Betway Insider’s View of the Opposition: Southampton

Three away games on the spin is a tough start to the season in any team's book.

But West Ham can take heart from the fact that St Mary's, the venue for the second of those assignments, is currently one of Premier League's least daunting venues.

Since the Hammers' 3-1 victory there at the start of February, Southampton have won just one of their eight games at the stadium.

That meant the Saints ended last season with the fourth-worst home record in the top flight, with only bottom club Sunderland scoring fewer goals.

And, despite changing their manager over the summer, the early signs would suggest that improvement under Mauricio Pellegrino is far from a guarantee.

The Argentine did an admirable job in leading Alaves to the Copa del Rey final and a ninth-place finish in their first season back in La Liga after a decade-long absence. 

But, much like the near-identical achievements of Claude Puel in his solitary season on the south coast, the style in which they were accomplished was far from spectacular.

Both teams struggled to impose themselves on their own turf, with the 19 home league goals Alaves scored only marginally better than the measly 17 that Southampton mustered.

A goalless draw against Swansea on the opening weekend hardly helped to reinforce the impression of a fresh start.

Southampton have now failed to score in their last six matches at home – drawing three and losing three.

So West Ham, who scored the most away goals of all teams outside the top six last season, should be confident of earning a result.

But, given there have only been seven goals in their five meetings at St Mary’s since both clubs re-established themselves in the Premier League, it is likely to be a cagey affair.

One man who could make the difference is Andre Ayew.

The Ghanaian has scored four of West Ham's last seven goals away from home, with five of his six last season coming on the road.

Another on Saturday ought to be enough to get the Hammers’ season up and running against their goal-shy hosts.

Recommended bets

West Ham to win or draw – 23/20

Under 2.5 goals – 17/20

Andre Ayew to score West Ham's first goal – 11/2