Sports Betting Weekly

Sunderland v Southampton

When: Saturday, 02 May 2015 @ 21:00 (FINISHED)
Where: Stadium of Light
Both Sunderland and Southampton go into this fixture knowing that nothing but a win will suffice for either of their campaigns, with the pair chasing Premier League survival and Europa League qualification respectively.

For Sunderland, this season has been a dismal tale, with the club in serious peril of returning to the Championship for the first time since 2007 after the sacking of Gus Poyet and subsequent hiring of Dick Advocaat failed to pay dividends as the Wearsiders now find themselves in the bottom three.

It is a stark contrast to last season, where Sunderland reached the League Cup final – where they lost 3-1 to Manchester City – before staging what Poyet described as a ‘miracle’ run, with his side winning at Stamford Bridge and drawing at the Etihad in their final run-in to avoid the drop.

There have been no such heroics this time around, however, as Advocaat has steered his side to just one win in the four matches that he has been in charge of – and even though that victory was against hated rivals Newcastle United, they followed it up with a damaging 4-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace.

For any side to stay up, home form is imperative. If a club can make their home ground a fortress – or at least show signs of doing so – it gives players and fans alike confidence. With just two home games left (this fixture and another six-pointer against Leicester City), Sunderland need results fast.

It is a completely different kind of pressure for Southampton, who will feel they have missed a huge opportunity to stake a claim for a continental spot next season by drawing 2-2 with Tottenham Hotspur last time out. The Saints currently sit in seventh, but unless Arsenal beat Aston Villa in the F.A. Cup final, that spot is completely meaningless as it would mean that only fifth and sixth go into the Europa League, which could have severe ramifications for Ronald Koeman’s men next season.

The club has already had to contend with one major sale last summer and a failure to secure European football would almost certainly see the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin, Nathaniel Clyne, Jay Rodriguez and a few others depart for pastures new.

They are overwhelming favourites for this contest however, and are priced at evens to secure a victory – with Sunderland listed at 7/2 and the draw on offer at 12/5.

The last time these two sides met, Southampton thumped Sunderland 8-0, and a repeat of that result is available at outlandish odds of 500/1. Graziano Pelle scored a brace that day and the Italian striker is 5/1 to open the scoring or 19/10 to score anytime. For Sunderland, former England international Jermaine Defoe is the 3/1 favourite to score at any point or 7/1 to break the deadlock.