Last Updated: 04/12/13 10:11pm
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Aston Villa extended their unbeaten run to five Premier League matches with a thrilling 3-2 victory against Southampton at St Mary's Stadium. Fabian Delph scored the winner with a stunning long-range strike. It was his first Premier League goal. Gabby Agbonlahor had given Villa a first-half lead before Jay Rodriguez levelled three minutes after the break. Libor Kozak headed the visitors back in front after 64 minutes. But Dani Osvaldo headed home five minutes later. Ten minutes before time, Delph fired in the winner from 25 yards.
Gabby Agbonlahor has dropped into a deeper position as Rickie Lambert's shot deflects away for a corner.
Southampton head coach Mauricio Pochettino looks completely stunned on the touchline. Looks like his side are going to suffer their third defeat in a row, unless...
Nathan Baker climbs all over Rickie Lambert on the edge of the box. This is in a very dangerous position.
So Andreas Weimann comes on for Villa in place of Karim El Ahmadi. He's only scored once in the league this season has the Austrian!
Andreas Weimann is preparing to come on as Paul Lambert looks to send on a player with yet more lightning pace.
What a magnificent goal from Fabian Delph! Villa hit Saints on the counter-attack and the midfielder hits a stunning left-foot firecracker from 30 yards, which flies into the top corner past Paulo Gazzaniga's despairing dive.
The heart of the Villa defence is suffering without Ron Vlaar. Saints are pumping the ball into the box at every opportunity.
Adam Lallana's cross finds Jay Rodriguez in the middle, but his header is parried behind for a corner by Guzan.
Paul Lambert's side have failed to score in five of their last seven Premier League games, but scored exactly two in each of the other two games ... make that two in the other three games now!. And Saints have lost just one of their last 11 Premier League games at St Mary's (W6 D4 L1), including winning the last four in a row. They're aiming for a fifth after that goal!
Game on again! Jose Fonte's cross from the right is headed back across goal by Rickie Lambert for Dani Osvaldo to nod home from close-range.
Dani Osvaldo's strike is well held by Brad Guzan. At the other end, Christian Benteke snatches at a half-chance from the edge of the area.
Christian Benteke is sandwiched between two defenders and claims a penalty, but referee Jonathan Moss waves play on.
Karim El Ahmadi wins the ball off Jack Cork down the right before delivering a sublime cross for Czech star Libor Kozak to score his third goal of the season.
Rickie Lambert flashes a right-foot shot on the half-volley, but the ball flies way over the crossbar.
Villa are proving hard to beat away from home and are aiming to claim a fourth successive draw on the road. They're on course at the moment, but Southampton are so dominant, you can only see one winner!
Rickie Lambert's cross is well held by Brad Guzan. The keeper then launches the ball long, looking for Czech international Libor Kozak.
Jose Fonte comes on in place of the injured Nathaniel Clyne. Looks like he has moved to right-back for now, although he can play in central defence.
Nathaniel Clyne is struggling on the halway line and has indicated that he might not be able to carry on.
Eoin Martin says: "Villa really need to step up their game, 22 per cent is way too poor for a side of this calibre, hope concrete Ron's alright, he's key in this young Villa side."
Southampton have recorded 22 wins in 69 games against Aston Villa (Villa winning 27 of them). Villa fans start shouting Christian Benteke's name.
Mauricio Pochettino's side are on the front foot and in total command of this game. Dani Osvaldo is felled by Nathan Baker.
You can't argue with the fact that Southampton deserved that goal for their first-half play. How key was the absence of Ron Vlaar in the heart of the Villa defence though!
What a header! Nathaniel Clyne's right-footed cross is headed into the far corner by Jay Rodriguez. The perfect start to the second-half if you're a Saints fan.
Ron Vlaar has picked up a calf injury and Villa come close to a second, but Karim El Ahmadi fires wide from a tight angle.
Ron Vlaar has been replaced by Matt Lowton for Villa while Jack Cork has come on for Victor Wanyama in a second change for Southampton.
If you'd like to air your views during the second-half, email Raz...that's me! at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet me: @RazMirza and I'll publish the best.
Southampton are now 11/4 to claim victory with our friends @Skybet, who make Aston Villa Evens and the draw 2/1. Rickie Lambert is 5/1 to score next, while Jay Rodriguez is 6/1 and Adam Lallana is 8/1. Gabby Agbonlahor is 12/1 to score again for Villa. I went for a draw tonight - 1-1, which was priced at 6/1 and is now 5/2. Well worth a flutter in my book! Head now to SKYBET to place your bets on this match.
Villa are somehow leading Southampton 1-0 at the break. No Christian Benteke for the visitors, but they have Gabby Agbonlahor in their ranks tonight and he scored his first goal since May in the 15th minute. The striker skipped past Maya Yoshida on the halfway line and then slipped Dejan Lovren before cleverly lifting the ball over goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga. Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez have both struck the woodwork for Saints in a half they dominated. Dejan Lovren's goalbound header was blocked by his own player, Rodriguez.
Gabby Agbonlahor is a bit unfortunate as the ball hits him in the chest and referee Jonathan Moss awards a free-kick for handball. We're into ONE added minute of stoppage time.
Villa are struggling to find their men up front. Antonio Luna's throw is poor and he fails to collect the return.
Dani Osvaldo will support Rickie Lambert in attack. It will be interesting to see what formation they will play with now. Possibly 4-4-1-1 or just a good old 4-4-2.
Dani Osvaldo is set to come on for Saints as they attack. Jay Rodriguez plays the ball acorss the box, but nobody is there to slot it home.
Luke Shaw's ambitious left-foot strike from 25 yards is straight into the midriff of goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
Evertime Rickie Lambert collects the ball, he is crowded out. His through ball looks to find Adam Lallana, but across comes Ciaran Clark.
Villa are still dangerous on the break and Karim El Ahmadi does his best to try and reach a loose pass.
The Saints have lost two successive Premier League games. They have not lost three in a row under Mauricio Pochettino. It looks like Victor Wanyama is sitting deeper now and that is helping Southampton keep more of the ball.
Southampton had conceded once in their previous five matches at home matches before today's game. They're piling on the pressure again, but Jay Rodriguez loses his balance as he tries to shoot.
HUGE SLICE OF LUCK! From the resulting corner, the unmarked Dejan Lovren heads the ball on target, but Jay Rodriguez blocks the ball, which looked to be heading into the back of the net.
GREAT SAVE! Jay Rodriguez's goalbound header is brilliantly palmed behind by the outstretched Brad Guzan.
Southampton coach Mauricio Pochettino has a few words with Steven Davis before sending back into the action.
Leandro Bacuna earns his side a corner and Nathan Baker climbs above everybody, but completely mis-heads the ball wide of the target.
Paul Lambert's side have failed to score in five of their last seven Premier League games, but scored exactly two in each of the other two games. They're 1-0 up at St Mary's and are looking for a second on the counter-attack now.
What must Southampton head coach Mauricio Pochettino be thinking? His side have struck the crossbar and the post.
Talk about smash and grab! Gabby Agbonlahor scores his first goal since May. Villa break and the striker skips past Maya Yoshida on the halfway line and then Dejan Lovren before cleverly lifting the ball over goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga. That's his 64th top flight goal! Saints were badly caught out at the back.
OFF THE POST! Jay Rodriguez's 25-yard strike is fumbled onto the post by Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
Brad Guzan looked to have just come out of his area before handling the ball, but referee Jonathan Moss thinks otherwise. The home supporters inside St Mary's give their opinion with loud boos.
Victor Wanyama looks for Luke Shaw's run, but Leandro Bacuna comes across to make an important block.
OFF THE CROSSBAR! Adam Lallana's deflected cross clips the top of Brad Guzan's bar and comes out to safety. He was six inches away from handing Southampton an early lead.
CHANCE! Rickie Lambert finds Adam Lallana and he turns brilliantly before seeing his goalbound shot blocked by skipper Ron Vlaar.
Villa look to have set-up with a 5-3-2 system, while Southampton are playing with a more traditional 4-3-2-1 formation.
Saints are in their traditional all-red kit, while Villa are in their away strip of claret and white squared shirts, claret shorts and socks. They get the game underway! St Mary's Stadium is still filling up as supporters make their way into the ground.
Great comments! Keep them coming in during the game folks. Email Raz...that's me! at email@example.com or Tweet me: @RazMirza and I'll publish as many as I can.
Villa fan Malcolm Watts says: "As a Villa Supporter for over 50 years, I think a 2-2 draw the most likely outcome! But Villa might surprise Saints and win by an odd goal! Villa do have a good formation and will switch between 3-5-2 and 5-3-2. A big night for Gabby Agbonlahor!"
Kev Brown from Southampton writes in to say: "There has been talk recently that teams have found out the way southampton play and know how to nullify our game. I don't agree with that as it's no new mythical way of playing you just have to be fit, determined, press high and work as a unit. Which we will continue to do with success Chelsea and Arsenal have fantastic experienced players that's why they beat us!"
Southampton are 4/6 to claim victory with our friends @Skybet, who make Aston Villa 4/1 and the draw 14/5. Rickie Lambert is the favourite to score first and will take comfort from his record of three goals in two games against the Villans in the Premier League last term - he's 7/1 to score a brace. Jay Rodriguez is 5/1 while Adam Lallana is 15/2 to score first. Villa are proving hard to beat away from home and will be aiming to claim a fourth successive draw on the road, so I'm hedging my bets and going for a draw tonight - 1-1, which is priced at 6/1. Rickie Lambert and Christian Benteke both to score is an 8/1 shout. Well worth a flutter in my book! Head now to SKYBET to place your bets on this match.
Paul Lambert believes there has to be a bit of 'realism' about the expecatations at Villa this season. However, there was no indication in his pre-match press-conference that he was going to drop Christian Benteke to the bench. "We are 11th and there are some big clubs below us," he said. "The crazy thing is we're just five points off Tottenham, who are regarded as one of the 'big ones'. The game on Saturday wasn't great entertainment, put it that way. And we were the home team. But you've got to have a bit of realism."
Mauricio Pochettino says his side are looking to bounce back from their heavy defeat at Chelsea at the weekend: "We don't have time to dwell on our two consecutive defeats," he said. "We have lost on two very difficult grounds at Arsenal and Chelsea, so now we will try to impose our values and get the win over Aston Villa. I am expecting a physical game. Aston Villa are a strong side and very good on the counter-attack, especially away from home."
Southampton had endured a good run of form at the start of the Premier League season, but after suffering successive losses to Arsenal and Chelsea where the Saints crumbled to a 3-1 loss at Stamford Bridge having been in front within a minute. They've lost just one of their last 11 home games, winning the previous four. Villa are proving hard to beat away from home and will be pleased if they can claim a fourth successive draw on the road, while they're looking for a fourth clean sheet in five games. Southampton will be depending on their home form to overcome a stubborn Villa side who have had a mediocre season to date. The club has only won three games on their travels since their opening day victory away at Arsenal. Kick-off at 19:45 (GMT).
SOUTHAMPTON TEAM NEWS: Saints make four changes, with Steven Davis and goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga coming in for the injured Morgan Schneiderlin and Artur Boruc. Dani Osvaldo pays for his disappointing display in Sunday's loss at Chelsea by being dropped in favour of Rickie Lambert, while Maya Yoshida replaces Jose Fonte in central defence.
ASTON VILLA TEAM NEWS: Christian Benteke has been dropped by Villa manager Paul Lambert. The Belgium international striker has paid for his failure to net in his last seven matches and is one of two changes at St Mary's, with Libor Kozak and Nathan Baker coming in.
SOUTHAMPTON TEAM: Gazzaniga, Clyne, Yoshida, Lovren, Shaw, Wanyama, S. Davis, Ward-Prowse, Lallana, Rodriguez, Lambert.
ASTON VILLA TEAM: Guzan, Bacuna, Vlaar, Clark, Baker, Luna, El Ahmadi, Westwood, Delph, Agbonlahor, Kozak
Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc will miss the clash because of a broken hand, which could sideline him for up to six weeks. Reserve Kelvin Davis is also unavailable, so Argentinian Paulo Gazzaniga will deputise having come on to replace Boruc in the 3-1 defeat at Chelsea on Sunday. French midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin (groin) will miss out, while Uruguay international Gaston Ramirez is also not yet match fit along with defender Danny Fox and Brazilian midfielder Guly do Prado, who is a long-term absentee after undergoing knee surgery.
Paul Lambert will check on striker Andreas Weimann's fitness. The Austrian experienced a tight hamstring in Saturday's goalless draw with Sunderland but is hopeful of being fit enough to feature at St Mary's. Aside from long-term absentees Charles N'Zogbia and Jores Okore, Lambert has no other injury problems.
If you'd like to air your views before or during the match, email Raz...that's me! at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet me: @RazMirza and I'll publish as many as I can.