Aston Villa vs Southampton | Sunday 1st November 2020, 12:00 | Sky Sports Box Office
Aston Villa’s winning start to the season came to an abrupt end, when they were dismantled by Leeds.
Dean Smith’s side were in the game at the break, but Patrick Bamford’s 19-minute hat-trick saw the Villains taste defeat for the first time in the league this season.
Southampton started the season with back-to-back defeats but the tide has turned on the south coast, with Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side now four unbeaten.
They kept league leaders Everton at arms length on Sunday, where two first-half goals saw them seal their third win of the campaign. In fact, only Liverpool and Man City have won more games in 2020 than the Saints.
Villa have to bounce back and prove their start isn’t a flash in the pan, while Southampton are steadily going under the radar and should be pushing for a European place come the end of the campaign.
This should be a decent game for the neutral with plenty of attacking talent on show. Che Adams has six in 12, and two in two, Danny Ings needs no introduction, while Villa have Jack Grealish, who had created 106 goalscoring chances since the start of last season.
The right way to go
When doing the research for this game it was quite noticeable how both sides like to attack down their left flanks. 43% of Villa’s play comes down that side, while it’s a percentage higher for the Saints at 44%.
That puts two men into the spotlight and opens up a number of markets for me. They are Kyle Walker-Peters and Matty Cash.
Let’s start with Walker-Peters, who has already made 12 tackles this season, an average of 2.2 per game. They include some big numbers with six v Crystal Palace and three v Chelsea.
Add in the fact he’s walked a disciplinary tightrope this season having already picked up three cards, including two in the last three.
He’ll face Grealish, who we know likes to drive forward and take-on opponents with the ball. He’s already been fouled 18 times this season making Walker-Peters an ideal player to target in this game.
Matty Cash has racked up 18 tackles for Villa, an average of 3.6 per game. Like KWP, he’s got some big numbers on his record this season. The fact he made seven v Fulham, four against Leicester and five last time out screams a heavy involvement once more up against Ryan Bertrand and Nathan Redmond.
He generally commits a couple of fouls per game too, so referee Darren England should have his card marked, although Cash has proved somewhat illusive for escaping punishment. That said, he’s got two cards to his name, and with his tackle stats the 5/1 for a card looks rather bulbous.
In recent games involving the Saints, right-backs have been kept fairly busy, with the likes of Dara O’Shea and Ben Godfrey both making 3+ tackles.
Those are the two key players, I’ll be focusing my bets around with the card prices both temptingly priced given the likelihood of their involvement. I’ll be taking both as singles, but combining them is chalked up at 40/1 in the Bet365 Bet Builder.
Other markets to note
While I’ve been slightly carried away on those two above players, I did have a look at some of the shooting data so far.
It’s only a small sample but it was interesting to see that one of Southampton’s centre-backs has had a shot in five of six league games, with one on target in four of the six.
Jannik Vestergaard has hit the target in the last couple of Southampton games, while Jan Bednarek tested Sam Johnstone in the win over West Brom. It’s understandable why they do offer a threat from set-pieces with the delivery of James Ward-Prowse.
So, that could be an angle. And I did consider the possibility of Southampton shots. Leeds cut through this Villa side and recorded 27 shots here at Villa Park, while Liverpool recorded 14 in their 7-2 defeat and even Fulham had 16.
While that was enticing me even more, it seems like Sky Bet have been quite shrewd on the team shots market. They go 5/6 for 13+ for the Saints, and Hasenhüttl’s side have hit that number, bang on, in each of their last three games.
The price is skinny enough for that one, but better than some of the bars set by rival firms, yet it’s one I’ll leave alone for the time being to focus on the two main men.