Southampton return to St Mary's for Premier League action on Saturday, as Aston Villa visit the south coast. Get set for this weekend's clash with our Match Pack, in association with eToro...
Saints vs Aston Villa
St Mary’s Stadium
Saturday 21st January, 3pm GMT
Referee: Michael Salisbury
Assistants: Dan Cook, Dan Robathan
Fourth official: Keith Stroud
VAR: Simon Hooper
Assistant VAR: Richard West
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
After a morale-boosting last seven days, Saints will be looking to continue building momentum in the Premier League.
After a Carabao Cup semi-final spot was secured with a stunning victory over Manchester City, Nathan Jones claimed a first league win at Everton last weekend.
Although Saints remain bottom of the table, victory at Goodison Park and results elsewhere mean that just two points separate the bottom seven sides going into matchweek 20.
Saturday’s meeting at St Mary’s will see two confident sides go head-to-head, with Villa unbeaten in three under new boss Unai Emery.
The Villans have just two wins on the road so far this season, but were successful on their last away trip, claiming a 2-0 win at Tottenham at the start of the month.
Southampton have no fresh injury concerns following a busy week last week, but will likely remain with Stuart Armstrong, Armel Bella-Kotchap, Tino Livramento and Juan Larios.
For Villa, on loan Saints defender Jan Bednarek is ineligible for the clash against his parent club, while former striker Danny Ings completed a move to West Ham on Friday.
Otherwise, Matty Cash and Ollie Watkins are expected to be fit, with Ludwig Augustinsson, Diego Carlos and John McGinn still sidelined.
Nathan Jones: "I think that's the first psychological barrier really, to get above the line, and that's what we want to do. We'd like to have done it by now, but as I said, it gives us an opportunity this weekend against a very, very tough side. But that's probably our motivation now."
Unai Emery: "I have a lot of respect for them, they won against Manchester City and Everton and they have confidence.
"Every match is very difficult, we won a very competitive and tough match against Leeds [last Friday]. I want to win, we will have to play a very good match, both offensively and defensively."
ONES TO WATCH
James Ward-Prowse: With three wins on the bounce in all competitions, the captain has been integral to Saints' recent upturn in form. Notching three goals in his last three games (and four in his last four Premier League outings), the midfielder has excelled in a more advanced position.
Now just two shy of David Beckham's direct free-kick record, Ward-Prowse remains deadly from set-pieces.
Boubacar Kamara: The summer signing is finding the form that lured Villa to acquire his services from Marseille. Missing two months of the season due to injury, the France international is back at full fitness and impressing in the middle of the park.
With a strong passing range and ability to cutout danger, Saints will need to ensure they come out on top in the midfield battle.
Ché Adams 8
James Ward-Prowse 7
Perraud, A Armstrong, Aribo 2
Adams, Ward-Prowse, Perraud, Elyounoussi 2
Eight players 1
Leon Bailey 5
Ollie Watkins 4
Luiz, Buendía 3
Ollie Watkins 4
Luiz, Ramsey 3
Leon Bailey 2
September 2022: Aston Villa 1-0 Saints
March 2022: Aston Villa 4-0 Saints
November 2021: Saints 1-0 Aston Villa (A Armstrong)
January 2021: Saints 0-1 Aston Villa
November 2020: Aston Villa 3-4 Saints (Ward-Prowse 2, Ings, Vestergaard)
- James Ward-Prowse has scored four goals in his last four Premier League games, including both strikes in Saints' 2-1 win against Everton last time out. He's been involved in five Premier League goals against Aston Villa (two goals, three assists), only having a hand in more against Tottenham (8) and Crystal Palace (6).
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