Aston Villa vs Southampton 2016
With takeover talk, board members leaving and Agbonlahor gossip columns, you’d be forgiven for forgetting there’s still a few Premier League matches to endure.
There is little to suggest Lescott’s latest comments regarding a weight off shoulders will be the case at Villa Park, but with just a few weeks of the Premier League left for Villa for a while, we might as well give the game some attention.
Still, Southampton are one of those teams who in many ways help highlight the mismanagement of Lerner’s tenure. An established top 10 side who not long ago were scrapping in the football league, they will be a difficult task for Black’s anarchic losers.
Eric Black on relegation
“We have four games left. We get ready, the boys have worked hard. I’m ready to put a team out to be competitive.
“We’re all professional. All I can do is prepare them in the best manner.
“People losing their jobs/livelihoods is horrible. These are the harsh realities of it. I feel very sorry for the people in those positions.
“I’ve only been here two months and I’m devastated. We have to dust ourselves down and try and get this club back where it should be.
“The only things within my control are the preparation, tactics etc. That’s all I can do and all I’ve focused on.
“The supporters have been through their hardest season in recent history. The numbers that have turned up have been astonishing.
“It’s not been a fantastic week under the circumstances after the relegation. We are looking for brighter days ahead.
“It’s a horrible feeling. Relegation is official now and we have to start going the other way – the sooner the better.
“We had a couple of knocks yesterday. Kieran Richardson and Ciaran Clark. We’ll assess them tomorrow morning to see if they’re okay.”
Koeman on Villa
the saints have lost just one of their previous eight league and cup games against Villa
24 November 2014 Villa 1 Southampton 1
A goalkeeping error gifted Agbonlahor a goal before Clyne struck back with a late leveller.
Villa – Last five matches at home: L 5
Southampton – Last five matches away: W 2, D 1, L 2
One to Watch
Shane Long – The ex-Baggies striker has scored five goals in his last six league appearances against Aston Villa.
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
When Villa were flirting with the Champions League, Southampton were lifting the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, and now they’re approaching Saturday’s game with a chance of achieving European qualification – albeit a slim one.
Still, the Saints are a very good side, and having lost just one of their previous eight league and cup games against Villa, the omens aren’t good.
We’ve suffered a whopping nine straight league defeats (the second worst run in our history) – how’s that for “romantic nourishment”, Randy?
During this time we’ve conceded 25 goals, with only three goals in reply.
Remarkably, Villa have spent just 184 minutes in the lead in league matches this season, and it’s no surprise that’s the lowest tally in the division.
Unlike Villa, who seem to be releasing a statement a day documenting the latest club catastrophe, Southampton are reaping the rewards of smart recruitment and inspired managerial choices. They’ve lost just three of their last 14 Premier League games.
With Mane in great form having scored three goals in his last four league games, Southampton’s players could have a field day against Black’s downtrodden squad.
“It’s a horrible feeling. Relegation is official now and we have to start going the other way – the sooner the better” – Eric black
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag (for the optimistic)
Okore, who like a few other Villa players seems to think there is a place in a Champions League team for him somewhere, reportedly refused to be on the bench for the last Villa Park match.
Fair enough, there can be few worse indications than being deemed not good enough for a Villa starting XI, but what Okore has to remember is that there are players at Villa for whom a place on the bench would be the world. 20-year-old Josh Webb could fill the gap left by the Danish defender.
Like many Villa fans, we’re always crying out for some of Villa’s academy products in the match day squad in this article. Look at Rashford, who scored against us last week. Surely we have nothing to lose by mixing it up a bit?
It might make you feel better if you hear some of Southampton’s weaknesses. They’ve failed to keep a clean sheet in their last eight league games, and while Villa’s front line are unlikely to bother them too much, complacency can always creep in.
Mind you, talking of low scoring stats, Southampton have only managed 14 league away goals this season – only Norwich, West Brom, Newcastle and Villa are worse than that.
If nothing else, a win would give us something other than daft rumours to talk about. Did you hear? Apparently West Brom want Benteke…
With season ticket prices just announced, it would be nice to see something to give Villa fans some reason for optimism for next season.
A win’s a win no matter what the circumstances are, so please Villa, please try.