The late game on Saturday sees two of the season’s surprise packages collide at St Mary’s, as Southampton host Aston Villa.
If you’d offered both sides their current position at the halfway stage, they’d likely have both been happy with the deal. Villa sit tenth, six points off the top five with two games in hand, while Southampton have the same amount of points from a game more.
The aim for both is to mount a challenge for a European place, despite both suffering recent wobbles in form.
Villa are coming off the back of a disappointing loss to Burnley in a game they led twice, while Arsenal got the better of the Saints on Monday, leapfrogging them in the table in the process.
Both sides will be hoping to return to winning ways on the South Coast, and have easing injury worries to help them do so.
Southampton have been decimated by injuries recently, but will have four players available again for the visit of Villa. Oriol Romeu, Nathan Redmond and Moussa Djenepo should play some part, and captain Ryan Bertrand returns after suspension.
Kyle Walker-Peters, Michael Obefemi, Nathan Tella, Mohamed Salisu and Jannik Vestergaard are all still out, while Will Smallbone had knee surgery this week and will miss the rest of the season.
Villa have a far less busy treatment table, with only Wesley and Kortney Hause missing. Wesley isn’t far off a return from an ACL injury, while Hause has an ankle issue. New signing Morgan Sanson will be involved for the first time in a Villa shirt, following his £15m move from Marseille earlier this week.
A win for either side would see them end the weekend in the top half and continue their ambitions of a top eight finish, something that both sets of fans would have been thrilled with at the start of the season.
Southampton take on Aston Villa at St Mary’s on Saturday, January 30th. Kick-off is at 8pm.