|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
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
You need to login in order to post your comments
Blogs 31 bloggers
Letters from Wiltshire #18 by wessex_exile
Trump has finally conceded defeat, albeit in a childlike, begrudging and typically ungracious manner, but at least things are moving on now, and hopefully the beginning of a new, less adversarial era in world affairs. There was an interesting article on one of the news websites this morning looking at how the transition for other administrations have gone – none as poorly (so far) as this, but still some amusing anecdotes nevertheless. Apparently, ahead of George W Bush taking up residence, the departing Clinton team went around the White House removing all the W’s from keyboards – very childish, but quite funny too…
Letters from Wiltshire #17 by wessex_exile
So I never actually imagined more than two weeks after the event that Trump and his attack-dog “Hot Mess” Giuliani would still be refusing to acknowledge that Biden has won the US Presidential election, but there you have it. Closer to home, we are just past halfway through our circuit-breaker 4-week lockdown, and most of the graphs suggest things are slowly improving, but nowhere near a rate that would see figures return to the pre-October levels. Much closer to home, Alfie has been in self-isolation for the last 14 days because one of his teachers tested positive – delighted to say we have both passed through that period without developing symptoms…and without killing each other either 😊
Letters from Wiltshire #16 by wessex_exile
Good morning everyone. Outside the football bubble, and across the pond, we have the soon to be ex-President of the United States walled up in his White House bunker, inexorably going through the Kübler-Ross 5 stages of grief…and in a particularly undignified and un-statesman like manner. Clearly we’ve had Denial by the bucket-load, Anger as he lashes out firing those he perceives as disloyal, Bargaining as his legal team try and force recounts of perfectly valid election results, and no doubt a huge amount of Depression as he sulked in silence for the best part of a week. Now perhaps, as he nearly slips up when eventually breaking radio silence to address the press, we see the beginnings of Acceptance. If I’m honest, I’d be quite happy for Trump to keep this up and make the transition as embarrassing as possible for himself and his supporters – and if the police could eventually drag him out of the White House in hand-cuffs, all the better.
Letters from Wiltshire #15 by wessex_exile
Well, there’s a turn up for the books, the mighty U’s unceremoniously dumped out of the FA Cup by lowly Marine AFC, four tiers below us in the league pyramid. These things happen, and we’ve done it to others on more than a few occasions, but the manner of the result on Saturday is what rankles the most. Virtually our strongest line-up available, but the complete lack of any urgency right from the outset was dreadful to see. Even as we reached squeaky bum time into the 2nd half, having drawn level, still we ponderously passed aimless triangles in midfield for far too long. Someone has to pay for that debacle, so let’s hope it’s the auld enemy Southend tonight in the Pointless Trophy…
Letters from Wiltshire #14 by wessex_exile
Welcome to Lockdown #2, and as I write this blog, an as yet uncertain future with the orange loon threatening to refuse to hand over the keys to the White House and calling on all his white supremacist mates to rise up in arms. Moving on swiftly from chump to champ, Chairman Robbie has again addressed the U’s faithful, with another clear, concise statement on the current situation and how it may or may not affect Colchester United. I know in the past he hasn’t been everyone’s cup of tea, but I do think an awful lot of people are warming to him because of the leadership he has shown through this crisis, and long may it last!
[ Vote here ]