Battle near the bottom – Aston Villa host a resurgent Southampton

On paper to a neutral fan this clash probably doesn’t weigh up as a tantalising encounter. Especially on a weekend that you have Manchester City vs Leicester City and Tottenham vs Chelsea happening. However, for the fans of either clubs, like myself, it provides an intriguing clash.

Aston Villa sit in 17th place, one place above the relegation zone but also one place above their opponents in Southampton. The Saints will head into the game knowing that if they win they will leapfrog over their opponents. But, if they lose they will head into the Christmas period stuck in the drop zone.

Aston Villa in the Premier League has incurred a rotten run of form of late. Since their home win against Newcastle, they’ve lost to Chelsea, Leicester City and Sheffield United. As well as picking up a point away to Manchester United. They did beat a youthful Liverpool team in the League Cup midweek, putting five past The Reds in a comprehensive win.

Wesley will be hoping that his goal in that game will be enough to keep him in the starting side but also kickstart his draught. The Brazilian having scored 0 goals in 9 appearances since his surprise call-up to his national squad.

Jonathan Kodjia worked wonders for his contention to the team to face the Saints, scoring two first-half goals against Liverpool.

Southampton didn’t play midweek, so they will be well-rested comparatively to their hosts. Southampton have lost their past two encounters of late against Newcastle United and West Ham United.

The Saints have only won two away games whilst drawing another two this season. Aston Villa, on the other hand, have won three games this year at home, drawing two matches themselves.

Danny Ings for Southampton has been in club saving form this campaign. Many Villa fans would be jealous of their opponents, for having an inform striker. He had scored five games in a row before being kept quiet in their last match out to West Ham United. Ings’ upturn of form matches Southampton’s equal improvement. Kortney Hause & Bjorn Engels will have their work cut out for them to prevent Danny Ings influence.

Personally, James Ward-Prowse is the danger man for Southampton. Any opportunity he has from 30 yards out – you would back him to score. He is a dead ball specialist, so Villa will be wary of letting him get that opportunity. I additionally could see Dean Smith bring in his own dead ball master in Conor Hourihane for this game. Having scored multiple free-kicks this season already, including midweek against Liverpool.

Prediction: Aston Villa 2 – 1 Southampton

Wesley to get back to scoring ways, Danny Ings to continue his hot form too with a consolation goal late on.

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