Southampton vs Aston Villa predictions: Saints' scoring run may not be sustainable
After correctly predicting Aston Villa to beat Leeds last week, Simon Barlow now assesses the Villans' chances against Southampton this weekend.
Southampton's bid to move off the bottom of the table faces stiff opposition from an Aston Villa side on a three-match Premier League unbeaten run this Saturday.
When they met in September, it was Steven Gerrard's Villa who earned a 1-0 home win over Ralph Hasenhuttl's Saints, but both clubs have since changed managers and appear to be heading in a positive direction.
After facing flak for achieving only one win in his first five games, Nathan Jones has led the Saints to three straight victories across all competitions — including last week's all-important one at Goodison Park.
Saints skipper James Ward-Prowse, who scored twice in that 2-1 win over Everton, says the club's recent results are "a real turning point".
Meanwhile, Unai Emery has overseen a run of four wins in six and the visitors will be looking for their third away league win on the trot when they come out of the tunnel at St Mary's.
Southampton have no fresh injury or suspension concerns with Jones expected to stick with the same formula that brought the Saints success on Merseyside.
Samuel Edozie is the only one from that 2-1 win who could find his spot under threat from Adam Armstrong or Sekou Mara.
Theo Walcott, Alex McCarthy and Armel Bella-Kotchap are in contention to return to the matchday squad, but none of the trio is likely to start.
Juan Larios (adductor) and Valentino Livramento (knee) remain on Southampton's long-term casualty list.
Villa have agreed to sell top scorer Danny Ings to West Ham, a few days after striking a deal with Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire to sign young Colombian striker Jhon Duran.
It is unclear whether he will be eligible to start or even be in Emery's short-term plans with the Villa boss expected to stick with Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins, who has been cleared to play after sustaining an ankle issue at Leeds, as his strike pairing.
Matty Cash could be available again after a groin problem while Leander Dendoncker returns from suspension, but the only change to Villa's starting line-up from Elland Road last week is likely to be at left-back.
Lucas Digne left the field with an injury in the first-half and is almost certainly going to be replaced by new signing Alex Moreno.
Victory at Goodison Park last weekend meant Southampton avoided losing seven consecutive league games for the first time in their history.
Jones also avoided becoming the first manager to lose his first five games in the Premier League since Scott Parker at Fulham in 2019.
Emery is looking to become the first Villa boss to win his first three away top-flight games since John Gregory.
Southampton's recent resurgence is impressive and the quality of the goals they are scoring has been outstanding. But three of their last six strikes have come from outside the penalty area and another directly resulted from a goalkeeping blunder.
That suggests they may not be able to sustain the goal production over a long period.
Villa have become a solid unit under Emery with the midfield duo of Boubacar Kamara and Douglas Luiz helping to make them very hard to beat.
They should make the return trip to the Midlands with something, even if it is just a point.
But the electric form of Bailey, who has scored three goals in his last eight league appearances, gives them a chance of making it three away wins in a row