Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has said that his side “must” turn St Mary’s into a fortress as they haven’t won at home since New Years Day against Tottenham, whilst visitors Aston Villa haven’t won away from home since their 2-1 win over Burnley on the same day.
The Saints are looking to bounce back from their 2-1 defeat last weekend at home to Burnley. Having played well in recent weeks and not getting the results their performances have merited, they come into the game favourites against a struggling Villa side, who are fighting bravely against the drop.
Aston Villa fell to a 3-2 defeat against Tottenham last Sunday and find themselves one point above the relegation zone. Villa are looking at a very tough run in as they fight to stay in the Premier League and will need to pick up points on the road if they are to stay up, they would’ve looked at this fixture to do just that. They also have a break from Premier League action next week, as they have their League Cup final against Manchester City, so they will be hopeful of going into that game full of confidence.
Can anyone stop Danny from scor-ings?
Danny Ings has been the talisman for Southampton this season with the striker becoming the fifth Southampton player in their history to score 15+ league goals in a single season, with his goal against Burnley last weekend. Ings managed to bag a brace the last time these two teams met back in December, when the Saints ran out comfortable 3-1 winners, however manager Ralph Hasenhuttl expects a much different Aston Villa side this time out as he suggests that Villa have “changed their shape and now play differently”.
Southampton are without Nathan Redmond, Sofiane Boufal and Kyle Walker-Peters. Redmond is likely to be out for more than a month with a muscle injury. Winger Boufal is came off with a heel injury in last weekends defeat to Burnley and hasn’t trained this week. As with last weeks debutant Kyle Walker-Peters, he is also on the treatment table, but Yann Valery could return into the side as Hasenhuttl said he has been training well this week.
All hopes on Grealish
Villa captain Jack Grealish has been the standout player for them this season and like Danny Ings, has put himself in contention for the England Euros squad in the summer. The midfielder made life difficult for Tottenham last weekend, looking threatening every time he drove forward, it will be interesting how Southampton go about stopping him as it has proven a very difficult task to do all season. Villa new boy Mbwana Samatta has made an impressive start to his Villa career, scoring his first goal for the club on the south coast Vs Bournemouth, he looks very well suited to how Villa play.
Villa received a big boost in the week as Tyrone Mings came back to training after he missed the Tottenham game due to Tonsillitis. John McGinn has also started light training, but he won’t be available for the game this weekend.
Dean Smith spoke about Hasenhuttl’s press conference comments on Southampton’s home form saying “Their head coach has said that it’s tough to play at home, because there is pressure on them. We have to concentrate on ourselves and put that pressure onto Southampton and their supporters".
It is likely to be an open game between the teams, as both sides will be desperate for the 3 points, as for Southampton it is an opportunity to pick up their home form. However, for Villa they have an opportunity to stretch the gap between them and West Ham, who face Liverpool at Anfield on Monday night.