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Southampton 0 v 1 Aston Villa
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 30th January 2021 Kick-off 20:00
Saints V Aston Villa The Preview
Saturday, 30th Jan 2021 11:30

Saints take on Aston Villa in a game where a win would see them back into the top 10 after two straight defeats in the Premier League, but another loss could see us looking over our shoulder.

There are two thoughts on Saints fans minds ahead of this evening's game against Aston Villa are what team will Saints put out and what time they get in the sweepstake for when Jack Grealish will throw himself theatrically to the ground after brushing an opponent.

Those with times between 90 seconds and 2 1/2 minutes have the best chance of picking up the prize money, which is a great shame because if he stayed on his feet I think Grealish could become a truly class act, instead of a figure of ridicule to most other than Villa fans.

The good news for Saints fans is that Ralph Hasenhuttl has some of the injured returning to his squad, notably Oriol Romeu and Moussa Djenepo and this will give him more options, especially on the bench where experience has been in short supply of late.

But he will be without Kyle Walker Peters again and also long term casualty Jannik Vestergaard, although the good news is that the Danish Central defender will return to full training next week.

The real dilemma for Ralph though is the defence, Ryan Bertrand will return at left back, so does the manager stick with Jan Valery who in fairness had a decent enough game against Arsenal or doe he try other options.

He could for instance put Ibrahima Diallo at right back and restore Oriol Romeu to the centre of midfield, this might not be a bad option as Dallo is fast and has quick feet and that could be an advantage to combat Jack Grealish.but the Austrian expressed concern about Saints getting caught out of position and for pace last weekend and he could think a little bit outside of the box.

That could see Romeu slotted into the centre of defence in place of Jack Stephens, although that itself could trigger a re shuffle in that Stephens can also play at right back.

Further up the field I would not be surprised to see Nathan Redmond restored to the left of the midfield with Theo Walcott dropping to the bench, the loanee has struggled to find an end product of late, he is still getting some good runs and work, but that final ball whether it be a cross, pass or shot has been lacking.

Otherwise I think Ralph will try to keep the shape of the side and keep changes to a minimum.

Up until recently I have always said the bench is key, we have options, that hasn't been the case of late, but today that will all change , if things are going right Ralph will have options and if they are going wrong instead of kids he will have the likes of Djenepo or Walcott/Redmond to bring on.

WE have to get back to winning ways, the injury crisis has cost us dearly, but the season is still there for the taking, in the Premier League it is tight, but we are still in the mix, we have a great chance in the FA Cup .so there is plenty to play for.

We are in a bad patch at the moment but still pulled out the odd result or two, now is the time to end the rot and get back to winning ways whilst others have a bad patch to come.

We can go into this game with more positivity about the available squad than at any time in the last six weeks or 7 games, time to get back on track

Photo: Action Images



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Whatsforpud added 12:41 - Jan 30
We are halfway through the season now and have had good and not so good patches. If we were to have a repeat of that, 58 points is probably more than most would have expected at the start of the season.
Grealish has been fouled a lot because he is one of those players quick direct dribblers which is contrary to the general style played nowadays of passing the ball before being tackled. Not so many are prepared to have a go now. He will be difficult to mark as he invariable starts runs down the left, then attacks between full back and central defender.
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TimSaint added 12:53 - Jan 30
We could play Diallo, Stephens, JWP or Valery at RB.

I expect Valery to get the nod, but I'm slightly worried about him being up against Grealish. He isn't always switched on defensively and because he likes to attack, can often be caught out of position. He would be fine if he didn't try to take everyone on and concentrated more on his final ball. I'm also slightly concerned about his discipline against a diving, moaning, wind-up merchant. I remember his hot headedness and subsequent red card away to Leicester.

I'm not sure Diallo is the answer though. He has already given Villa a penalty this season, for a foul on Grealish.

If Ralph would rather not play Valery, then I'd put Rom and Diallo in the middle and move JWP to RB. He did a great job on Zaha a couple of times and an equally good job on Grealish last season - helping to restrict Villa to just 4 shots all game !!

It's great to get some players back, but whether they are ready or not for 90 mins will no doubt determine the line up. As Nick has said, even if they don't start, it's great that we now have a decent bench with players that can have a positive impact n the team. It's great to blood the kids, but having so many injuries at a time when we have had the most games has really affected results and morale. Hopefully that will all change from now on in and it's great to hear that Vest and the others aren't too far away from a return. COYS.
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A1079 added 13:05 - Jan 30
Taking our chances and being more clinical in the oppositions box will be key (and as been as costly as our defensive errors in recent games). Villa are still susceptible at the back. But Villa are a good side and they were stung by the defeat against Burnley when on the whole Villa were the better side - especially during the first half.

A draw would not surprise me, but we could do with that win to get confidence back and reinvigorate our season in the league. It would be nice to get past that 40 point mark with a canter rather than a slow crawl across the line.
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nickdevon added 13:22 - Jan 30
JWP at right back for me. He can do a great job on man to man marking , as he did with Zaha. He can also join the attacks like KWP does. His crossing is fantastic and can still do all the corners and free kicks.
Then Oriel in deep midfield and redmond, diallo and armstrong across the middle and Ings and Che upfront.
As long as Oriel can last the whole game, I think that team would beat Villa.
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halftimeorange added 13:38 - Jan 30
The referee is Darren England who is not so well known. He will want to make an impression and with Romeu, Valery and Diallo likely to be on the field at some time against Grealish I'll be thankful if we finish with eleven men.
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highfield49 added 14:04 - Jan 30
For me Valery hasn't shown enough to get on the team sheet and JWP at right back is far more likely to keep Grealish in check. Although Stephens can play as a fullback it's fairly obvious that his lack of concentration and slowness to turn is not going to present any difficulty to Grealish whatsoever. Having Diallo and Romeu in midfield presents little risk, even though they haven't played together regularly, and Redmond and Armstrong on the flanks should give Villa problems. Hopefully today will be the day when Danny and Che hit the net a few times.
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DellBoyWally added 19:35 - Jan 30
So he has gone with Stephens at CB. Gulp! Diallo at RB. Interesting. Redmond at RM and Walcott as striker? Given up on the points b4 we start!!
-1

ElijahK added 22:04 - Jan 30
We simply lost this game down to 4 main reasons!

1= Some absolutely DISGRACEFUL OFFICIATING! I mean how lee smith is even an official seeing that he’s just an overweight idiot who just was rubbish and I’m certain even Villa fans will agree on that! I mean I remember how he blew his whilst before Romou even touched their goalie along with many more delusional decisions! And Mike dean (VAR) was just taking the P1SS! I mean you can’t much more of a clearer pen as it didn’t hit his though so they’ve got no excuse for that one and with Ings he was level with the defender but just because his ARM (which doesn’t count as offside) was offside so is he!?

2= All of our injuries and our lack of squad depth which is simply down to our pathetic owner and some real bad luck!

3= Just poor form which has really affected our play as the likes of Ings hasn’t scored an open play goal since we played them in the reverse game!

4= Some absolutely DISGRACEFUL OFFICIATING! I mean how lee smith is even an official seeing that he’s just an overweight idiot who just was rubbish and I’m certain even Villa fans will agree on that! I mean I remember how he blew his whilst before Romou even touched their goalie along with many more delusional decisions! And Mike dean (VAR) was just taking the P1SS! I mean you can’t much more of a clearer pen as it didn’t hit his though so they’ve got no excuse for that one and with Ings he was level with the defender but just because his ARM (which doesn’t count as offside) was offside so is he!?
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Letters from Wiltshire #33 by wessex_exile
Letters from Wiltshire #32 by wessex_exile
Fifty years ago yesterday, Colchester United of the 4th Division pulled off the greatest cup giant-killing ever, beating 1st Division Leeds United 3-2 at Layer Road. Watched by 16,000, and the Match of the Day cameras, Dick Graham’s U’s, a rag-tag band of mostly aging journeymen, defied the odds to defeat arguably the greatest club side in Europe at the time. “The greatest cup giant-killing ever” is a bold claim, and over the years various football magazines and websites have run their own polls of which was the greatest. Whilst that day at Layer Rd always features, as the years have gone by other feats fresher in the memory have been put forward as a candidate – we probably all remember Ronnie Radford’s screamer against Newcastle, Sutton’s exploits, or even Bradford City quite recently at Stamford Bridge – but these pale into insignificance when you pause to reflect on the Don Revie side that we beat that day. Sprake, Cooper, Charlton, Hunter, Lorimer, Giles etc – all full internationals, all household names – the only one missing was Billy Bremner, and that was because he was injured. By comparison, all we had to offer was Ray Crawford – at his peak arguably on a par with some in the Leeds side, but that peak had been ten years earlier playing for Ipswich and England. Eleven heroes didn’t just try and hold out against Leeds United, they took the game to their illustrious opponents with such tenacity, grit and no small amount of flair, and before we knew it, the U’s were 3-0 in the lead. As legs tired, Leeds got back into the game with goals from Hunter and Giles, but we held firm – typified at the death by Graham Smith pulling off an impossible save to ensure the U’s achieved the greatest cup giant-killing ever!
Letters from Wiltshire #31 by wessex_exile
And so the dust settles on another transfer window closing, and despite (my) expectations that the possibility of incoming business was going to be remote, we have instead seen a veritable flurry of activity, with no less than three coming in. Big Frank Nouble, making a very welcome return on loan from Plymouth Argyle, of course needs no introduction. Neither really does feisty Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu, here on loan last season, and this time signed full-time from Charlton Athletic for an undisclosed fee. Actually paying hard cash for someone did come as a surprise, presumably offset by the sale of Cohen Bramall to Lincoln for a similarly undisclosed fee. However, the fact that the Addicks have insisted on not only a sell-on clause, but a rarely used buy-back clause too, suggests (a) Wiredu’s signing fee probably wasn’t too high, and (b) Charlton are protecting those finances with these clauses. The last one, which would have been a complete surprise for me were it not for a contact leaking me the news earlier yesterday, is left-back Josh Doherty on loan from Crawley. Josh was only announced once outgoing left-back Bramall was confirmed, and presumably his loan is directly related to part-time fashion model, TV and radio celeb and former left-back Mark Wright signing for Crawley on a non-contract game-by-game basis in December. We have also released seven from the academy, Ollie Kensdale, Miquel Scarlett, Sammie McLeod, Michael Fernandes, Ollie Sims, Danny Collinge and Matt Weaire, and I’m sure we all wish them the best for the future.
Letters from Wiltshire #30 by wessex_exile
Letters from Wiltshire #29 by wessex_exile

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