Aston Villa welcome Southampton to Villa Park in Friday Night Football as the Premier League resumes following a sombre weekend off.
Victory could lift Villa as high as 12th in the table, whereas Southampton can go sixth with a win if Fulham loses elsewhere.
Matty Cash is ruled out for Aston Villa with a thigh strain until after the international break.
Diego Carlos (Achilles) remains absent indefinitely.
Southampton could hand Duje Caleta-Car his debut if he is declared match fit.
Valentino Livramento (knee) and Romeo Lavia (muscle) remain ruled out.
- Aston Villa have won two of their last 11 league meetings against Southampton (W2, D3, L6).
- Southampton have lost just one of their last seven visits to Villa Park (W4, D2, L1).
- Ollie Watkins has scored in each of Villa’s last two home matches against Southampton (W1, L1).
- Boubacar Kamara has produced more blocks than any other Villa player this season (5).
- Che Adams has had more shots than any other Southampton player this season (10).
Having endured a rough start to the season and faced difficult opposition in their last two matches, Villa can be commended for how bravely they fought Arsenal then Manchester City in the space of the three days amidst questions over Steven Gerrard’s future as manager.
Focusing on the City game in particular, they can’t be faulted for their defensive pressing and counterattacking, as both aspects of their tactics coupled with fighting spirit saw them fight back for a deserved draw.
Southampton meanwhile simply lacked end product in their defeat at Wolves last time out, whilst small marking errors plus Che Adams’ handball both proved costly in an otherwise close contest so I do expect to see improvement here.
Villa Park though has been favourable to the Saints in recent seasons which will provide them with additional motivation so I do expect an entertaining battle, especially if Villa can continue to build upon their last two performances.
Prediction: Aston Villa 1-1 Southampton
Result: Aston Villa 1-0 Southampton