting Angles

Several trends suggest potential betting angles:

  1. Both Teams to Score: Given both teams’ attacking capabilities and defensive weaknesses, betting on both teams to score is plausible.
  2. Home Advantage: Southampton’s strong home form and West Brom’s poor away record favour a home win.
  3. High Scoring Match: Both teams have shown a propensity for high-scoring matches, making over 2.5 goals a likely outcome.

Predictions

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Best Bet: Southampton to Win and Both Teams to Score

Southampton have shown remarkable consistency at home, winning 10 of their last 12 matches at St Mary’s Stadium. Despite their strong attacking performance, defensive vulnerabilities have been evident, with only one clean sheet in their last nine home games.

This makes it likely that while Southampton will dominate and eventually secure the win, they will also concede at least once. West Brom, though struggling with away form, have the attacking capability to exploit these defensive lapses. The combination of Southampton’s potent attack led by Adam Armstrong and their shaky defence aligns well with the prediction of a win for the Saints with both teams finding the net.

Correct Score Prediction: Southampton 2-1 West Brom

Reflecting the best bet, a 2-1 victory for Southampton seems plausible. The Saints’ attacking statistics are compelling, with an average of 1.9 goals per game and notable contributions from key players like Armstrong. West Brom’s recent struggles on the road, including their inability to win in the last five away games, reinforce this prediction.

However, given Southampton’s defensive record and West Brom’s capacity to score, a clean sheet for the hosts appears unlikely. Therefore, a 2-1 scoreline, which allows for a competitive match but ultimately sees Southampton prevailing, fits the expected pattern of the game.

Goalscorer Prediction: Adam Armstrong to Score Anytime

Adam Armstrong has been the linchpin of Southampton’s attack, scoring 21 goals this season. His form and finishing ability have made him the primary threat for the Saints. Armstrong’s importance is underscored by his dual role as both a scorer and a creator, with 13 assists to his name.

His track record in crucial matches, combined with West Brom’s defensive vulnerabilities, makes him a strong candidate to score in this fixture. Given his knack for finding the net, betting on Armstrong to score anytime during the match is a well-supported prediction.

First Team to Score: Southampton

Given their aggressive start in home matches and West Brom’s defensive inconsistencies, Southampton are likely to open the scoring. The Saints’ ability to impose early pressure is evident from their high ball possession and accurate passing statistics.

Additionally, Southampton’s tendency to score in the initial stages of the game has been a recurring theme, particularly at St Mary’s. West Brom, on the other hand, have struggled defensively on the road, making them vulnerable to early goals. Therefore, predicting Southampton to be the first team to score aligns with both teams’ recent performances and statistical trends.

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Gram Dodd
15-year veteran in the sports writing industry who has written betting previews for NFL, golf, football, racing, and tennis. Sports event of all time: the Miracle of Istanbul.