Southampton v Aston Villa: Ward-Prowse can help hosts take victory

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl can guide his team to victory
Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl

Southampton have a great record against Aston Villa and they can continue that in Saturday evening's showdown, says Dave Tindall...

"James Ward-Prowse has scored five times in his last 16 games and two of those were against Villa when Saints won a seven-goal thriller there in November."

1pt James Ward-Prowse to score in a Southampton win on Same Game Multi at 6.09

Southampton v Aston Villa
Saturday, 20:00
Sky Sports Main Event

Southampton back in the pack

Southampton start the weekend in 11th spot after letting a strong start slip with a mixed run.

Since mid-December they've managed just one Premier League win in the last seven, drawing three and losing three.

There is some good news though. The victory was over Liverpool and in their last three games they've also had a pair of home FA Cup wins over Shrewsbury and Arsenal.

The Gunners gained revenge by winning 3-1 at St Mary's last time.

There's a long way to go but 29 points is a decent total from 19 games but perhaps there's a slight feeling that the future of this season could be mid-table obscurity and a big FA Cup run.

Saints are away to Wolves in round five although that's not an immediate issue as they have three Premier League matches before then.

After this, they face away games at Manchester United and Newcastle.

Villa also slipping down the table

Just like Southampton, Aston Villa also have 29 points but a slight better goal goal difference puts them one place higher in 10th. They also have a game in hand.

At least their focus is purely on the Premier League having had to field a team of kids in the round three defeat to Liverpool.

However, again like their opponents, there's a feeling that a very bright start is evaporating.

That may be a tad harsh given that their defeats either side of the Liverpool loss were away to Manchester United and Manchester City.

A home win over Newcastle was welcome but losing 2-1 at Burnley in midweek when 2-1 up with 14 minutes to play has to go down as hugely disappointing.

If Villa are also drifting towards mid-table obscurity, that gives us the same problem as Southampton. The other way of defining such a team is that they win some, lose some and draw some.

In other words, their results become hard to pinpoint.

Villa slight favourites but Saints the bet

Does basic home and away help solve the puzzle?

As it happens, not really.

Saints, with five victories, have won more home games than Man Utd, Everton and Chelsea although there are also four defeats in there.

Villa are good on the road with five away wins (three more than Liverpool) but also four defeats. In other words Southampton's home record is identical to Villa's away (P9, W5, D1, L4).

As for the betting, Southampton are the underdogs at 2.8415/8, with Villa 2.6213/8. The Draw is 3.711/4.

If two evenly-balanced sides suggests the draw is best, that's rather scuppered by Saints having just one home draw and Villa having just one on the road.

Let's try historical head-to-heads then.

Finally, there's a lean one way as Southampton have won their last four Premier League games against Aston Villa.

From a Villa point of view, they've not won any of the last eight against Southampton, losing five and drawing three.

We can build the case for Southampton by looking more closely at Villa's very latest away form. They won five of their first seven on the road but have lost the last three.

It's taken a while to get there but Southampton are the bet. If playing the match market, they're my pick although I'll head instead to the Same Game Multi market.

Duo worth a punt on Same Game Multi

There's a couple of players I want to pair with the Southampton win.

First, James Ward-Prowse has scored five times in his last 16 games and two of those were against Villa when Saints won a seven-goal thriller there in November.

The free-kick specialist is 13/5 anytime but Ward-Prowse to score in a Southampton win is 6.09.

Jack Grealish scored in that 4-3 defeat to Saints and was also on target in Villa's loss to Burnley on Wednesday. There's actually a third example this season of Grealish netting in a losing cause - the 2-1 defeat to West Ham. Therefore it's happened three times in his 18 league matches.

It means there's scope to play Grealish to score in a Southampton win at 18.74.

Overs an obvious favourite

Over 6.5 landed in the reverse fixture and it's 3231/1 if you fancy that again!

Over 3.5 is more realistic but that's just 2.8615/8, with Over 4.5 5.79/2.

Both teams to Score is just 1.635/8 - hard to put up as a tip even though I'd be pretty confident of it landing.

Opta stat

Aston Villa's Jack Grealish has been involved in 14 Premier League goals in 18 games this season (6 goals, 8 assists), the same number he was involved in in 36 appearances last season (8 goals, 6 assists).

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P/L: -17.18pts

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