Southampton are one of two teams who I felt they deserved their win over Aston Villa this season. Others have said that we gave away silly set pieces that ultimately results in our 3-4 defeat at Villa Park. Football is all about opinions and I have to say I disagree with this opinion.

Similar to the defeat against Leeds, we struggled against the high press. The scoreline probably doesn’t quite suggest that and yes we were much better in the last third of the game but we were 0-4 down at the hour mark for a reason.

Under Dean Smith, we have improved no end to the extent where defeats against the two Manchester clubs recently were seen as disappointments. However we are still a working project and as long as continue to improve and learn from previous failures, we will continue to progress. That starts this evening, we must learn to cope and deal with the high press that Southampton will once again throw at us.

The Saints have lost their last two in the Premier League with their last win coming against the Champions Liverpool on January 4th. We would be foolish to think anything other than this will be a challenge and a hard one. Just like Smith, Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl has turned Southampton into a very good side that is constantly improving.

Villa’s away record is identical to Southampton’s home record. Both have 16 points from a possible 30 (W5, D1, L4).

TEAM NEWS

New signing Morgan Sanson is expected to be involved in some capacity. I would be surprised if he started as Smith has stated that all his players came through the defeat against Burnley with no problems.

Morgan Sanson could feature against Southampton

The midfielder signed on Wednesday while the first team were at Burnley but he trained with the lads for the first time yesterday.

Southampton are able to welcome back a few casualties for the visit of Villa. Oriol Romeu and Moussa Djenepo have both returned to training and will be available for selection. Ryan Bertrand will also return from a one-match suspension.

They will be without Kyle Walker-Peters, Jannik Vestergaard, Mohammed Salisu and Nathan Tella, who all remain sidelined.

THE OFFICIALS

Referee: Lee Mason.

Assistants: Mark Scholes, Simon Long. Fourth official: Tim Robinson. VAR: Mike Dean. Assistant VAR: Andy Halliday.

DID YOU KNOW

Aston Villa and Southampton are two of just five (Arsenal, Leicester and West Ham), Premier League teams who are yet to commit an error directly leading to an opposition goal.

Jack Grealish has been involved in fourteen goals in 18 Premier League matches this season (6 goals, 8 assists). This is the same amount he recorded during thirty-six appearances last season.

Aston Villa have failed to beat Southampton in their last eight Premier League matches against Southampton (D3, L5). Their last victory came in a 3-2 victory back in 2013.

HOW TO FOLLOW

I CANNOT WATCH LIVE

Join fellow Villa supporters by discussing tonight’s game on our forum in our live match chat.

ON TV

Southampton v Aston Villa will be shown live in the UK on Sky Sports Main Event.

PREDICTION

Our away form has been impressive this season but so has Southampton’s home form as I already touched upon. I have to big worries for this fixture. One I have already mentioned (Southampton’s high press) and a potential hangover from the Burnley defeat.

Today will be a very difficult game but I am hoping we can return to winning ways.

Southampton 1-2 Aston Villa

Make your own predictions in the Avillafan.com Prediction league here.

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