Southampton vs. Aston Villa: Lineups And Open Match Thread

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: Christian Benteke of Aston Villa celebrates after he scores the second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Swansea City at Villa Park on September 15, 2012 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

SOUTHAMPTON

OVERALL: 0-0-4, 0 P, -9 GD

POSITION: 20th

LAST 5: LLLL-

STARTING XI: Paulo Gazzaniga, Nathaniel Clyne, Maya Yoshida, Morgan Schneiderlin, Jose Fonte, Rickie Lambert, Steven Davis, Gaston Ramirez, Danny Fox, Adam Lallana, Jason Puncheon.

SUBS: Kelvin Davis, Jay Rodriguez, James Ward-Prowse, Guly Do Prado, Frazer Richardson, Emmanuel Mayuka, Danny Seaborne


ASTON VILLA

OVERALL: 1-1-2, 4 P, -1 GD

POSITION: 13th

LAST 5: WDLL-

STARTING XI: Brad Guzan, Matthew Lowton, Ron Vlaar (c), Ciaran Clark, Eric Lichaj, Brett Holman, Karim El Ahmadi, Stephen Ireland, Barry Bannan, Christian Benteke, Darren Bent.

SUBS: Shay Given, Jordan Bowery, Gabby Agbonlahor, Charles N'Zogbia, Andi Weimann, Ashley Westwood, Joe Bennett.


Related: Southampton vs. Aston Villa Preview | Follow us on Twitter



WHAT TO WATCH FOR:

  • Aston VIlla's defense has looked quite good three of their first four games, but Southampton is going to do their best to test them. With Villa a decent bet to hold their own in the possession battle, the real danger is going to come on the counter; if the home side can find the gaps when they catch Villa out, they've got the players to make them pay.
  • We've seen progressively more creativity and acumen for unlocking defenses from Villa over the past few games. Chances that weren't being created against West Ham or Everton are there now, but they still aren't being converted. At some point one would think that will change, and Southampton's suspect back line looks as good a candidate as any to facilitate.
  • Darren Bent isn't scoring, but he is doing a lot of other good things. That's all well and good and the effort should be commended, but he is what he is; a poacher, plain and simple. And at a certain point, that willingness to drop deep and contribute in the link-up play can turn into tentativeness around goal. It's not uncommon to see from strikers in a scoring drought; hopefully it's put to rest before it really gets going.
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