Mornings are usually best on the weekend, but I sense today and tomorrow are going to be long for me. Today is cold and wet and I'm sat here by myself. The kids are out so I've made a fire, put the radio on and decided that this is going to be the best post I've written all month.
I'm also going to ask you to participate today in the form of this poll on the best modern day Aston Villa manager.
So, the idea for this poll came from someone on Twitter who complained about a TalkSport poll asking fans to vote for their worst ever manager. And they were right. And on purpose I've started this poll where I did because we would know the winner if I didn't and I've also not included Dean Smith, because he's still in the job and shouldn't be judged on what he hasn't completed.
Signing off on the poll is the reason why you selected that manager. You don't need to answer that question, but I think it would be interesting to see the reasons why too.
You'll I hope also be pleased to know that there is no wrong answer and it's not a competition, it's just getting a view from what supporters think. Maybe I'll ask it again one day and maybe it will be different.
Or we don't need to ask it again. The optimism is nice right?
Ultimately though and I alluded to this in the previous post, this match against Southampton is very important. They are playing well and we've had such a good start this season, but it could all look very different if we don't win tomorrow. And I don't think there is anything wrong in writing that.
Southampton at Villa Park
And this probably sounds obvious, but we have to look at what happened against Leeds and learn from it and by this, I mean we have to go out from the first whistle and want to win this match. I'm not saying we didn't want to beat Leeds, I'm saying that we let them play the way they wanted to play from the first whistle and when you do that in this League, you are making it harder.
And this is going to read a little silly, but we have to want to win and by that, I mean we have to attack at Southampton tomorrow and want to score five goals and believe we're going to score five. And we have to work as a team. We can't start slowly and let Southampton play the way they want to. Tomorrow is going to be interesting, because anything other than a win and it's not going to feel great and despite the start we've had, it will be flat.
We have an opportunity and we have to take it. Not hope it's just going to happen.
Match facts from the BBC
- Southampton could earn four consecutive league wins against Aston Villa for the first time since August 1989.
- Saints can match their longest Premier League unbeaten away run against one team, which stands at six matches against both Bolton Wanderers and Crystal Palace.
- Villa are winless in the past seven Premier League meetings and have conceded 16 goals in the last five.
- The 3-0 home defeat by Leeds last time out ended Aston Villa's eight-match unbeaten league run (W6, D2).
- Villa can win five of their opening six matches of a top-flight season for the third time, emulating 1906-07 and 1930-31.
- Aston Villa's fifth league victory last season didn't come until their 19th fixture, on Boxing Day.
- They have taken 10 points from their past four top-flight matches played on a Sunday.
- Dean Smith's side have the division's best defensive record so far, conceding five goals and keeping three clean sheets.
- Ten points after six games represents Southampton's best start to a season since 2014.
- Southampton's tally of 12 top-flight wins in 2020 is bettered only by Liverpool and Manchester City.
- Their only defeat in the past eight Premier League away matches came at Crystal Palace on the opening weekend of this season (W4, D3, L1).
- Manager Ralph Hasenhüttl has won 13 away fixtures in the Premier League, just one behind Ronald Koeman's club record tally.
- Hasenhüttl's average of 1.42 points per away game in the Premier League is the best ratio of any Southampton manager.
- Shane Long has been directly involved in 11 goals in his eight most recent Premier League appearances against Aston Villa, scoring seven and setting up four.
- Che Adams has scored six goals in 12 top-flight matches for Southampton, having failed to score in any of his first 24 appearances in the division.
- James Ward-Prowse celebrates his 26th birthday on the day of this match. The only Southampton player to score a Premier League goal on his birthday was Neil Maddison in October 1993.