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Aston Villa 3 v 4 Southampton
Barclays Premier League
Sunday, 1st November 2020 Kick-off 12:00
Saints At Aston Villa The Preview
Sunday, 1st Nov 2020 08:39

It can get confusing these days as to whether a game is home and away, but we are travelling to Villa Park today and we will be looking to repeat a our victory their back in December.

Villa Park has often been a happy hunting ground and even a defeat there on the final day of the season back in 1997 was a cause for celebration with Graeme Souness's side staying up on the final day despite a 1-0 defeat.

A year ago we went to Villa Park 3rd from bottom on 15 points with the home side only one place above us on the same number of points and defeat would have seen us 3 points adrift of safety.

We came through in confident mood, 2-0 up by the half hour mark through Danny Ings and Jack Stephens, a second from Ings just after half time gave us a commanding lead and although Jack Grealish puled one back, Saints stayed tight and could have won by more.

Only 7 of the starting line up a year ago are likely to start this afternoon, Soares and Hojbjerg have left the club and Shane Long and Jack Stephens will likely start on the bench.

Two who came off the bench back then Oriol Romeu & Che Adams, have been crucial in our recent good form.

Who would have thought a year ago that the same fixture 11 months later would not be a basement battle, but one which would see the winner go into 2nd place, albeit perhaps temporarily.

Ralph Hasenhuttl is not likely to make any changes for this game unless there are any injuries he is not letting on about, and why would he, his side has found consistency and a spine down the middle, but more importantly he has given it spirit and that spirit has carried us through even when as at Chelsea things have looked bad.

So I expect an unchanged team with Ibrahima Diallo and Theo Walcott chomping at the bit, if there was to be a slight change I could see Theo Walcott coming in for Stuart Armstrong to add some pace and try and expose ex Saint Matt Targett, but I think he will leave the loanee from Everton on the bench to come on later in the game.

We still have the issues at the back, as we saw at Chelsea they have not yet been solved, but what has changed is that we have two central defenders who know their jobs and more importantly their positions and where they should be at any given time.

It is not yet perfect but it is a big improvement on the opening two games where players being constantly caught out of position and causing chaos in our own defence.

Now both in defence and in the centre of midfield we have a discipline we lacked, each player knows his job and is sticking to that task and it has paid dividends.

So we can go to the Midlands with confidence, but we should not go their with complacency, our unbeaten four game run in the Premier League has been achieved through hard work and a never say die attitude and we have to have that today.

Several teams around us Leeds, Palace and indeed Aston Villa have all got the plaudits this season for their start, we have come in under the radar a little and that is how we like it, we quietly get on with things whilst the media rant and rave.

So another test for us this afternoon and one that we are well capable of passing, but I say this with caution as we are still not the complete article yet.

Photo: Action Images

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davidargyll added 09:14 - Nov 1
Am I alone in thinking that Villa are the most overrated team in the PL? They have had the rub of the green in spades since the start of the season but I suspect that they cannot believe their luck. I honestly think that today they are there for the taking. Yes they played well above themselves vs Liverpool but let’s be honest, every chance they took came off and vice versa. I just do not think they are this season’s Leicester and have suddenly gone from being plain bad to possible CL contenders. And they got well and truly smacked at home, last time out by Leeds who were made to look a helluva lot better than the newly promoted club that they are.
Clearly by 1.30 we will know and if I am eating my words do be it. But if we have a decent amount of luck and we play as we have been doing then I would be amazed if we don’t get at least a point.

WestSussexSaint added 09:18 - Nov 1
If we play as we did against Everton then I only see one winner. Villa will have had their confidence dented by the Leeds result which was achieved by a high press and quick counter attacks I.e the same tactics we employ so well.

Unless there are any last minute injuries I agree the same 11 will start this game but it is good to see the bench getting stronger than when we started the season.

ElSanto added 10:13 - Nov 1
I just got my small business grant off the government for coronavirus and I've put it all on Southampton to win and danny ings to score anytime. In for 3 grand. Pray for me, folks.

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