Southampton were unlucky to lose against Inter last time round, after missing a host of good chances. The Saints will be confident of a result on Thursday however, as they’ve been unplayable on home soil at times this season.
Claude Puel’s side suffered their first home defeat of the 2016/17 campaign across all competitions against Chelsea (2-0) last weekend. Prior to this loss, Southampton were undefeated at St Mary’s in 14 home games, which is very impressive.
The Saints have had a decent start in the Premier League and are currently 9th in the table. Puel will want to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat to Chelsea against Hull City on Sunday and therefore it is difficult to predict how strong a team he will put out against Inter.
Charlie Austin has been the key man for the Saints and has scored 7 goals across all competitions this season, including a brace in their 3-0 win at home to Sparta Prague in the Europa League back in September. With Shane Long out injured, Austin is likely to start and he’ll be the man that will cause Inter problems.
In the Europa League, Southampton sit 3rd in Group K on 4 points with a W1, D1, L1 record to date. The group is extremely tight however, with opponents Inter sitting bottom with 3 points and Sparta Prague are top with 6 points.
Southampton have been struggling to convert their chances of late and as a result, have won just 2 of their last 7 games across all competitions. The home side are very much in need of 3 points against Inter on Thursday, otherwise they could be in danger of missing out on the knockout stages.
Charlie Austin & Southampton celebrate
A few days ago Inter Milan sacked manager Frank de Boer after just 85 days in charge. Inter are therefore in disarray, as the search for a new manager continues.
The away side have had a poor start to the season and sit 12th in Serie A. They’ve won 4, drawn 2 and lost 5 of their league matches to date and most recently suffered a 1-0 defeat away to 14th placed Sampdoria in Serie A.
Inter have lost 4 of their last 5 matches in the Italian league and their sole win during this period was against Torino (2-1) a few weeks ago.
Matters have also been made worse for the club in the past month as a result of the Icardi scandal.
Despite the negativity surrounding Icardi, he’s definitely the danger-man and has scored 8 goals in 14 appearances so far this season. Icardi most recently bagged a brace against Torino.
Inter need to avoid defeat against Southampton to remain in with a chance of qualifying for the knock-out stage and even taking all of their issues into account, I believe they’ve still got the quality to cause the Saints problems.
Southampton’s home form is undeniably strong, but Inter will still pose a threat at St Mary’s due to the quality they possess in their squad. As Puel’s side are solid at home, they should get the win, although I am also expecting both teams to score. Today I think there is better value on the Asian Total Goals market and therefore I recommend backing over 2.25 goals, as I think we’ll be seeing more goals in this fixture than we did last time round.
Prices correct at time of writing.