Goals at St Marys and no goals at Anfield

Premier League

Football
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Published: 03/09/2012

Lots of goals have been a feature of matches between Southampton and Manchester United and St Mary`s Stadium could host another high-scoring encounter when the Saints and the Red Devils meet there in the English Premier League.

Each of the last half a dozen games between Southampton and Manchester United in all competitions have featured at least three goals and those who were English Premier League fans in 1996 will never forget the match in which the Saints beat the Red Devils 6-3 and the then plain old Alex Ferguson blamed his team`s defeat on their grey-coloured shirts.

Southampton was the top-scoring club in last term`s English Championship, netting 85 goals in 46 matches. And the Saints have shown sufficient attacking flair in their first two games in this season`s English Premier League to suggest that they will have more scoring matches than blanks.

Manchester United is another English Premier League side whose attack looks more competent than its defence. Jonny Evans is expected to return from injury to partner Nemanja Vidic in the middle of its back four but he is likely to be rusty and, frankly, he is not the answer to its problems on a long-term basis. The Red Devils are likely to leak goals until Sir Alex finds someone of equal quality to Vidic.

While Manchester United should have sufficient class in midfield and attack to condemn Southampton to its third English Premier League loss in three matches this season, the away team may not do so while keeping a clean sheet.

Given the choice between betting on the Red Devils to win at around 4-7 and betting on the St Mary`s Stadium showdown featuring more than 2.5 goals at around 4-6, preference is for the latter. Correct-score addicts could do worse than back the favourites to win 2-1 at around 15-2 or 3-1 at around 11-1. Combining the two scores pays around 4-1.

While there are likely to be goals at St Mary`s Stadium, there are likely to be fewer goal-scoring incidents at Anfield when Liverpool does battle with Arsenal.

Both the Reds and the Gunners are struggling to find the back of the net, particularly from open play. Both of Liverpool`s English Premier League goals this term have resulted from set pieces, while Robin Van Persie-less Arsenal have taken part in back-to-back goalless games.

No side in English Premier League history has kicked off a campaign with three consecutive 0-0 draws but the general odds of 10-1 about that happening to Arsenal this season are more than reasonable. However, a safer - and perhaps better - bet is punting on under 2.5 goals at around 10-11.

Newcastle and Aston Villa meet at the Sports Direct Arena in Sunday`s other English Premier League fixture. There will be no shortage of punters lining up to back the Magpies at around 4-6, most notably because of the appalling manner in which the Villains have started life under Paul Lambert.

Alan Pardew`s team should have too much firepower for its opponent but Lambert is too good a manager not to sort out Aston Villa and, at the odds, no bet is the play given that the away team will improve sooner rather than later.

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