Ronald Koeman Praises Aston Villa’s Different Style and Playing ‘More Football’

Southampton v Aston Villa 2015

While Villa’s league status no longer looks quite so precarious, we’re not quite there yet, though other results could see us safe regardless of the Villa score. Still, it’s never wise to rely on other results, and considering the form Villa are in, a win to secure Premier League survival is certainly achievable. Southampton are on the opposite spectrum in terms of form, but will be keen to win their last home game of the season as they eye a place in the Europa League. It certainly looks like a game with lots of goals…

It’s been five years since Villa last won three consecutive league matches

Koeman on Villa

“I think they changed their style a little bit when the new manager came in. They play more football, more offensive. It’s a different style than in the beginning.
“They reach the final of the FA Cup, that’s a great achievement for them and they need maybe one or two points to get out of relegation.
“It will be a tough one because the team is showing the qualities and like Leicester they play with a lot of confidence and that’s always difficult to beat.”

Sherwood on Southampton

“They have good players. Ronald Koeman has inherited a good group of players and he’s added to it. They have had a very good season.

“It will be a tough game. We know they have quality – but we have also. They will be playing a very confident Villa side.

“It’s a tough place to play football. But it’s nothing to be scared of.

“We’re doing well. But what’s gone on in the past counts for nothing. It’s about getting over the line and we’re very close to doing that.”

Memory Match

4th December 2013 Southampton 2 Aston Villa 3

Despite only having 22% possession, goals from Agbonlahor, Kozak and Delph secured the points.

Southampton – Last five matches at home: W 3, D 1, L 1 

Villa – Last five matches away: W 2, L 3

Villa have only lost one of the last five league meetings at St Mary’s

One to Watch

Steven Davis – the ex-Villa midfielder could make his 100th Premier League appearance on Saturday



Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet

While Southampton’s form doesn’t look great, they are currently on their best ever number of Premier League points at 57. Villa on the other hand need a point to eclipse our lowest league campaign total of 38 points (recorded in the 2011/12 and 2013/14 seasons).

Southampton have lost a few games recently but their three recent defeats were away from home. They have taken 10 points from their last four home games – keeping three clean sheets in the process.

Success at St. Mary’s is also enjoyed by in-form striker Graziano Pelle, who has scored 10 of his 11 league goals at home this season.

Our recent form has been superb but another win might just be too much to ask, especially considering it’s been five years since Villa last won three consecutive league matches.

Despite enjoying two consecutive victories at Villa Park, it’s also worth remembering that Villa have lost 8 of their last 10 away matches….

“They play with a lot of confidence and that’s always difficult to beat” – Koeman on Villa

What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide

As well as Benteke’s excellent form it has been great to see other players chipping in with the goals, particularly Tom Cleverley.

It would be nice to see Jack Grealish, recently the subject of well-deserved acclaim, open his account for the club.

Sherwood is rightly focused on Villa rather than worrying about Hull City’s results, though ideally we will get a bit of luck at the expense of Steve Bruce’s men.

Hopefully we see a performance typical of the Sherwood revolution, a revolution that has seen Villa climb out of the relegation zone while recording some impressive results.

Such has been Villa’s improvement (we had only 22 points before Sherwood arrived) that it would be unfair for Premier League survival to rest on the final match of the season. We’ve played too well recently for that.

Let’s hope the good form continues so that we can enjoy a worry-free match against Burnley next weekend.

Since Sherwood’s arrival, Benteke has scored more goals (10) than any other player

Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag

Paul Lambert recently said that he knew Villa would be safe when players returned from injury. While this could be seen as making excuses, he did have a point. Our injuries list has seemed never-ending!

Thankfully though, we look about as full-strength as we’ll ever be at the moment, and even with the team performing well it’s good to have decent options from the bench, if needed.

Southampton have only taken one point from their last four matches, conceding twice in all four games, while Villa have scored eight goals in the last four away matches – one more than we achieved in 22 previous league games!

And of course, we boast one of the most clinical strikers in the division. Since Sherwood’s arrival, Benteke has scored more goals than any other player (10) … from just 13 shots on target. How about that for a ratio!?

Ever since that 4-1 humiliation in Lambert’s first season, we’ve usually done OK against Southampton, who have won just one of six league matches against Villa at St. Marys.

All that we need to do now is record a win against Koeman’s side, then we can look forward to a Cup Final, and finally start to consider the promise of next season.

We’ve seen that Sherwood can be an excellent motivator, and his league objective is almost accomplished.

Hopefully Villa fans will be smiling on Saturday afternoon.


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