Southampton vs Wolves – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Saturday 11th February 2023
St Mary’s Stadium
As part of our weekend Premier League predictions, we take a look at Wolves’ visit to St Mary’s. Southampton have lost 8 of their 9 last Premier League games – will this be any different? Read on with our Southampton vs Wolves prediction.
Southampton vs Wolves Match Preview
While it’s perhaps not a particularly original opinion, Southampton are in dire straits coming into their home Premier League clash against Wolves. 8 defeats in their last 9 Premier League matches clearly demonstrates that the managerial change of Ralph Hassenhuttl for Nathan Jones hasn’t provided Southampton with the catalyst for change they were desperately hoping for. Although there is still plenty of time to turn things around, it’s fair to say that there are precious few signs of Southampton managing to do so by the end of the season.
Jones’ men have not been able to find solace in home comforts either – a paltry haul of six points from a possible 30 at St Mary’s sees them placed as the worst home team in the Premier League this season, and they will be well aware that this match represents a massive opportunity against a Wolves side who have only gained six points away from home in 10 matches – the third-worst record in the division. An away trip to Chelsea beckons after this fixture – while Chelsea have had their well-documented issues this season, they have still averaged 1.8 points per game at home this season and Southampton will be considered distant outsiders.
Wolves, on the other hand, have managed to pull themselves out of the relegation zone, temporarily at least. A brilliant 3-0 victory over an indifferent Liverpool team saw them register their fifth win of the season. Wolves’ issues have primarily come in front of goal this season, and it’s perhaps not surprising that last weekend’s win and the three goals that came with it account for 20% of their total goal tally this season. With Lopetegui at the helm, Wolves have managed to take seven points from their last five Premier League matches while improving their defensive performances.
Wolves have shipped an average of one goal per game over the last five games, and an extension of their current run of improved form will surely be predicated upon this newly-found defensive solidity. With Lopetegui’s men due to face the worst away side in the Premier League until this point, Bournemouth, they’ll be targeting some much-needed momentum here that can propel them to mid-table safety.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: McCarthy, Walker-Peters
Will Not Play: Larios, Livramento
Might Not Play:
Will Not Play: Chiquinho, Kalajdzic, Neto, Traore
Southampton vs Wolves Lineups (Predicted)
Southampton (4-2-3-1): Bazunu; Perraud, Salisu, Caleta-Car, Bree; Diallo, Lavia; Elyounoussi, Ward-Prowse, Edozie; Adams
Wolves (4-3-3): Sa; Ait-Nouri, Collins, Kilman, Semedo; Neves, Lemina; Podence, Sarabia, Hwang; Cunha
Southampton vs Wolves Analysis
Southampton’s Issues in Attack
In a run of 16 matches stretching back until the 30th of August and their 2-1 victory over Chelsea under the previous manager Hassenhuttl, Southampton have scored two goals or more on just one occasion – a 2-1 victory over fellow strugglers Everton. When we combine this statistic with the fact that Southampton have conceded 38 goals in 21 Premier League matches for an average of 1.81 goals per game, it’s clear that in all probability Southampton have to score twice or more in any given fixture to win the match, which is something they’ve not looked like doing for the majority of the season.
Jones has switched tactical approaches and personnel to the point where predicting the Southampton lineup on any given week is almost guesswork. Perhaps this is symptomatic of Jones searching for his best XI and attempting to get the most out of who he seems to view as his most creative player in James Ward-Prowse, but overall the results have not been positive. Ward-Prowse did score twice against Everton in their 2-1 victory, and also scored against Brighton and Fulham before the New Year, but failed to register a goal or an assist against Aston Villa and Brentford in their previous two outings.
Che Adams hasn’t scored in the league since netting against Liverpool in November, with one assist in six games his total output. Youngster Samuel Edozie hasn’t scored or assisted in the league this season, and Elyounoussi has one assist to his name against Arsenal in October, with no goals this season. This isn’t intended to attack certain individuals, but Southampton seem to be almost completely reliant on moments of inspiration as opposed to any coherent plan of attack, which perhaps explains how Ward-Prowse has been able to contribute despite some non-descript performances around him.
Wolves’ Improved Defensive Record
Now you might expect that we would be talking about Wolves’ attack following their outstanding 3-0 victory over Liverpool last time out. However, as impressive as that victory was, their recent upturn in fortunes has been largely predicated upon a greater emphasis on defensive organisation under new manager Lopetegui in a return to the kind of defensive solidity that was once their hallmark in the Premier League. Though they will no doubt be encouraged by the fact that they managed to convert half of their shots on target against Liverpool, it’s their defensive improvement that will provide the platform for Wolves to steer clear of the relegation zone.
Besides a very poor half an hour or so at the end of the first half and beginning of the second half against Manchester City which saw Erling Haaland notch a hat-trick, Wolves have restricted Aston Villa, West Ham and Liverpool to four shots on target apiece while blocking 10 shots against Liverpool, seven against West Ham and six against Aston Villa.
All of this suggests that Lopetegui’s methods on the training ground are starting to influence match-day performances and which can only be a good thing for a Wolves defence that was uncharacteristically porous under Bruno Lage and Steve Davis’ caretaker spell. Southampton have been struggling to create opportunities all season – ranking 17th for team xG in the Premier League this season.
We foresee Wolves’ continued improvement to continue unabated against a Southampton team who are woefully short on confidence despite a decent EFL Cup run of late. It’s perhaps a measure of Southampton’s current predicament that sections of the Saints support are calling for Jones’ head just a few short months into his tenure.
While it’s true that only five points separate the two sides, Wolves will be coming into this game with an entirely different outlook – one of progression and improvement. Southampton on the other hand are still searching for their best XI and best formation and, quite frankly, don’t appear to have a coherent style of play.
Southampton 0-2 Wolves
Southampton vs Wolves Betting Tip – Wolves Odds:
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