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The Saints could be forgiven if they’re still reeling from their hard fought 1-0 win over champions Liverpool on Monday night, as Danny Ings’ smartly taken finish in the 2nd minute was enough for the three points in the end, and Ralph Hasenhuttl will likely reward those first team players with a well-earned rest this weekend, while some of the fringe players should get their chance to shine here.
That win over the Reds was the Saints’ first victory in five matches having drawn three of their previous four, though in truth that run included games against ‘Big Six’ sides Man City, Arsenal and Liverpool while they also drew with a decent West Ham team, all of whom are noticeably superior to their opponents here.
To sugar coat things, Shrewsbury have been patchy this season and currently sit 17th in League One, though despite going on a run of just two wins from 14 matches across all competitions, they look to be coming into some form ahead of this. Indeed, they are now unbeaten in eight matches in the league, with only league leaders Lincoln picking up more points than the Shrews over that period.
What’s more, they’ve also won four of their last five with each victory coming by narrow 1-0 margins, including wins against three of the current top four sides in the league, so confidence is rife in the squad at the moment.
Shrewsbury +1 Handicap
This is the fifth time in the last six seasons that the Shrews have reached the third round of the cup, while they’ll be looking to get past this stage for the third successive season, the first time they would have achieved the feat since 1983/84.
They actually have an impressive recent record in this competition too, going W9-D9-L2 from their last 20 matches, with both defeats coming in replays having initially drawn with Wolves and Liverpool in the last two seasons, while they’ve also progressed in ties against West Ham, Bristol City and Stoke in that time so they’re no stranger to some of the bigger sides on the circuit.
This has all the earmarks of a ‘Magic of the Cup’ clash, with form and cup pedigree on the side of the visitors, while the last time these tow met was an FA Cup clash at this ground nearly 10 years ago, with the Saints requiring a 90th minute Adam Lallana goal to seal the points.
Under 2.5 Goals
Southampton have won just one of their last six FA Cup outings since they reached the semi-finals three seasons ago, getting knocked out by Derby the following season and at the prices we could certainly get behind a similar outcome here.
We’d also expect a tight contest, especially if the likes of Danny Ings and Che Adams are rested. Both teams have seen ‘Unders’ land in each of the most recent five outings, and it’s difficult to see where the goals will come from so we’ll opt for that outcome again.