Two sides whose recent form represents night and day meet at St.Mary’s, with Southampton reeling and Aston Villa going from strength to strength under Tim Sherwood.
There have been plenty of times this season when 3/4 would have looked a cherry-ripe price for the high-flying Saints to see off struggling Aston Villa.
However, in football, tides can change in dramatic fashion. Having picked up only a single point out of 12, suddenly the threat of dropping out of Europa League contention altogether is lapping at Southampton’s ankles.
The usually reliable defence Ronald Koeman has proudly assembled on the south coast has sprung leaks, with exactly two goals shipped in each of the last four games (1D 3L) while prior to that just eight had been conceded in 14.
What Saints fans will not want to see therefore, is a buoyant Villa side in town, who look like the hottest away price in the division at 4/1.
The Villans 1-0 victory at Tottenham at the beginning of April was the catalyst for a run of four wins out of five in all competitions heading into this contest, as Sherwood’s steadying hand has steered the Midlands outfit away from peril.
Only a last-gasp Fernandinho winner prevented them earning a 2-2 draw at Manchester City during this run, while Liverpool were roundly outplayed at Wembley as an FA Cup final spot was also booked.
Players such as Christian Benteke – with 10 goals from his last 13 shots on target in the Premier League – and Tom Cleverley, with three in three, are reborn.
Whatever has gone wrong for Saints of late it could be another tough afternoon for Koeman and co, with guaranteed safety on the horizon for their guests.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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