Unforgiving battle between Aston Villa and Southampton Simon Mail previews Saturday's vital match towards the bottom of the Premier League with Aston Villa hosting Southampton… You can follow to the free prediction pages! Aston Villa v Southampton Saturday, 15:00 Villa being dragged into trouble Aston Villa settled into life back in the Premier League promisingly enough but three successive defeats have dropped Dean Smith's side to only one place above the relegation zone. Losses lớn Chelsea and second-placed Leicester were no surprise but Villa disappointed last weekend in their 2-0 defeat at Sheffield United. Both teams won promotion last season from the Championship, but while the Blades are inside the top seven, Villa are locked in a struggle lớn avoid the drop. If Villa are lớn stay up, the influence of midfield captain Jack Grealish will be critical. Grealish is knocking on the door for an England call-up and excelled, with a goal in an impressive performance, during the recent 2-2 draw at Manchester United. Aston Villa's priority is the league but the club can look forward lớn a Carabao Cup semi-final against Leicester in the new year after thrashing Liverpool's youngsters 5-0 on Tuesday night.- According lớn the soccer tip today pages! Saints facing tough winter Southampton head into this weekend's crucial fixture inside the relegation zone and only behind Villa on goal difference. Ralph Hasenhuttl made a significant impact after being appointed last season as he guided the club to safety. This campaign has not gone to plan though and the undoubted nadir came in the humiliating 9-0 hammering at home lớn Leicester in October. Most of the Saints' problems have come at home with their only wins coming recently against the bottom two; Watford and Norwich. Southampton missed a big opportunity last weekend after losing 1-0 at home lớn fellow strugglers West mê say to leave them facing a bleak winter. Their over reliance on Danny Ings has been all too apparent with the striker supplying half of their 18 league goals. Villa hard lớn trust as favourites Aston Villa are hai.52 favourites this weekend but there are reasons to be wary about siding with the hosts. Villa have gone four league matches without a victory, although all of these matches came against sides in the top seven. The midweek cup success will have given them a boost but it's not easy lớn have total confidence in backing them to win. Southampton are 2.94 lớn claim a priceless win. The Saints have a strong record against them with a five-match unbeaten run in top-flight meetings. But this is the first one since 2016 and Southampton's current team are lacking confidence. Back-to-back defeats to Newcastle and West say mê do not suggest they are an appealing price to win this weekend. There is very little lớn separate the two teams in the table and it would be no surprise if this match ended in a stalemate. The draw can be backed at 3.75 and is arguably the best option in this market. This looks a closely-matched contest but preference is lớn focus instead on goals. Clean sheets unlikely for festive clash Both teams have struggled defensively and goals look likely at Villa Park. Southampton have not kept a clean sheet for 12 league games while Aston Villa have only managed one during the same amount of matches. The last five clashes between the teams have seen both score and their current frailties at the back suggest this trend will continue. Both teams lớn score is predictably short at just 1.54, which means it is worth using Betfair's Same Game Multi to bolster the odds. Aston Villa have home advantage and are fancied to avoid defeat this weekend. It looks a game of fine margins but backing both teams to score with Villa to either win or draw appeals at hai.09. Opta Stat Ings is Southampton's top Premier League goalscorer with nine goals and could become just the third player lớn reach double figures for the club before Christmas in a season in the competition. Ings is 5/4 lớn score a 10th goal on Saturday.