Paul Lambert needs a win more than any other Premier League manager this weekend after his side’s embarrassing midweek defeat to Bradford in the Capital One Cup, and who better to record it against than one their relegation rivals?
A price of 7/5 to win at home against a recently promoted club underlines the dire straits that Aston Villa currently find themselves in, but this should really prove profitable when you consider that Southampton have not managed to win any of their last four league games and were dealt a 5-1 FA Cup thumping by Chelsea last time out.
Saints can be backed at 15/8 to land another gut-busting blow to Lambert’s hopes of steering his Villans clear of the drop-zone, while the draw – which isn’t ideal for either team – is available at 23/10.
A solitary point separates these two who have been embarking on a long-running flirt with relegation and, with two spots looking as though they are already taken, only one of them will get to take it home when the lights come on in May.
Ascertaining who the more likely candidate for the drop is isn’t easy, as both are equipped with the suspect backlines required to fall through the Premier League trapdoor, exemplified by the five goals they plated up in the reverse fixture at St Mary’s.
All the signs point to goal-fest number two occurring when the pair renew hostilities for the second time this season.
A tasty 12/5 is the bounty offered for the game to yield over 3.5 goals and has to be worth dipping a toe into when you consider the fact that Villa’s last eight games in all competitions have produced an eye-watering 35 goals.
Defensively, Saints have reigned it in a touch following a porous start to the campaign, but after playing their part in a six-goal thriller on their last road trip, they’re proving that old habits die hard and they will find Villa’s new-found penchant for claiming the starring role on Match of the Day very hard to resist.
Bearing this in mind, a punt on over 4.5 goals might prove a shrewd move at 11/2, whereas both teams to score is nowhere near as profitable at 4/6, but is as close as you’re going to get to a shoo-in this weekend.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date