Orsics’ experience and ability could be the difference for Southampton moving into the second half of the season, as he was labelled a “real attacking threat” by Jones. Aston Villa Aston Villa has also been busy in the transfer window - Danny Ings transferred from the Villains to West Ham, after boss David Moyes revealed that striker Gianluca Scamacca is out with a knee injury. Top scorer Ings had only started one game under the new leadership of Unai Emery and with his contract running low, the offer for more game time from the Hammers was easy for the Englishman.
All the good news about recent victories and performances will be soon forgotten if Aston Villa's visit to St Mary's on Saturday falls short of expectations, as fixtures around Southampton could go their way. A mini-league of sorts has developed at the bottom half of the Premier League table, with six teams on the same amount of points. This weekend, Wolverhampton face an uphill challenge as they visit giants Manchester City which will prove difficult for them to pick up any points given City’s winning home record. Bournemouth faces Nottingham Forest, with the Reds vying for points to see them move up the league after they have turned around their form. Struggling West Ham and Everton face each other, and the best case for the Saints would be a draw as this would give them an opportunity to leap from the bottom to 14th place at the highest. Southampton’s big fixture this weekend should prompt Nathan Jones to introduce recent signing Mislav Orsic into the starting eleven, after not featuring in last week’s fixture against Everton.
Alex Moreno, who replaced Lucas Digne early on due to injury, should hold his place following a strong start against Leeds. Ollie Watkins has returned to full training and is expected to replace the departed Danny Ings. Predicted Line Ups Southampton: Bazunu; Caleta-Car, Salisu, Lyanco; Elyanoussi, Diallo, Lavia, Walker-Peters; Ward-Prowse; Orisic, Adams.
The Villains most recently trumped a valiant Leeds side 2-1, a suitable response after turning around their shock exit to Stevenage in the FA Cup and haven’t lost in the league so far this year. Their recent turnaround in form since new management sees Villa 11th in the table, just behind struggling Liverpool and Chelsea. Emery’s side went ahead after a quick goal from Leon Bailey in the third minute which was then matched by Emiliano Buendia’s simple tap-in, but a consolation goal from Patrick Bamford saw Villa lose their clean sheet. A win here for Villa could see them on level points with Liverpool and Chelsea, but with both teams playing each other this weekend, Villa can capitalise and could move up one place to tenth, edging closer to the fight at the top half of the table.
Southampton v Aston Villa, 2022/23 | Premier League