After suffering a 3-1 loss to Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side on Sunday afternoon, Mauricio Pochettino welcomes 11th placed Aston Villa to St Mary’s, hoping to build on their impressive start to this Premier League campaign, despite losing their last two in the Premier League.
Southampton had an excellent first half at Stamford Bridge, leading after 14 seconds through Jay Rodriguez; they pressed the Chelsea defence and midfield with high intensity, but could not sustain their pressure on Chelsea after Jose Mourinho altered the tactics to 442 – changing the game.
Paul Lambert’s Villains played out a dull 0-0 draw against Gustavo Poyet’s Sunderland side, but will look to sustain their decent away form at the South Coast side on Wednesday.
According to PA sports journalist, Simon Peach, Artur Boruc will be out for six weeks after fracturing his hand in the loss versus Chelsea on Sunday, while Morgan Schneiderlin also picked up a knock, but may be fit in time for the visit of Villa.
Aston Villa have no fresh injury concerns, but Jores Okore and Charles N’Zogbia still have long term injuries.
Southampton took six points off Aston Villa last season, winning 4-1 at home and 1-0 away at Villa Park.
Villa have drew their last three Premier League away games.
Southampton have conceded just two goals at home, scoring 11; while winning four and drawing two.
Villa have the fourth best away form in the league [W2 D3 L1]
The Southampton captain epitomises everything that is effective about the South Coast club at present; intense in pressure, creative and direct in the last third with a never say die attitude. This has been shown in their results against the big boys in the last 12 months, with wins against Liverpool and Manchester City, and their last minute equaliser at Old Trafford back in September.
In terms of his pressing and defensive duties, Lallana has attempted a total of 161 ground 50-50’s, winning 50% – averaging 6.35 minutes per ground duel for the Southampton winger.
His tackling and interceptions prove this point further, so far in 13 Premier League games, Lallana has won 83% of his 24 tackles, averaging a tackle every 34 minutes – and clocking up 18 interceptions in the process. Outstanding for a player who predominantly plays on the wing.
His creative statistics show why he is a permanent fixture in Pochettino’s starting XI.
In terms of final 3rd passes, Lallana has a 77% completion rate (139/171 found his target).
The 25-year old winger has dribbled directly at his opponents a total of 44 times, successfully completing 25 dribbles, while also completing 25% of his crosses (18/73).
He has created a total of (20) chances for his team-mates, setting up two goals for Southampton; while also netting three goals to his team’s cause – incredibly accurate with 56% shooting accuracy, 19% chance conversion and 50% clear-cut chance conversion.
The former Leeds United midfielder has taken his time to acclimatise to his Premier League career at Aston Villa, but the young English midfielder is finally getting the plaudits he deserves within the media, although he has yet to *really* be noticed by Roy Hodgson in terms of an international cap for England at senior level.
Delph is the all-action midfielder Villa have sorely needed since Styllian Petrov was diagnosed with leukaemia.
In his 10 Premier League games this season, Delph has won 67% of his total ground 50-50’s, averaging a ground 50-50 every 6.76 minutes, also winning 54% of his aerial duels.
Like Lallana above, Delph has proved outstanding in the reading and understanding of the game, clocking up 30 interceptions in 10 games; winning 71% of his 35 tackles.
His ability to retain possession is also one element of his game that he’s substantially improved. An 82% pass completion shows an element of ease on the ball, but his comfort in the different passing zones is improving all the time.
In terms of his defensive zone passing, he has an 89% passing rate [189/213]; 76% in the attacking zone [235/311] and 71% in the final third – [99/140]
His direct approach puts the opposition on the back-foot, and the Villa midfielder has successfully completed 26/35 dribbles attempted, while also creating (8) chances for his team-mates; however, he is yet to add an assist or a goal for his team in the Premier League this season, but is a dominant presence in the heart of the Villa midfield.
Prediction: Southampton 0-0 Aston Villa
Of their three draws away from home this season, Villa have drawn two of them 0-0, which is the reason I think this could prove to be a dull affair between the two sides, Southampton tend to keep clean sheets at home (4) in total, conceding just two in six at home.