High-flying Villa looking to bounce back from first defeat of the season against Southampton
Southampton to win 3-2
You feel that this match will tell you a lot about where Villa are heading into the next phase of the season.
A win will see them regain their momentum for a push for European places in the league, after four consecutive victories came to an end with a defeat to newly promoted Leeds last weekend.
A second defeat on the bounce will mean that their bubble has burst, and their early season form has slipped away from them.
Southampton have impressed recently, particularly in beating top side Everton last weekend with a very confident performance. Earlier in the season would have been a good time for Villa to face the Saints, the latter losing both of their opening matches.
Now they have some momentum of their own and could make life very difficult for Villa with their high energy workrate and their quality in front of goal.
Form Guide (all comps): WLWWL
Reasons to be cheerful:
Sitting in 3rd place after five games is a fantastic achievement
Grealish in particular has been brilliant so far
Reasons to be fearful:
Leeds defeat showed that they couldn’t live with intensity
Will hope that this is just a blip
Aston Villa’s defeat against Leeds last weekend brought them crashing down to Earth after what had been a terrific start to the new Premier League campaign.
They still sit in third place, but Dean Smith’s side were so far off the pace last weekend and he will be hoping that they can right those wrongs for the game against Southampton.
Unfortunately, Southampton are a similar side to Leeds whereby their attitude is to press high up the field and play with lots of intensity. This is something Villa massively struggled with last weekend.
On the flip side, Villa will be determined to show that the previous result was nothing more than a blip and their winning form can continue this time around.
They will need to show consistency in order to keep up the pace near the top.
Star Man – Jack Grealish
Despite losing against Leeds, Villa’s captain was most likely to inspire them having a shot cleared off the line
Form Guide (all comps): LWWDW
Reasons to be cheerful
Were brilliant in their win over leaders Everton last weekend
Aiming to go five games without defeat
Reasons to be fearful
Will be searching for greater consistency
Villa have the potential to cause them problems
Southampton have been much improved over the past month or so, turning things around after losing their first two matches of the season.
They currently sit ahead of Chelsea, Arsenal and both Manchester clubs in the table which speaks volumes of their recent form.
The combination of Danny Ings, Che Adams and Nathan Redmond has worked brilliantly – all three are so hard working and can create in front of goal too, as we saw in their victory over Everton last weekend.
They are now searching for greater consistency. A victory here would be a big step forward and mean five matches unbeaten on the bounce. They would overtake Villa with a win.
Southampton are also scoring goals with more regularity now too, seven in their last three games.
They will fancy their chances against Villa.
Star Man – Danny Ings
Great against Chelsea, even better against Everton. He has four goals and two assists so far.
A high-scoring match with plenty of chances
Danny Ings is likely to score or assist
Aston Villa will be desperate to bounce back from defeat
This game has goals written all over it.
Neither side has looked especially comfortable defending this season, preferring to direct their strengths in attack.
With Ings, Adams, Grealish, Watkins and others, there are plenty of goalscorers on the pitch and the chances are we’ll see goals at both ends.
Either side could snatch it, but Southampton have been excellent lately and they could just leave with three points this time around.
Southampton to win 3-2