Why Southampton will be relegated this season

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Southampton weren't among the three favourites to be relegated at the start of the season but they're sure heading that way as they come back from the international break in 17th position; only outside the relegation zone on goal difference.

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Mark Hughes inherited a side that have sold the majority of their star players over the past couple of seasons, with the latest being Virgil van Dijk in January. Their odds are currently down at 15/4 to be relegated with 12bet. And should the Saints go down then that would return a tidy profit to punters which can be further increased with a 12bet bonus code.

The Saints only narrowly avoided dropping down to the Championship last season and didn’t invest greatly over the summer. Jannik Vestergaard arrived from Borussia Mönchengladbach, Stuart Armstrong joined from Celtic, Mohamed Elyounoussi from FC Basel and Danny Ings was brought in on loan from Liverpool.

Hughes has been reliant on Ings for goals this season – his four represent 50% of Southampton's Premier League goals after a dozen games. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (2), Manolo Gabbiadini and Ryan Bertrand (1 each) are the only other players to get among the goals.

Aside from Ings, Saints fans will be hoping Charlie Austin can get among the goals. However, the striker has played nine games (5 starts) but is yet to find the back of the net. He scored seven goals in 24 Premier League matches last season.

The defence hasn't been great either, with only four teams conceding more goals than Southampton's 21 heading into this weekend. A number of centre-backs have been used so far this season, but Hughes has at least been consistent with Ryan Bertrand and Cédric Soares at full-back and Wesley Hoedt in the middle.

Mark Hughes should see this weekend's game as a good opportunity to pick up three points when they travel to Craven Cottage to take on bottom of the league Fulham. The Cottagers only hired Claudio Ranieri before the international break.

The 31 goals conceded by Fulham this season is the most in the Premier League – six more than any other side. Striker Aleksandar Mitrović's goals have dried up; since scoring five goals in his first six matches he has not scored in his last six.

Both sides will see this as a great opportunity to pick up three points and edge them closer to safety. They will also look at it as a game neither can afford to lose. You have to fancy Fulham out of either side this weekend given Ranieri's performance at Leicester City and how poorly Southampton have been playing of late.

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