Southampton vs Aston Villa 2015
How many times have we seen Villa fail to perform in a game pinpointed as ‘must-win’? The loss against Watford was yet another sign that Villa could be heading towards the Football League. Ordinarily Southampton would be yet another dreaded encounter given our recent past at St Mary’s, but after their mid-week thrashing, who knows?
all five of the saints’ league wins have come against clubs currently in the bottom seven of the league table
Koeman on Saints Weakness
“In the last few weeks – one of our qualities, we know we can play good football, the start was fantastic, we can create, we can score – but the balance at the moment between attacking and defending is poor, is really poor.
“That’s my responsibility. Maybe we have to change the system, maybe we have to play more defensively, more back, waiting. I don’t like that, because I’m a manager who likes to go forward, but we will will speak about that with the players what’s the best to do to prepare ourselves for this Saturday.
“Maybe it’s better to have and to create a little bit more defensive organisation in the team. Sometimes maybe it’s too open, too offensive, but that’s a question I have to ask myself, and the players.
“We need a good reaction. The pressure is on this Saturday. After the defeat and the high score, it’s different.”
Garde on Watford clash
“Southampton is a good club.
16th May 2015 Southampton 6 – 1 Aston Villa
A thrashing at St Mary’s went a long way in undoing the good work done in the previous matches and unfortunately set the tone for the FA Cup final.
Southampton – Last five matches at home: W 2, D 1, L 2
Villa – Last five matches away: L 5
Villa have lost three out of four trips to St Mary’s since the Saints returned to the Premier League
One to Watch
Sadio Mané – Koeman has said not even £100m would be enough to sign the ex-Salzburg man, who recorded the fastest ever hat-trick (in just under three minutes!) against Villa last season
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
There’s little point reliving how few points we’ve got – we’ve all seen the league table. Look through the stats and there is little cause for optimism, despite the Saints uncharacteristic poor form.
Does a 6-1 loss sound familiar? It should on two counts – Liverpool’s midweek rout was settled by that surprising scoreline, just as Southampton swept Villa away at the end of last season.
The fact is, it’s rare that we perform well against Southampton. In their first season back in the Premier League they were seen as relegation candidates but still managed to beat Lambert’s Villa 4-1. Talk about a sign of things to come…
The Saints added Shane Long to their ranks last season after he spent what seemed like a few days at Hull City, and it’s against Villa the ex-Baggies striker really seems to shine. Considering he’s bagged three goals in his last five league starts for the Saints, chances are he’ll give Villa’s backline something to worry about yet again.
The Saints have suffered a few home losses this season but all five of their league wins have come against clubs currently in the bottom seven of the league table.
As usual, the signs point to a win for Koeman’s men – they’ve already beaten us twice at St Mary’s in 2015.
“We need a good reaction. The pressure is on this Saturday” – Koeman on villa clash
What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide
Despite showing a pleasing defensive solidity against Man City in what seems like an age ago, Villa were back to their old nervous self at home to Watford last weekend.
Every passage of attacking play that Watford enjoyed seemed to result in a golden opportunity for the Hornets, and yet again Villa repeatedly shot themselves in the foot.
Unfortunately for Garde, the Saints will be keen to make amends for their cup exit, and given how high-scoring games have been in recent years in this fixture, Villa should be worried. Even when we won at St Mary’s in the 13/14 season we conceded twice…
The sight of a grimacing Hutton after his own goal last weekend was enough to suggest that Villa’s misfortune knows no bounds – would a slice of good luck be too much to ask for?!
The last four league clashes between these two sides at St. Mary’s have averaged 5.5 goals a game. Hopefully on Saturday we see a bit more of the Villa we saw in Garde’s debut game.
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
While Villa fans look enviously at the Saints consistent success in the Premier League, Southampton find themselves in that strange part of the table.
Despite their high standards they seem to be locked in an endless battle to keep their best players. The performance of Caulker in mid-week certainly highlighted the weaknesses of the Saints who, as Koeman mentioned, can sometimes be a little too attacking for their own good.
On the back of their worst defeat at home in 56 years (which sounds like a stat only Villa could achieve), their could be a few nerves against a team with nothing to lose.
Jordan Ayew’s signing was questioned initially, but having scored three of Villa’s last four league goals, it seems the ex-Lorient man is up for the increasingly futile fight against relegation.
We know no other team has survived having been in our points position, but there’s still a bit of time left to do something about it – just about.
It seems difficult to envision it getting any worse for Villa, but hopefully we see a bit of fight against a potentially wounded Southampton side.
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