Southampton v Aston Villa: Visitors to upset Saints' European push

Tim Sherwood can guide Villa to yet another positive result and mathematically confirm their Premier League status.
Tim Sherwood can guide Villa to yet another positive result and mathematically confirm their Premier League status.
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With Europa League football to fight for at St Mary's and the Villa players looking to earn a place in the FA Cup final starting XI, this promises to be an intriguing end-of-season fixture...


"The Midlanders had just 22 points on the board when Tim Sherwood took charge, but could double that tally if they win their remaining two fixtures."

Lay Southampton @ 1.84/5

Southampton v Aston Villa
Saturday, 12:45
Live on BT Sport 1

Southampton

Three defeats and a draw in their last four Premier League fixtures has seen the gap between Southampton and chasers Swansea diminish to just a single point. Although Tottenham's similarly poor recent form means that Saints remain only a point outside the top six.

A top-six finish will guarantee Europa League football next season and, if Arsenal win the FA Cup, seventh place finishers will also represent England on the continent next season. So there remains plenty for Ronald Koeman's side to play for with only two games remaining.

On the flip side of that recent poor overall form Southampton maintain a solid record at St Mary's where they have won three and drawn one of their last four. Goals have continued to leak since Fraser Forster was ruled out for the season though, and it's now just one clean sheet in six for the meanest defence in English football.

Top scorer Graziano Pellè has scored 10 of his 11 Premier League goals this season at St Mary's.

Team News: Fraser Forster, Jay Rodriguez, Dusan Tadic and Morgan Schneiderlin remain long-term absentees, but James Ward-Prowse returns after the youngster missed last weekend's game through suspension.

Aston Villa

It would take an almost inconceivable set of results in the final eight days of the 2014/15 Premier League season to see Villa relegated, and odds of 90.089/1 accurately reflect that.

The Midlanders had just 22 points on the board when Tim Sherwood took charge, but could double that tally if they win their remaining two fixtures. Sherwood has won 54.5% of his first 33 Premier League games as a manager; only one Englishman has a better win rate from his first 33 PL matches - John Gregory (63.6%). Although given Gregory's subsequent career path, I'm not sure if that is exactly a comparison that Sherwood will welcome.

Christian Benteke has scored 10 of his 14 goals this season since Sherwood arrived at Villa Park, while Tom Cleverley now has three in his last three after failing to score in his previous 37 Premier League appearances.

Team News: Gabriel Agbonlahor could return to the starting XI after being used as a second-half substitute last week. Nathan Baker and Ciaran Clark are both out while Shay Given looks set to keep his place in the side after last Saturday's clean sheet.

Match Odds

While Southampton's best form has come on their home patch, so has Aston Villa's and it's easy to see why the Saints are made strong favourites this weekend. However, at odds of 1.84/5 I certainly think that there is an argument to be made for opposing Koeman's men.

Saints have come unstuck against Leicester and Sunderland in recent weeks, while Villa have shown the extent of their capabilities by getting wins against Everton and Tottenham in the league, defeating Liverpool in the FA Cup and only narrowly - to a last-minute goal - losing at Manchester City.

Add into the mix the Opta statistic that tells us Southampton have won just one of their six previous Premier League matches against Aston Villa at St. Mary's and I'm happy to suggest a Lay of the home team here at odds of 1.84/5.

Over/Under 2.5 Goals

Villa have scored 12 goals in their last six games and come up against a defence that now has a better reputation than the reality. One clean sheet in six is not the sort of defensive form that we had become accustomed to with this side and so Over 2.5 Goals at odds-against prices must be taken advantage of.

Benteke's recent form, as well as that of Pellè on his home patch, gives further credence to the case for backing Overs here at odds of 2.0811/10.

Both Teams To Score

All six of the previous meetings between these two teams on the south coast, since Southampton left The Dell, have seen both teams score. Given we're expecting goals in this one I'll be backing Yes in this market at odds of 2.01/1.

Recommended Bets
3points Lay Southampton @ 1.84/5
2points Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.0811/10

Jaymes Monte 2014/15 Season P/L

Staked: 138.5 pts
Returned: 117.33 pts
P/L: -21.17 pts

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