Friday, 21 September 2012

Southampton v Aston Villa - Preview

Southampton will be relishing the opportunity to win their first points of the season when they host Aston Villa on Saturday. The Saints have lost all of their four Premier League matches so far including the 6-1 hammering at Arsenal last weekend. Meanwhile, Aston Villa have started to gather some form under Paul Lambert after their 2-0 victory over Swansea on Saturday and currently sit in 13th on four points. 

It has been a tough start for Southampton with facing three of the top four clubs in their first four games but their season starts tomorrow of what is already, a must-win game for the Saints. Even though it's only September, losing another match will increase the anxiety among the St. Mary's faithful. Some fans have even called for manager Nigel Adkins to leave which is ludicrous after the success he has enjoyed since arriving at the club just over two years ago. With tomorrow's game in mind, Adkins ensures that confidence is still high within his squad. "It's been good as we've had an excellent week on the training ground. We said that we needed a good week's work, so we've had that with good application from the players with a focus on what we want to do and the way we want to play." 

Southampton's new signings Maya Yoshida and Gastón Ramírez could make their home debuts tomorrow after both of them made substitute appearances at the Emirates Stadium last weekend. Yoshida replaced Jos Hooiveld who limped off with a calf injury in the first half but is fighting to prove his fitness. On the other hand, record signing Ramírez impressed with his attacking talent and skill who will be sure to light up crowds across the Premier League in the coming months. 

NEW BOYS: Gastón Ramírez and Maya Yoshida
As far as Aston Villa are concerned, they will look to continue their good form after their first win of the season against Swansea. Manager Paul Lambert insists that his only focus is the game at St. Mary's tomorrow by saying: "It's important to kick on again. We need to forget about the Swansea win and go again." Lambert has also said that deadline-day signing, Christian Benteke is in contention for his first start after scoring the second goal on his debut last Saturday. 

The only concern for Villa is their away form. They haven't won on their travels in their last 10 away games stretching back to last season, where they've only scored four goals during the run. It is something that the Villans will be looking to amend tomorrow where Paul Lambert will meet his opposite number Nigel Adkins, who also won back-to-back promotions in recent years. Brad Guzan will be looking to keep his place in between the sticks ahead of Shay Given after his clean sheet last weekend in a new-look Villa side. 

Aston Villa fans will be hoping for a major improvement on last season's 16th place finish which led to former boss Alex McLeish getting the sack. With additions such as Ron Vlaar, Karim El Ahmadi and Matt Lowton, Villa fans have much to hope for especially with a talented manager at the helm in Paul Lambert. Despite this will be his second season managing in the Premier League, he always get the best out of his players which is a tactic we all saw at Norwich mixing youth and experience. As long as Villa can get a few wins under their belt, they could be an outside bet to finish near the top ten.  

Last Time Out

Tomorrow's fixture will be played for the first time since 2005 where Villa came out on top of a five-goal thriller. Southampton led 2-0 at the break thanks to goals from Kevin Phillips and Peter Crouch in the first 15 minutes. However, a second-half comeback from the visitors stole the points where one of Southampton's summer signings, Steven Davis, scored the winner to break Southampton's hearts.

16th April 2005 

Southampton 2 - 3 Aston Villa

Phillips (4)                              Cole (55)
Crouch (15)                            Solano (70)
                                               Davis (72)

Attendance: 31,962.

 Southampton Probable Line-Up


Aston Villa Probable Line-Up

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