Sarries to edge it again
As he looks to end a profitable year on a high, our rugby union expert Reece Killworth fancies Saracens for a narrow win over Northampton.
- Related Content
Two of my expected top-four finishers do battle in the Aviva Premiership on Sunday afternoon as Saracens play host to Northampton Saints.
Though Gloucester currently sit in the play-off places along with defending champions Harlequins, Sarries and Leicester Tigers, it's my view they'll be replaced by the Saints before the season's end.
And a look back at the previous 'top-four tussles' this season provide a pretty good pointer as to what we can expect to see at stadium:MK this weekend.
As we reach the first round of return fixtures, Sarries have played Harlequins, Leicester and Northampton already this season and never has there been a winning margin of more than the 10 points they beat Saints by at their place.
For the record, they also played Gloucester - and won that by five points.
Quins have also played the Saints and Tigers - while that latter duo have also collided. And on only one occasion has the difference between the sides been more than 12 points - the 13 that separated the Quins (22) and Tigers (9).
Add in Gloucester's games against Harlequins, Leicester and Northampton if you must and margins of three, five and six points merely underline the point.
To summarise, of 10 games between the current top five, only two have been settled by a margin in double figures - and only one by more than 12 points.
So we've established there that we're in for a tight one in Milton Keynes - and that's borne out by the historical head-to-head between the sides, which throws up an average score of 23-22 to Sarries.
But which way will it go?
Saints are much improved on the road of late with three successive victories, the one in the Heineken Cup at Ulster particularly impressive.
But Sarries remain unbeaten in home games (wherever they may be!) this season and to me look to be a marginally slicker machine.
Having had success in opting for this in their game against Munster a couple of weeks back, it's Saracens to win by 1-10 points for me.