Nigel Adkins and Frank de Boer will both be happy with how their sides have performed in pre-season, but Adam Bate thinks Godenzonen are a little closer to their bestSouthampton have made a positive start to pre-season ahead of their return to the Premier League, with two wins in France.
The second of those was a confidence-boosting victory over Ligue 1 side Evian, but they must now make another step up in class when they take on Eredivisie champions Ajax. The Saints are 7/5 (2.4) with William Hill to continue their good form with a victory at St Mary's.
Ajax are well into their own preparations for the forthcoming season, having played a series of lower league sides earlier in July, prior to an emphatic victory over Scottish champions Celtic.
Neil Lennon's side were dismantled 4-0 in Amsterdam and that gives a good indication of what Southampton will be up against here.
The big names of yesteryear may be on the touchline rather than the pitch these days but, with coach Frank de Boer assisted by Dennis Bergkamp and Marc Overmars as sporting director, class can be expected.
Ajax are the same price as Nigel Adkins' men – 7/5 (2.4) – to get the win in this one. The draw is available at 12/5 (3.4) with William Hill.
In the goalscorer markets, Rickie Lambert is the bookmakers' favourite to open the scoring and that is understandable given his astonishing record in front of goal.
Lambert has scored an incredible 118 goals in his last four seasons and is 5/1 (6.0) to get the first here.
Billy Sharp may not be able to boast that kind of record in recent seasons but his short-term form is excellent, having bagged a hat-trick in pre-season already.
Sharp is 11/2 (6.5) with William Hill to open the scoring for Saints in this one.
For the visitors, Christian Eriksen is the star name but he has been continually linked with a move away from Ajax. He is 10/1 (11.0) to score first here.
Instead, the smart money is on Kolbeinn Sigthorsson to be the man to trouble the home side.
The 22-year-old Iceland international scored seven goals for Ajax last season despite making just eight starts.
He netted against Celtic and can be backed to get the first goal in this one at a tempting 6/1 (7.0) with William Hill.
That is the value bet here because Ajax seem to be further advanced in their pre-season training and will fancy their chances of bagging some more goals against a newly-promoted side.
The pick of the bets is to back Ajax at that industry-best 7/5 (2.4) price.
|Ajax to win at 7/5 (2.4) with William Hill
||Sigthorsson to score first at 6/1 (7.0) with William Hill
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Adam Bate is a professional freelance journalist who specialises in football and betting. He is editor of GhostGoal which can be found here - you can also follow Adam on
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