Aston Villa vs Southampton: Can Saints keep form against a Top-3 Villa?

After a dramatic 2-0 victory over league leaders Everton on Sunday, Saints travel to Villa Park in a top-seven matchup this Sunday.

Southampton continued their run of four unbeaten Sunday against league-leading Everton and will look to keep the streak alive when they travel to Aston Villa on Sunday.

Villa were outclassed last season by Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side, dropping both matches to the Saints 3-1 and 2-0, but have turned their fortunes around thus far this season after making a splash in the summer transfer window.

Villa’s top scorer in league play this season is star Jack Grealish, who has three goals and three assists through five matches, while Saints’ star forward Danny Ings has netted four times with two assists through six.

With Villa currently sitting third in the table having taken three points from four of their first five matches, they will certainly be looking to rebound after their 3-0 loss to Leeds United on Friday.

Jack Grealish of Aston Villa is challenged by James Ward-Prowse of Southampton (Photo by Alex Broadway/Getty Images)

Both clubs have performed well in league play of late, separated by just 2 points from Southampton’s 3-3 draw to Chelsea two weeks ago.

On the injury front, Southampton will likely be without Moussa Djenepo, Will Smallbone, and potentially Mohammed Salisu while Villa will be missing Kortney Hause and Wesley Moraes.

Fortunately, Saints will see Theo Walcott return after missing the 2-0 win against his parent club last weekend.

How Southampton Will Win

Hasenhuttl’s boys will have to continue their impressive goal-scoring form of late against a side scoring 2.4 goals per match on the season. Fortunately, Saints have scored at least 2 goals in three straight Premier League matches during their current unbeaten run, all while keeping a clean sheet in three of those four.

The squad’s confidence will likely be soaring after their victory over Everton, but they should not discount a gritty Aston Villa side and will look to get goals in early to prevent having to claw from behind against a club that knocked seven past reigning league champions Liverpool earlier in the month.

As long as the squad keep their confidence and continue to play as they have for most matches since last season’s restart, Saints should look to continue their streak of six unbeaten to Aston Villa on Sunday, potentially pushing even further up the league table on their hot start.

How Aston Villa Will Win

Aston Villa will be looking to rebound in a revenge match after a shock 3-0 loss to Leeds United last Friday.

Villa’s chances will lie in their defending, as they have proven the ability to score goals thus far on the season, scoring a currently 6th-best twelve goals on the campaign in just five matches. They currently are tied for first with Saints at three clean sheets on the year, having only let in a league-low five goals.

If Villa can contain Saints’ scoring machine Danny Ings and score goals early against a hot Saints side, Dean Smith’s side could find themselves retaining the points in an important early-season match between the two sides.

Predicted Lineups

Southampton: 4-2-2-2

Goalkeeper: Alex McCarthy

Defenders: Kyle Walker-Peters, Jan Bednarek, Jannik Vestergaard, Ryan Bertrand

Midfielders: Theo Walcott, James Ward-Prowse, Oriol Romeu, Nathan Redmond

Strikers: Che Adams, Danny Ings

Aston Villa:  4-2-3-1

Goalkeeper: Emiliano Martinez

Defenders: Matt Targett, Tyrone Mings, Ezri Konsa, Matthew Cash

Midfielders: John McGinn, Douglas Luiz

Attacking Midfielders: Jack Grealish, Ross Barkley, Bertrand Traore

Striker: Ollie Watkins

Predicted Score

Aston Villa 1-2 Southampton  

I predict that Villa will open the scoring in the first half, followed by Walcott and Adams finding goals before the final whistle. It would also come as no shock to see Ralph debut Ibrahima Diallo in his first Premier League start over Oriol Romeu, despite Romeu’s impressive form in recent weeks.