Southampton vs. Hapoel Beer Shevan / Europa League – Yet another match of the last, sixth round of group phase of Europa League that directly decides about passage to knockout phase given that the two teams have the same number of points, although English Southampton due to a bit better goal difference is second in the standings, while Israel’s champion Hapoel is just third. It means that they repeat result from the first match in Israel 0-0, Southampton would pass in next phase, while any other draw would take Hapoel in it, as they would score more away goals. Begins: 08.12.2016 – 21:05 CET
We believe that Southampton leadership is not preoccupied with abovementioned calculation given they are fully aware that their team is much better than Hapoel, and consequently they expect sound victory in this match and by that continuation of participation in the Europa League. Their first match in Israel showed that difference in quality between the teams is very big and then the Saints deliberately pulled the break and tried to minimise risks, while in front of their fans they will surely attack constantly, just like they did against Sparta Prague and Inter Milan, whom they won by 3-0 and 3-1, respectively.
On the other hand, they have brought just one point from Israel and were defeated in Prague and Milan, so they have to fight for the second place in the Group K as they have five points fewer than Sparta. Regarding their latest matches in English competitions, after home victory over Everton and defeat away by Crystal Palace they still occupy the middle of standings, or more precisely the 12 place but they reached the semi-final of League Cup after eliminating Arsenal recently. Let’s add that coach Puel cannot count on injured goalkeeper McCarthy, defenders Gardos and Targett, and midfielders TAdic, Pied and Reed.
Probable lineups Southampton: Forster – Soares, van Dijk, Fonte, Bertrand – Davis, Romeu, Clasie – Redmond, Austin, Boufal
Hapoel Beer Sheva
Unlike the Saints, before this match of the last round of group phase in Europa League Hapoel have a streak of six wins, four in the championship and by one in the Israel Cup and Europa League, where they defeated after a great turnover favoured Inter Milan at home by 3-2. That victory put them back in race for the knockout phase of the same competitions, as they lost two times before to Sparta, while four remaining points were won after sensational victory at home over Inter and abovementioned goalless draw with Southampton.
Because of fact they managed to preserve their goal intact in that match the Israelis need in the last round any draw with goals, while in case of goalless draw or the Saint’s victory the English team would pass further. We need to add that Hapoel is on good way to defend title in Israel championship as after 12 rounds they have 10 points more than next in standings Maccabi Tel Aviv, mostly thanks to recent streak of eight wins. Let’s add that Hapoel has no problems with injures at the moment.
Probable lineups Hapoel Beer Sheva: Goresh – Bitton, Vitor, Tzedek, Korhut – Hoban, Radi – Buzaglo, Ogu, Nwakaeme – Maranhao
Southampton – Hapoel Beer Sheva PICK
Although goalless draw suits the Saints, it if fact that they are at the moment much better team than Israel’s champion Hapoel Beer Sheva, and we have no dilemma to play here on victory of the home team.
Pick: Asian handicap -1 Southampton
Odds: 1.80 at bet365 (down to 1.73 can be played)