Aston Villa v Southampton

22 Apr

Joleon Lescott celebrates scoring for Aston Villa


Joleon Lescott’s goal earned Aston Villa a 1-1 draw at Southampton in December

BBC coverage

How to follow:
Listen on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC local radio; text commentary on the BBC Sport website

TEAM NEWS

Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor has been suspended by the club while Jores Okore will not play for the first team for the rest of the season after a disagreement with caretaker Eric Black.

Kieran Richardson and Ciaran Clark are also doubtful with knocks.

Southampton pair Jose Fonte and Victor Wanyama are fit despite both requiring hospital treatment after respective head and rib injuries last weekend.

Charlie Austin and Florin Gardos remain out with knee problems.

MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES

Mark Scott: “Eric Black feared post-relegation anarchy and while he was referring to matters on the pitch, that word pretty much sums up events off it since the inevitable was confirmed.

“The captain has been called ‘selfish’ and ‘insensitive’, two respected board members have walked out following a row with the owner and their longest-serving player has been suspended for the second time this month.

“The irony of Gabriel Agbonlahor’s latest indiscretion is that it’s anything but a laughing matter at Villa right now.

“Southampton’s European hopes might have faded a little, but bettering last season’s record Premier League points total is still a possibility and the biggest concern for Saints fans is whether they can get Ronald Koeman to extend his contract.

“Koeman has admitted to being puzzled by their poor scoring record on the road this term. He’ll expect an improvement against the worst defence in the division.”

Twitter: @Mark_Scott_

WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY

Aston Villa caretaker manager Eric Black on Jonas Okore: “I don’t want people who don’t want to be at Aston Villa and playing at Aston Villa, certainly under the circumstances, and the Bournemouth game was a massive game for us.

“So he has gone to the Under-21s and that’s what happens.”

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman: “It [European qualification] is always possible [but] it is very difficult because [there] is a gap of four or five points between us and Liverpool and West Ham.

“That is why we are still focused and concentrated because it is still not the end of the season and I don’t like to end the season in a bad way.

“We still have good games to play and this Saturday is a difficult one for several reasons. They are already relegated, it will be a difficult atmosphere in the stadium.”

LAWRO’S PREDICTION

Villa were officially relegated last week but it will take until the season ends for them to be put out of their misery.

Saints have had to get used to seeing players leave at the end of each season but their recruitment has been very good to make up for that.

They might also be a bit worried about hanging on to their manager Ronald Koeman this summer too.

Prediction: 0-2

Lawro’s full predictions v world heavyweight champion boxer Anthony Joshua

  • Think you can do better than Lawro? Predict the score for this match and the rest of this round’s Premier League fixtures in our Predictor game.
Villa's Ashley Westwood<!–

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Southampton have only lost one of their previous eight league and cup games against Aston Villa (W4, D3), and are unbeaten in the last five meetings.

Aston Villa

  • Villa have suffered nine straight league defeats – the second worst run in the club’s history. They lost 11 in a row in 1963.
  • They have conceded 25 goals in those nine defeats, scoring just three goals.
  • They have spent just 184 minutes in the lead in Premier League matches this season – the lowest tally in the division.

Southampton

  • Saints have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last eight league games – having kept six in a row prior to this run.
  • Southampton have lost only three of their last 14 top-flight matches.
  • They have scored 14 Premier League away goals this term – only four sides (Norwich, West Brom, Villa and Newcastle) have worse records.
  • Sadio Mane has scored three goals in his last four Premier League games after failing to score in his previous 19 appearances.
  • Shane Long has scored five goals in his last six league appearances against Aston Villa.

SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) is a super-computer created by Professor Ian McHale at the University of Salford that is used to predict the outcome of football matches.

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