Aston Villa v Southampton
Aston Villa kick off the weekend of football on Friday night in a must win home tie against Southampton. Villa come into this game just above the relegation zone with just a single win after 6 games. Although, the previous game week showcased the talent and ability Aston Villa have in their side after drawing 1-1 at home to the Premier League champions Manchester City – a result that Aston Villa will have walked away from thinking they probably deserved more. If they can put in a performance like this on Friday against Southampton, they have a great chance of adding more points to the board and begin to put a disappointing start to the season behind them.
As for Southampton, the inconsistency has been a major issue at the beginning of their campaign, after claiming a fantastic 2-1 victory over Chelsea at the end of August, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side then followed up this result with a 1-0 loss against Wolves in GW6 leaving them sat in 12th on 7 points.
Southampton will look to exploit the wide areas on Friday night through Armstrong and Elyounoussi and look to find target man Che Adam’s as much as possible who will keep Tyrone Mings on his toes throughout the game. The Scotland international turned the game around in GW3 vs Leicester after coming on as a sub in the 59th minute scoring both goals after coming from behind to win 2-1 on the day. As for Aston Villa, they have some amazing attacking talent in the final third which has shown after scoring in 4 of the 6 league fixtures this season but it’s the same old story for Aston Villa fans… the defence. Failing to keep a clean sheet in the last 6 home league fixtures with their last in the league coming on the opening day of the season in a 2-0 victory over Bournemouth.
Although, Southampton was only able to test Wolves keeper Jose Sa once in their 1-0 loss to Wolves at the start of September, which is something that needs to drastically improve if they are going to test themselves throughout the season.
Aston Villa ran riot in this fixture last season coming out 4-0 winners on the day back in March and will want a repeat on Friday – although the last time Gerrard’s side found the net more than twice in a game was back in May (1-3 win vs Burnley). Each of the last 5 meetings between these two, has been settled with either side taking all three points with both teams on scoring once in those games.
Having seen the performance against Manchester City I am quietly confident Aston Villa can find a result here. Safe bet would be to double chance Villa in this one, but odds of 1/4 are a tad short for me.
Nottingham Forest v Fulham
Let’s hope the initiation songs have come to end in the Forest camp and they can turn their attention to Friday night where they host fellow promotion boys Fulham. Now that the transfer window has finally closed Steve Cook will be trying to work out his best starting eleven after welcoming 22 new faces into the club across the summer. Forest come into this game sat in 19th with 4 points from 6 games. As for Fulham – who will be many people’s surprises of the season so far – sit mid-table in 10th on 8 points.
Steve Cook and his side will still be having nightmares from their 3-2 loss against Bournemouth, after leading the game 2-0 up until the 51st minute where Philip Billing began the comeback for The Cherries, who pinched all three points in the 87th minute after Forest finally collapsed.
Forest’s only clean sheet came in their only victory too, in GW2 vs West Ham (1-0). Since then, they have conceded 12 goals in 4 games. It’s a stat that will make Alexander Mitrovic lick his lips. Fulham’s number 9 has scored 6 of the clubs 9 goals so far this season and looks a massive threat to every Premier League defence he comes up against. Only once has the big Serbian striker failed to find the net in the Premier League this season (0-0 vs Wolves) and I fancy him to score again on Friday evening.
Defensively for Fulham, it hasn’t been great. Keeping one clean sheet and conceding at least two goals in 4 of the 5 other games, is a cause for concern as they can’t keep relying on Mitrovic to drag them through 38 games this season. Averaging 1.5 goals conceded per game for Fulham, gives Forest a slight chance of getting something from this game, and after 3 straight losses Forest will be desperate to get back to winning ways. They have put in positive performances at times but failing to take opportunities when they arrive. Forest had 11 attempts on the Bournemouth goal last time out and if they want to go toe-to-toe with Fulham, they will have to be more clinical in front of goal. The speed of youngster Brennan Johnson and the creativity of Jesse Lingard and Morgan Gibbs-White will cause Fulham problems defensively.
I fancy both teams to find the net in this one with Fulham edging it to take all 3 points for me.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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