Aston Villa go into their fixture with Southampton looking to avoid a tenth straight defeat as their season lurches from one disaster to the next.
Club captain Gabriel Agbonlahor was suspended by the club this week after being pictured inhaling laughing gas on the day Villa’s relegation was confirmed last weekend, whilst Joleon Lescott infuriated fans by suggesting that this would be a “weight off their shoulders.”
Villa’s current run of nine defeats on the bounce is the second worst in their illustrious history, and they have conceded 25 goals and scored just three in the process. If Villa continue their losing run and finish on 16 points, they would become the third worst Premier League team of all time behind Derby (2007/08) and Sunderland (2005/06).
Another loss on Saturday would also bring up another unwanted record for the hosts, as it would be the first time in Premier League history that they have lost six home games in a row.
Last weekend’s draw at Everton left Southampton eight points off a European spot with just four games to play, and it looks like the Saints will fall just short of a place in the top five.
A recent dearth of clean sheets has contributed to this – having stopped the opposition scoring in six consecutive matches recently, it has now been eight matches since they have achieved a shut-out.
However, Ronald Koeman’s side have a good recent record against Villa. They have lost just one of the last eight matches in all competitions against the Midlands side, and are unbeaten in the last five of those.
Defender Jores Okore joins the suspended Agbonlahor on the absentee list for the hosts after a falling out with caretaker manager Eric Black, whilst fellow defenders Kieran Richardson and Ciaran Clark are doubts.
For the visitors; Jose Fonte and Victor Wanyama are both fit despite picking up knocks last weekend, but Charlie Austin and Florian Gardos remained sidelined.
League Positions: Aston Villa – 20th (16 pts); Southampton – 8th (51 pts)
Previous Meeting: Southampton 1-1 Aston Villa – December 5, 2015
Form: Aston Villa – LLLLLL; Southampton – DWWLWD
Key Players: Aston Villa – Jordan Ayew; Southampton – Sadio Mane
Shoot Says: Aston Villa 0-2 Southampton