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Southampton 1 v 0 Aston Villa
Barclays Premier League
Friday, 5th November 2021 Kick-off 20:00
Another Big Crowd At St Mary's For The Villa Game
Friday, 5th Nov 2021 09:10

Saints recent surge of good form has brought a few Saints supporters back to the match, despite being a Friday night game and on TV, the game is not far off from selling out, hopefully another great atmosphere at St Mary's.

When it came to returning to St Mary's this season after lockdowns etc, Saints fans were firmly in the corner of wait and see when it came to going to live games again.

The attendances for the first games at the stadium this season were not great, although the Manchester United game had an official attendance of 29,485, there clearly weren't anywhere near that many in the ground, a combination of turnstile chaos, holidays and some season ticket holders deciding to not attend contributing to the empty seats for a game that would usually be a sure fire sell out.

The West Ham game saw only 27, 861 when usually with a full compliment of away supporters we would have expected at least 3,500 more.

Likewise the Wolves game with only 28,002, over 3,000 less than had seen the last game against Wolves at St Mary's with fans allowed to attend back in January of last year.

But the last two games have seen a surge in interest, the visit of Leeds attracted 31, 506, still a thousand short of what might have been expected in normal circumstances but heading in the right direction, Burnley saw 29,145, but given that the Lancashire club only brought down around 800 fans, that meant that there were around 28,400 Saints fans in attendance, an increase of about 3,500 in home fans from the West Ham game.

So it seems that some Saints fans have been adopting a wait and see attitude both in regard to Covid 19 and also the form of the team.

The slow start, understandable given the opposition in the first 8 games, slowed up the return of fans, but overall most can now see that the squad as a whole is stronger than last season and that Ralph Hasenhuttl has worked hard to address the problems of last season and not only build a squad with two players for every position, but a strong starting XI.

Of course there are still some things not quite right yet, especially when it comes to goals, but those who have seen the games seem to be confident that the three strikers can come good.

So today a quick look at the ticket sales shows around half the ground completely sold out with many areas only having limited tickets, there are still a few tickets left in certain areas, but overall in terms of ticket sales, assuming that Villa have sold all theirs then it should be another crowd similar to the Leeds game with 30,000 in the ground.

But with it being bonfire night although tickets have been sold, it might not mean we get 30,000 in, the family blocks may be affected by some of those families attending firework displays and indeed some who are season ticket holders but don't take their kids to games may have to commit to family and not go to the game.

Then there is the appalling train service tonight, the last train to London is now 10pm meaning that anyone at St Mary's would have to leave with about 20 minutes to go to get it, that is also the last train to Basingstoke.

There are later trains to Eastleigh and Winchester but if you are going to Bournemouth it is a rail replacement bus service.

But the good news is that Saints fans seem to be rediscovering their confidence in their team and are coming back to St Mary's, if all things were equal then it might well have been approaching a full house this evening, it probably won't be that either in ticket sales or actual turnout on the night, but things are looking up.

Photo: Action Images

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underweststand added 12:58 - Nov 5
A mention of Aston Villa games always suggests to the probability of tough, close-fought games, but the record books also show up some very good results for Saints. As a teenage fan I recall Ron Davies' single-handed demolition of a Villa 6-2 side (at The Dell in May 1967). Four sublime goals, plus one more that hit a post, and then he was denied a fifth goal (by a bad offside call) - if only we'd had VAR back then.

Fast forward nearly 50 years to the classic game in 2015 at SMS with Sadio Mane's record-breaking hat-trick, two goals from Shane Long - (including that gorgeous 40 yard lob over Villa goalie Shay Given), and a divine volley from Pelle to finish it at 6-1.

We have had a number of other memorable wins over Villa over the years - if only I could remember them all (!) - but with Ralph waiting for his strikers to hit form, it would be good to see some of those many recent " near-misses" end up in the net instead.


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