By Lewis Rymond
After the 3-1 defeat to Bradford in the week, Villa fans feel that the club have hit the lowest point of the season so far. Following a mini unbeaten 2013 run, that result hurt. Some cynical fans speak of their difficulty in pinpointing where victories will come from during the rest of the season, whilst also lamenting the lack of transfer window progress at present. Despite this, there are teams lower than Villa in the Premier League table, and Saturday’s opponents are one of them…
Match Difficulty Grade
B Had things been going a little better in the season this would have been seen as an easy game, but now as there is the atmosphere of “negative books” (see Paul Lambert’s comments a few weeks ago) around Villa Park, this is more like a six-pointer. It certainly has the hallmarks of a scrappy game, with both teams hoping to make amends for recent poor results. Interestingly, their recent form is rather similar.
Form is Temporary
Current Premier League form table (last six games) – Villa – 17th / Southampton – 15th
Aston Villa: Last five Premier League matches at home: W 1, D 2, L 2
Southampton: Last five Premier League matches away: W 1, D 2, L 2
As it was the 2004/05 season when Southampton last travelled to Villa Park in the Premier League there’s not much point mentioning those matches. Though Villa won 2-0 in 2004 at home to Southampton, for what it’s worth!
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
What is most surprising about Southampton is that they have only lost two of their last 11 games, whereas Villa have lost more than that in their last FIVE. Villa haven’t won at home since November, and after losing to Wigan at Villa Park this will be a nervous time for the claret and blue faithful. Southampton will be looking to build on their recent away outings, draws at Fulham and Stoke, where they scored three against one of the best defensive lineups in the league. This will be worrying news for a Villa side that have only taken 5 points from their last 6 games at home and have failed to score in 6 of their last 10 matches.
What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide
Aside from simply answering “lots of transfer activity”, we need to see the Villa side that we saw a few weeks ago, when the youthful squad responded well to pressure and expectation from the media and fans. Another important thing needed is confidence. Villa showed their Premier League class at Bradford until they went a goal down against the run of play. By my reckoning, Villa have only lost twice after scoring first, so an early goal from the home side is essential.
Why Villa are Totally 100% Going to Win
Simply because a win is the least they can do, especially after the Bradford game. Three points would reassure the fans and would make that and the Wigan result seem a distant memory. Lambert knows that Villa should be much higher, and one would hope we will see a response to the Bradford match and a performance more in line with the shift put in at Swansea. Villa need to improve on their home record, especially considering they have only won three of their past 23 games at Villa Park. One thing that will give hope to the Villa support is the list of players returning from injuries, with Vlaar, Westwood and Holman ready for selection. We know Villa can manage a solid first-half, and considering that Southampton have let in 13 goals in the 15-minute period leading up to half-time in matches (the most in the league), Lambert’s side have a good chance of taking three points. Even if Southampton do score first, it’s worth noting that only Reading have dropped more points from winning positions than Southampton this season. It will be a close call, but it’s must-win match for Aston Villa, and it’s definitely one Lambert will fancy taking all three points from. UTV.
MOMS has arranged a deal with Paddy Power where if you spend £10 on bets after opening an account, you’ll get a FREE £20 BET – click here to take advantage. It’s better than normal bookie offers where they just match the amount you bet. Good luck in 2013!
MOMS TIPS –
Villa 2-1 with Benteke to score first goal combo at 29/1
Villa good value at 2.40 for the win.
If you’re doing an accumulator; it’s certainly worth putting this game down as a draw.
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Follow Lewis on Twitter on @rymondfootball