The form book would suggest that the installation of the founding lamp won’t do much to brighten up the Villans’ season tomorrow night as they host the Saints, unless it comes complete with a genie…
The Saints have won eleven of their last twelve matches in all competitions while the Lions’ point from the game against West Ham is, embarrassingly, the only one they have to show from their last seven outings. The Saints marched through to the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup and organisation has been key to their rise to second place in the Premier League.
In the last five games, the Saints have scored fifteen times while their hosts have scored a solitary goal in that same time period.
Injuries will ply their part tomorrow night, as is too often the case at Villa Park, with several experienced Villans set to miss the match.
Paul Lambert has claimed that he wants to see “progress” tomorrow night – and he undoubtedly will; whether that will be his own team’s progress remains to be seen.
Aston Villa: L L L L D
Southampton: L W W W W
The international break added to Lambert’s woes: Philippe Senderos’ calf injury, sustained in training for Switzerland, has ruled him out until next month while Ron Vlaar has suffered a new calf problem that has left him unfit for action.
Nathan Baker’s knee injury will keep him on the sidelines, along with Fabian Delph (shoulder), until January and it is still not known when Libor Kozak will be able to make a return after his prolonged absence.
Christian Benteke is still suspended.
Jores Okore is in contention to start alongside Ciaran Clark and Chris Herd, having returned to Aston Villa following his loan spell with Bolton Wanderers, could also feature in the squad.
Hutton Okore Clark Cissokho
Westwood Sanchez Cleverley
The high-flying Saints will be confident of adding to their impressive points tally tomorrow night as they aim to build on their best-ever start to a Premier League season and bridge the gap between themselves and Mourinho’s men.
The fact that the Saints can boast the meanest defence in the Premier League, having conceded only five goals all season, is impressive, although the Villa boys have struggled to score against much more porous ones.
Jay Rodriguez and James Ward-Prowse reamin long-term absentees.
Koeman is likely to be without Steven Davis and Morgan Schneiderlin due to injury.
Dušan Tadić is doubtful, having picked up a knock while on international duty with Serbia.
Referee: Phil Dowd
Venue: Villa Park
Tickets: There are plenty of tickets available to Villa supporters, priced from £25
Last meeting: April 2014: Aston Villa 0 – Southampton 0
1-0 – Mark Lawrenson
1-2 – Paul Merson
1-0 – AnneMc