Welcome to my EPL Draw value soccer picks, where I’ll be looking to exploit the bookies with value plays for our readers. The Premier League returns from the recent international break and my next draw pick for this weekend features an early relegation clash between Fulham and Southampton who are both in desperate need of all three points here — Kickoff: 1000hrs (EST)
Fulham suffered a sixth defeat on the trot in the Premier League when they went down to a 2-0 loss away at Liverpool at Anfield just before the international break which left them bottom of the top flight.
This was simply too much for the Fulham board to tolerate and they promptly sacked former manager, Slavia Jokanovic, who had previously experienced the euphoria of taking Fulham back up to the Premier League after beating Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final at the end of last season.
However, the London club have made a disastrous start to the new campaign having scraped just one win from their first 12 matches of the season which was a 4-2 home win over Burnley at Craven Cottage but since then Fulham have gone nine matches without a win.
This poor sequence of results have seen The Cottagers gain just two points from a possible 27 on offer, courtesy of stalemates with Brighton and Watford in 2-2 and 1-1 draws respectively.
In addition, Fulham have shipped the highest number of goals in the top flight having conceded a total of 31 goals so far this season, and addressing this will be the first priority of new incoming manager, Claudio Ranieri who previously steered Leicester City to a remarkable Premier League title.
Home Form & Team News
Needless to say Fulham’s form at Craven Cottage has been below par as they currently possess a record of 1-1-3 6/13 with only Cardiff City (14 goals) conceding more at home than The Cottagers to date.
Although they managed to outscore Burnley in a rare 4-2 win, Fulham’s defensive frailties have been on show for all to see in defeats to Crystal Palace 2-0, Arsenal 5-1 and even Bournemouth 3-0 with the latter being considered a match that Fulham could have got something from.
The hosts also drew 1-1 with Watford but Ranieri’s blueprint will be to shore up his defence as he looks to transform Fulham into a team that’s hard to beat on home turf.
Indeed, just 6 wins from their last 28 home matches in the top flight is a meagre return for any club, but to have also lost 18 of these 28 is simply unacceptable.
The hosts have yet to keep a clean sheet at home this season, and manager Ranieiri will be without the services of midfield pair Kevin McDonald and Andre-Franck Zambo Aguissa, but defender Joe Bryan is hoping to return from a hamstring injury.
The host’s hopes will be pinned on midfielder Andre Schurrle (4 goals) and striker Aleksander Mitrovic (5 goals) to get them off and running under this new era under Claudio Ranieri.
Southampton’s current plight isn’t that much better than Fulham’s as they prepare for a trip to the nation’s capital on the back of a disappointing run of results which have seen the visitors go eight matches without a win.
Perhaps the thing that has saved manager Mark Hughes’s job so far is the fact that the Saints sit just above the relegation zone albeit on goal difference, but defeat at Fulham on Saturday would almost certainly end his reign at St Mary’s Stadium.
Southampton have taken just 4 points from the last possible 24 on offer which is thanks to draws against Brighton, Bournemouth, Newcastle United and Watford, the latter being last time out before the international break.
The fact that Southampton are outside of the relegation courtesy of a more favourable goal difference is ironic as the south coast side have managed to score just 2 goals from their last seven matches overall, which perhaps underlines just how bad 18th placed Cardiff City have been this term!
Away Form & Team News
Southampton possess a poor away record that stands at 1-1-4 4/13 having already suffered defeats at Everton, Liverpool, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester City – the latter being a 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Hughes’s former club.
Their one success on the road so far this season was a 2-0 win away at Crystal Palace but it should be noted that Palace were without their talismanic forward, Wilfred Zaha for that encounter at Selhurst Park.
A lack of goals on their travels have really hampered Southampton’s progress away from home this season and their leading goalscorer is former Liverpool forward, Danny Ings with just 4 goals to his name.
However, there’s more bad news for Hughes as Ings is facing a late fitness test and may miss this vital clash, while defender Ryan Bertrand is suspended after picking up five yellow cards so far this campaign.
Left-back Matt Targett is set to deputise for Bertrand while midfield pair Mario Lemina and Mohamed Elyounoussi are hoping to return to the squad.
To sum up, this is a clash between Fulham who find it almost impossible to keep a clean sheet and Southampton who find it extremely difficult to score goals away from home – this should end in a draw here.
The Bet: Draw +196 SportsBetting.ag