Aston Villa v Southampton: Great Villa three-point giveaway goes on

Brad Guzan last kept a Premier League clean sheet in early November - Remi Garde's first game!
Brad Guzan last kept a Premier League clean sheet in early November - Remi Garde's first game!

A comfortable if not heavy win is in store for Europe-chasing Southampton away to relegated Aston Villa...


"Jordan Ayew’s goal five minutes from time in his side’s 2-1 defeat to Bournemouth was the Villans’ first and only registration across their last six outings."

Back Southampton to win to nil @ 2.47/5

Aston Villa 7.26/1, Southampton 1.594/7; The Draw 4.216/5
Saturday, 15:00


Aston Villa

A strong combination of results and off-field antics suggests Aston Villa are intent on making this season as farcical as possible.

Defeat at Manchester United last weekend, their ninth in succession, confirmed their relegation to the Championship and, in the days that followed, two directors tended their resignation and club captain Gabriel Agbonlahor was suspended over a laughing gas scandal.

The forward won't play against Southampton this weekend and nor will long-term absentee Jordan Amavi, while Libor Kozak is facing a battle to be fit as he struggles to recover from an ankle injury.

From the sake of their self-esteem, missing the match is probably the best case scenario; as part of Villa's aforementioned sour streak, they've lost five on the spin at home, leaking 17 and scoring a paltry two in reply.


Southampton

Southampton - 20.019/1 for a top-six finish - are loitering on the fringes of European qualification, but given that they trail sixth spot incumbents West Ham by five points, they have no margin for error between now and the campaign's end.

With a desperately unfortunate 1-0 defeat at Leicester the only reverse across their last six fixtures, they are certainly taking their quest for a Europa League place seriously (a little more seriously than they took the competition when they were in it at the start of this season, some might argue) and will be exceedingly pleased about this trip to woeful Villa.

The Foxes are one of three teams to beat the Saints on their top-tier travels in 2016, while the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Everton have all failed to come out on top when entertaining Ronald Koeman's troops this term.

In reality though, there are few punters who will need to read the Saints' strong road record in order to decide whether they're worth a bet here.

They'll have to make do without Florin Gardos and Charlie Austin for sure, while Victor Wanyama and Jose Fonte are both rated as doubts.


Match Odds

In addition to the form factors already alluded to, it's important to note the Saints haven't lost on a trip to this claret-and-blue corner of the midlands since being reinstated as a Premier League side.

On three visits, they've conceded just one goal and, having stopped Arsenal, Man United and Swansea from scoring in front of their respective sets of fans already this year, they'll be hugely confident of keeping the hosts at bay once again.

Jordan Ayew's goal five minutes from time in his side's 2-1 defeat to Bournemouth was the Villans' first and only registration across their last six outings while, with 16 bagels from 34 Premier League games, they've failed to find the net in 47% of their matches so far.

An away win to nil is the only way to go at a very generous 2.47/5.


Under 2.5 goals

The Saints win is tough to dispute, but they won't batter beleaguered Villa. Both sides have seen 56% of their matches this season fall short of the three-goal threshold, a rate only West Brom (62%) can claim to beat.

Contributing to this percentage is the 1-1 tie the protagonists played out in the corresponding fixture, which was the third under 2.5-goal league outing in four between them.

Further evidence can be obtained from Southampton's road ledger, which shows seven of their last eight trips containing fewer than three goals, while the same applies to three of the Villans' previous five games.


Recommended Bets:

Back Southampton to win to nil @ 2.47/5
Back under 2.5 goals @ 1.865/6


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