Southampton vs Aston Villa Prediction
Saturday 21st January 2023
St Mary’s Stadium
As part of our weekend Premier League predictions, we preview Southampton’s home game against Aston Villa. Can Southampton build on their victory against Everton, or will Villa win a third consecutive away game. Find out with Beat the Bookmaker’s Southampton vs Aston Villa prediction.
Southampton vs Aston Villa Prediction Match Overview
Southampton will undoubtedly be buoyed by a hugely valuable 2-1 away victory at fellow strugglers Everton in what can already be seen as a relegation six-pointer. Although that victory wasn’t quite enough to take them off the foot of the table, the Saints are now level on points with both Everton and West Ham and just one behind 17th-placed Bournemouth. With just two points separating Southampton from 14th-placed Leicester, every week will surely feel like a draining relegation scrap for the foreseeable future. It can be argued that Southampton find themselves in the position they’re in because of some uncharacteristically weak home form. Southampton have taken just 6 points from 9 matches at St Mary’s this season, and have failed to win at home in the league since a 2-1 victory over Chelsea in August. That said, while that applies to league matches, Southampton have won three EFL Cup games at home this season, over League 1 outfits Sheffield Wednesday and Lincoln followed by a hugely impressive 2-0 victory over a misfiring Manchester City who failed to hit the target.
Since the resumption of domestic football following the World Cup break, Aston Villa have been showing signs of becoming a more consistent side under Unai Emery. Though a 3-1 home defeat to Liverpool, their sole defeat since the restart, seems like a poor showing on paper, in fact, Aston Villa were the better side for large periods of the second half and probably should’ve equalised. Subsequently, Villa have taken 7 points from 9, including an impressive 2-0 away victory over Tottenham. This means that under Unai Emery’s leadership and new tactical approach, Aston Villa have taken 13 points from a possible 21 over their last seven games – a notion that would have been dismissed as unthinkable earlier on this season. Depending on the result of the Liverpool vs Chelsea match in the early afternoon kick-off, Villa may have the chance to go level with one of them on points if they can acquire a victory here.
Southampton vs Aston Villa Team News
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: McCarthy
Will Not Play: Bella-Kotchap, Larios, Livramento, Walcott
Might Not Play: Augustinsson, Cash, Digne, Watkins
Will Not Play: Diego Carlos, McGinn, Steer
Southampton: Bazunu; Walker-Peters, Salisu, Caleta-Car, Lyanco, Elyounoussi; Lavia, Diallo, Ward-Prowse; Edozie, Adams
Aston Villa: Martinez; Moreno, Mings, Konsa, Young; Luiz, Kamara; Ramsey, Buendia, Bailey; Watkins
Southampton vs Aston Villa Prediction Analysis
Southampton’s Tactical Versatility
New manager Nathan Jones is certainly not afraid to implement different tactical approaches to get the most from his squad. Though it was always likely that the Saints would change to a back five under the former Luton coach, it’s in his use of two defensive midfielders and Ward-Prowse in a more advanced role supporting the likes of Adams and Edozie that has started to pay dividends. With Southampton short on goals and conceding almost two per game at the other end this season, it seems like a logical approach to utilise Ward-Prowse’s passing and vision and eye for goal further up the pitch as opposed to the deep-lying playmaker role he inhabited under previous manager Ralph Hassenhuttl. Although it could be construed as writing to suit the narrative, Ward-Prowse netted twice against Everton and Southampton’s victory over Manchester City certainly wasn’t a fluke as they reduced their illustrious visitors to zero shots on target. Jones will feel that he has a good handle on his squad now with a few plans available should they struggle as Villa are certainly a class above Everton right now.
Aston Villa’s Ability in Transition
What will perhaps test Southampton the most is Aston Villa’s ability to win the ball back in midfield and launch sweeping attacking moves from all angles. They possess pace and invention in their forward unit, with Bailey and Watkins’ direct running and finishing threat supplemented by their creative fulcrum in Buendia. Ward-Prowse’s role for Southampton here will be crucial – he’ll have to balance providing an attacking threat with supplementing Southampton’s defensive efforts. Villa will look to press and harry a nervy Southampton backline repeatedly as although Southampton have improved a lot lately the fact that they are generally playing a back three with two defensively-minded midfielders ahead of them suggests that they prefer to defend in numbers and be more judicious about when they elect to play the ball out from the back.
This also partially explains Southampton’s use of wingbacks and placing their most creative midfielder high up the pitch. Another facet of Villa’s strength here is just how quickly and effectively they can regroup into what is essentially a 6-2-2 setup at times with both Luiz and Kamara supplementing the back line with almost everybody tracking back. They’re able to operate like this because of the pace and invention of their attacking quartet and they can essentially operate as a coiled spring.
Beat the Bookmaker Southampton vs Aston Villa Prediction
Southampton have improved of late, and with home advantage, they’ll be looking to end a poor run of home form. However, Aston Villa are starting to look like a team with a real purpose, and despite a slightly below par against a Leeds side who are a little bit of a stylistic problem for them, Southampton should present a slightly easier challenge. Southampton might fall into the trap of playing a more patient, possession-based game as the home side and that will play into Villa’s hands. Ward Prowse is undoubtedly in excellent form and shining in a new role but he will find space harder to come by in this one. Villa have been excellent at regrouping as a unit so we think Aston Villa will win a closely contested match.
Southampton 1-2 Aston Villa
Beat the Bookmaker Southampton vs Aston Villa Prediction – Aston Villa Odds:
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