Southampton vs West HamEnglish Premier League, KO: 17:30 Dec 14, 2019, St Mary's
THESE are troubled times for Manuel Pellegrini and if West Ham crash once more against Southampton it's hard to see the veteran surviving much longer as boss.
After losing just one of their first seven games this season, the Hammers now have only one win in their last 11, a run that has included eight defeats.
That has left them just a point above Southampton, who dropped back into the final relegation place after losing to Newcastle last weekend, so defeat at St Mary's could leave Pellegrini's side in the drop zone.
I tipped West Ham to get a point at home to Arsenal in their last game, although that was mainly down to the Gunners being in equally dismal form.
But Pellegrini's side collapsed after leading at half-time and the 3-1 defeat summed up the lack of belief in the ranks.
The Chilean insisted after the game that he didn't fear relegation but he should be worried about getting the sack and calls for his head will increase with a defeat at Southampton.
It wasn't so long ago that Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl was under intense pressure after a horrendous 9-0 home loss to Leicester.
But performances have picked up since then and a third successive home win would lift Southampton back out of trouble.
How the bookies see it
West Ham are in such a sorry state that BetVictor make them 3/1 outsiders for a win, with Saints a best 19/20 with Blacktype and the draw 61/20 at Marathonbet.
The odds on Saints don't offer much value, given they have won just twice at home all season. But both those victories have come in the last two games against fellow strugglers in the shape of Watford and Norwich.
Both teams to score came up in each of those matches so double that with a Saints win to boost the odds to 12/5 with Bet365. West Ham may be in awful form but they have scored in three of their last four games.
Recent head to head
West Ham won both games in the Premier League last season, romping to a 3-0 win in London after coming from behind to claim a 2-1 win at St Mary's (below).
In the three seasons before that, each team claimed a victory apiece in the head-to-head. The last draw was a 0-0 stalemate at St Mary's in 2015.
Thriller or chiller?
There have been three goals or more in each of the last six matches between these sides so it bodes well for an entertaining game here.
Southampton's last eight matches have also all had three goals or more and that has also been the case in four of West Ham's last six games.
Players to watch
Danny Ings has 10 goals from his last 11 games for Southampton and is snapping up almost every chance that comes his way. He could get some joy against a dismal Hammers defence and is good value at 11/8 with Bet365 to net at anytime.
Winger Moussa Djenepo continues to impress me, even though he let me down when I backed him to score in the win over Watford. Djenepo is 4/1 with Bet365 for a goal here and that's another good option.
Felipe Anderson was the West Ham hero when they last visited St Mary's, netting both their goals in that 2-1 victory. But the Brazilian winger has been a massive disappointment this campaign and has drawn a blank in 17 appearances.
Anderson was hooked with 20 minutes to go against Arsenal and may not keep his place for this one but Pellegrini might be tempted to start him again at a happy hunting ground. He's 5/1 with Paddy Power for anytime scorer here if you think a game against Saints will spark him to life again.
Anything else catch the eye?
There's so much at stake for both teams so things could get a bit tasty. Bet365 price a red card at 5/1 and that might be worth a speculative punt while the same firm price a penalty at 11/5 which is another good option.
This English Premier League match between Southampton and West Ham will be played on Dec 14, 2019 and kick off at 17:30