Southampton v Nottingham Forest – Pick: 1 – Championship (10th September 2011)
Southampton top of the table?9th September 2011 / David Parsons
Southampton v Nottingham Forest
Saturday 10th September 2011 – Kickoff: 1500hrs
Despite losing narrowly at Leicester City 2-3 a couple of weekends ago, Southampton will feel a bit unlucky to have lost their 100% record, but nonetheless, will be looking to get back to winning ways when they entertain struggling Nottingham Forest at St Mary’s on Saturday afternoon.
The Saints still possess a 100% winning record at home so far and signalled their intentions early on in the piece with a 3-1 win over Leeds United. This was backed up with a 1-0 win over Millwall and this start would have delighted manager Nigel Adkins. There’s every chance they could return to winning ways with the visit of Forest, particularly being back on home turf.
Previous to the reverse at Leicester, Saints had also been deadly on the road with wins at Barnsley 1-0 and a 5-2 demolition of Ipswich Town.
Leading scorer is striker David Connolly (4 goals in 5 matches) who has resurrected his career with the Irishman getting off to an explosive start. Midfielder Adam Lallana (3 goals, 3 assists) has also shown good early form, with Rickie Lambert also a dangerous asset going forward.
It’s interesting to note that Southampton have not beaten Nottingham Forest in their last five meetings at home, a statistic which they will be confident of breaking in front of their home crowd.
Onto the visitors, and they look a different side without manager Billy Davies in charge. Indeed, the clouds are darkening already over new manager Steve McClaren’s head as his side have gained just five points out of a possible 15 on offer, and just one win under their belts which was a narrow 1-0 away win at early relegation candidates Doncaster Rovers.
McClaren has brought in some new faces including strikers Matt Derbyshire from Olympiakos and Ishmael Miller from West Brom, but it may take a little longer for them to gel up front and develop into a potent force.
Another forward, David McGoldrick, may face his former employers and will be keen to do well against his ex-team mates, and another dangerous player is Lewis McGugan who creates and scores if given any sort of freedom. However, it will be interesting to see how Forest approach this match given their embarrassing outing last time out when they got hammered (quite literally) at home losing 1-4 to West Ham.
In addition, reports have surfaced around Steve McClaren’s desire to stay at the City Ground as he’s made his displeasure at some of the transfer dealings public, so I wonder about the morale in the dressing room, particularly if they go a goal down.
Saints are surging at home at the moment, and a Forest side with a delicate morale may face a very unpleasant ninety minutes at the St Mary’s ground. Saints to win 2-1.
Main Pick: Southampton @ 1.92 Pinnacle
£200 bonus at Bet365
£25 free bet at William Hill
£50 free bet at Paddy Power
£50 free bet at Sportingbet