Southampton vs Aston Villa Preview
Pochettino on Villa:
“It will be a very physical game. Villa are a very physical side who are very strong. They are very strong on the counter-attack, especially when they are playing away. So overall, we’re expecting a really tough game tomorrow because of all these factors.
“We have lost on two very difficult grounds at Arsenal and Chelsea, so now we will try to impose our values and get the win over Aston Villa.”
Lambert on the Saints
“They’re a good side but I’ve always thought that, from when Alan Pardew had them in League One, then Nigel Adkins and now Mauricio Pochettino.
“The thing is sustaining it.
“I still expect the usual sides will be up there at the end of the season. Southampton have started the season really well.
“They brought in some big players and we have to go down there, get a foothold in it and take the game to them, which we’ll try to do.”
Lambert on optimism:
“People can have a negative perspective of it but our points tally is a lot better than it was at this point last year. We’re sitting 11th at the moment and there are some big clubs down below us. It’s about how you look at it. Everything about us is better than it was a last year. We’re five points off Tottenham, who are expected to have a good go at winning the league.”
Form is Temporary
22nd September 2012 Southampton 4 – 1 Aston Villa
It was a difficult result to take at the time, especially after we’d taken the lead. A match that proved the season ahead would be tough.
Southampton: Last five matches at home: W 4 D 1
Aston Villa: Last five matches away: W 1 D 3 L 1
In the last five Premier League meetings at St Mary’s Stadium, Villa have won twice, drawn twice and lost once.
One to Watch
Jay Rodriguez – The new England international scored within 13 seconds of kick-off against Chelsea!
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
While we haven’t been fantastic at home, much has been made about our away form. It’s surprising, then, to see that we’ve only won one of our last five away fixtures, and that was back in September. Southampton on the other hand are unbeaten at home and have won their last four games there. It gets worse – they’ve only conceded once in their last five home matches.
What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide
A point is always decent away, but drawing to Sunderland at home was disappointing. Is it perhaps time for a small shake-up in the squad? Paul Lambert has said that every player will feature in the congested fixture list that is upon us. Maybe the introduction of players such as Helenius and the return of Lowton, for example, would change things around and give us an edge. Hopefully we will see a squad that approaches the game differently to the Sunderland game plan, one that won’t settle for a point.
Why Villa have got this game in the bag
While Southampton away represents a difficult task it might suit Villa. Southampton aren’t shy of venturing forward, so it’s possible there will be ample opportunities for counter-attacking, by far Villa’s strong suit.
Southampton’s home form is impressive, but they are yet to play any of the teams at the top of the table (Hull, 10th in the current table, have been the highest placed team they’ve played at home). When they have played such teams away, they’ve fallen short, and in terms of an opposition’s away form, Villa will be their toughest test yet.
With the injury to both first-choice goal keeper Artur Boruc and back-up Kelvin Davis, the Saints are down to their third-choice keeper, 21-year-old, Paulo Gazzaniga, who they signed from Gillingham.
Getting a maximum amount of points from Southampton and Fulham (on Sunday) would set us up nicely for Christmas. At the very least, there’s good potential to build on Villa’s four-game unbeaten run. UTV.
Follow Lewis on Twitter – @rymondfootball