Aston Villa vs Southampton: Premier League
Preview, Gameweek 7, 2022
Leon Bailey celebrates his opener against Manchester City with Villa fans  (Photo by GEOFF CADDICK/AFP via Getty Images)

Friday night's game at Villa Park sees Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa host Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton.

Before Thomas Tuchel’s exit from the Chelsea hot seat, Gerrard was a lot of bookmakers’ favourite to be the first Premier League manager to face the sack, but the 1-1 home draw with champions Manchester City just under two weeks ago seems to have eased the pressure on him somewhat.

However, Villa still sit in 17th place with just one league win from six games which, considering the investment in the squad over the summer, is not quite the return anyone at the club was expecting.

The squad is certainly not lacking in talent on paper but they are not firing on all cylinders.

The Saints have had a solid, if unspectacular, start to the season as they sit in 12th place with seven points.

Three weeks ago, they disposed of Chelsea 2-1 at St. Mary’s but followed that up with an extremely blunt performance as they fell 1-0 to Wolves at Molineux while registering just one shot on target.

A win for Villa would pull them away from the early-season relegation places and see them draw level on points with their visitors while Southampton could see themselves leap into the top half of the table if they leave B6 with three points.

  • Team news

Aston Villa

Gerrard dropped his former Liverpool team-mates Philippe Coutinho and Danny Ings to the bench for the game against Manchester City and it seemed to work so they may well stay there, as Leon Bailey, scorer of the opener in that game, looks to keep his place supporting Ollie Watkins in attack.

Matty Cash is struggling with a hamstring problem, meaning either Ashley Young or Calum Chambers are likely to slot in at right back.

Diego Carlos will be missing for the foreseeable future while loanee Jan Bednarek cannot feature against his parent club.

Southampton

Hasenhuttl has put together a young and talented squad, but he will be missing a couple of key members in the shape of Valentino Livramento and Romeo Lavia.

The latter has been a standout player for the Saints since his move from Manchester City and became the first player born in 2004 to score a Premier League goal after he netted the first goal in the victory against Chelsea.

He has impressed, and according to reports by the Evening Standard, the Blues made an audacious deadline day bid for him despite him barely being at St Mary's for two months. 

His former City team-mate Sam Edozie could make his first start to replace him.

There are also potential first starts for late summer signings Duje Caleta-Car and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, while fit-again Moussa Djenepo could force Adam Armstrong to the bench.

  • Likely lineups

Aston Villa

Martinez, Young, Konsa, Mings, Digne, Douglas Luiz, Kamara, McGinn, Ramsey, Bailey, Watkins.

Southampton

Bazunu, Walker-Peters, Bella-Kotchap, Salisu, Perraud, Ward-Prowse, Diallo, Elyounoussi, Aribo, Djenepo, Adams.

  • Key players

Leon Bailey 

This is the Jamaican international's second season at Villa Park after his first was punctuated with injuries which limited him to just seven starts.

He will be out to prove to everyone why Gerrard broke the bank to bring him in from Bayer Leverkusen and his goal against the champions is an early indicator that he can spark this Villa team to life.

Joe Aribo 

The Nigerian international joined from Rangers this summer after scoring in last season's Europa League final. He was brought to Ibrox by Gerrard so he will know just how dangerous he can be.

Aribo announced himself to the St Mary's faithful by scoring a stunning solo goal in pre-season against Villarreal and followed that up with his first competitive goal in a 2-2 draw with Leeds at Elland Road. The versatile attacker will be out to cause his old boss some problems as he supports Che Adams up front.

  • Match details

Where is the game being played?

The match is taking place at Villa Park, the home of Aston Villa.

What time is kick-off?

The game starts at 8pm on Friday night.

Where can I watch?

Fans in the UK can watch the match on Sky Sports via a subscription.

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