After their win at Goodison Park last weekend, Southampton return home to take on Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday (3pm). Can the hosts make it two Premier League wins on the bounce? Or will the Villans register their second successive victory? This Saints FC vs AVFC preview aims to find out before deciding on our betting tips.
Last week was a fine one for Saints fans, who first witnessed their team surprisingly knock Manchester City out of the EFL Cup, before seeing their team, spurred on by that fine cup win, go to Goodison Park and return with all three points thanks to a 1-2 win over Everton. It came courtesy of another fine effort from their captain and talisman James Ward-Prowse, who took his tally to five goals for the season.
Nathan Jones’ men desperately needed those three points, but that is just the beginning, as they are still bottom of the EPL. That said, the fact that they are now just a point from potentially leaving the bottom three behind should give them cause for optimism.
For Aston Villa, it has been a mixed bag since we waved goodbye to 2022. They began the year by winning away at Tottenham, which was a huge result. They could only manage a draw at home to a struggling Wolves team after that, while they then went and got knocked out of the FA Cup by League Two’s Stevenage. Fortunately, it was back to winning ways in the league last time out, as they got the better of Leeds United at Villa Park. They now go in search of back-to-back wins in the league for the first time this season and the first time since March of last year.
Hard times at home
When teams are struggling, they can often rely on a few sturdy performances at home to get them back on track, but such performances have not really materialised for Saints this term. Disappointingly, they have won just one of their nine games at St Mary’s, meaning that they unsurprisingly have the worst home record in the Premier League. In front of a home crowd, they have collected just six points out of a possible 27. That is a big part of why they are currently bottom of the pile, as the handful of teams directly above them have all performed better at home.
What they do tend to do at home is find the net, scoring in all but one of their last seven, which is positive. What they don’t do is shut teams out. They have kept zero clean sheets at home and have conceded a total of 16 goals, more than any other Premier League team this campaign. Therein lies the problem.
Villa’s dodgy defending on the road
Fortunately for the hosts, Saturday’s visitors have a habit of conceding goals away from home. They have kept just one clean sheet on the road, the one they recorded at Spurs on New Year’s Day.
Overall, the Villans have conceded 16 goals on the road, which comfortably puts them in the bottom half in that respect. Such a number looks worse when they have scored only seven too. Then again, in the offensive third, there has been some improvement of late, that is for sure. Not only did they score twice at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but they also scored twice away against Brighton before that. Such attacking efforts bode well ahead of a game against a Saints backline that tends to give plenty away.
Will it be a hat-trick of wins in this fixture for Villa?
If the visitors can emerge victorious from this game, it will be their third straight success against Southampton. At the backend of last season, the Villans won by four goals to nil at Villa Park, winning there again when the pair met in September.
When the teams last met at this venue, though, it was the Saints who won, coming out on top by a goal to nil back in late 2021. Interestingly, only one team has scored in each of the last four renewals of this fixture. On three occasions, that team has been the home team.
Goals on the cards
In the betting, going for goals appeals, with ‘Over 2.5 Goals & Both Teams to Score’ standing out as a viable option at the early prices.
Both teams improved offensively last time out, each scoring multiple goals. Moreover, the Saints have scored twice in each of their last three in all competitions, which is particularly pleasing because in each of those games they faced Premier League opposition. Similarly, Villa come here having scored twice in each of their last two on the road.
The real driving force behind this selection must be goals conceded, though. The hosts have not even come close to keeping things tight at home, especially of late, conceding eight in their last three at St Mary’s.
Moreover, at home, Southampton surrender an average of 1.77 goals, while on the road, Aston Villa have conceded an average of 1.77 too. Throw in that the pair have kept a combined total of just one clean sheet out of 18 games (Southampton home games and Aston Villa away games) and it is easy to feel that a relatively high-scoring game, one where teams get on the scoresheet, is on the way.
Ings can haunt his old team
Of all the players likely to be on show at St Mary’s, Danny Ings has been the most prolific this season, and it would be little surprise if he netted against his old team, much as last season. The forward has notched six goals this season, which is not an outstanding tally, but he averages a quietly impressive 0.66 goals per 90 minutes, while he scored twice when he last started away from home. Throw in an average of 0.59 xG per game and the man who scored 39 league goals for Southampton looks a good bet to score on Saturday.
- Over 2.5 Goals & Both Teams to Score @ 5/4 with Bet365.
- Danny Ings to Score @ best odds of 13/5, also with Bet365.
Bradley Gibbs is an experienced football writer. He is an expert analyst on Premier League, and all global football leagues & tournaments, for Just Bookies. Bradley has been published by many respected outlets, including USA Betting and the Racing & Football Outlook. He has also written betting strategy guides.