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Saints v Aston Villa
Updated 9:47pm Wednesday 4th December 2013 in Football
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- **Apologies for the lack of updates from tonight's match. This is due to technical difficulties.**
- Saints aiming to rebound from back-to-back defeats
- Paulo Gazzaniga starts in goal for first time in a year
- Maya Yoshida replaces Jose Fonte in defence
- Rickie Lambert comes in for Dani Osvaldo
- Steven Davis steps in for Morgan Schneiderlin
- Christian Benteke dropped to the bench for Villa
After the final whistle Osvaldo squared up to a Villa opponent and was pulled away by Pochettino as tempers flared between the two teams.
Saints have slumped to their first home defeat of the season tonight, going down 3-2 to Aston Villa
Saints twice equalised in the second half through Jay Rodriguez and sub Dani Osvaldo after trailing at half-time.
But Fabian Delph's 80th minute winner sentenced Saints to a surprise third successive defeat.
The goal that separates the teams...
Villa have been toying with three/five at the back this evening as well and now both sides are matched up in that formation.
Interesting tactical dual between the managers being played out here
DOUBLE CHANCE - 27 MINS
The tactical change lamost pays immediate dividends as Clyne's hanging cross from the right is met by the head of Rodriguez but Guzan dives to his right to make a good save.
From the corner Lovren's header from inside the six yard box looks goalbound until it hits the back of the legs of Rodriguez
Big tactical switch from Pochettino as Saints go to three at the back.
Yoshida, Wanyama and Lovren are the centre halves with Clyne and Shaw as wing backs
The Lallana chance blocked by Vlaar perfectly captured...
SAINTS 0 ASTON VILLA 1 (Agbonlahor 15)
Saints lose possession midway inside the Villa half and one low pass totally undoes them.
Gabriel Agbonlahor turns Yoshida and Villa are in two on one.
Agbonlahor opts to go alone, cuts inside Lovren and dinks the ball past Gazzaniga.
CHANCE - 14 MINS
With not much else on Jay Rodrirguez fires in a shot from 20 yards. It moves in the air and dips late and Brad Guzan just gets his body behind it, allows it to hit his chest and it bounces away
Interesting that Villa are going with two up front tonight.
Possibly a reaction from the Chelsea game at the weekend which changed at half time when Jose Mourinho followed that tactic and denied Saints the time to play out from the back.
That said, Villa are not Chelsea and Saints have started brightly tonight.
CHANCES - FOUR AND FIVE MINUTES
First sniff of a chance for Saints after four minutes. Nice turn in the area from Lallana but his shot is blocked by the diving challenge of Ron Vlaar.
Moments later Lallana's chipped cross from the left drops onto the cross bar and bounces away to safety.
The game is underway
The teams are out on the pitch ready for kick off
The players have returned to the changing rooms ready for the game.
The traffic problems are obviously taking a toll as the stadium is still fairly empty.
There is quite a bit of traffic around Southampton this evening which is apparently delaying people on their way to the ground.
Saints have offically said there is no plans to delay the kick off beyond 7.45pm as scheduled.
Four changes for Saints from the side that lost at Chelsea. As expected, Paulo Gazzaniga replaces Artur Boruc in goal, and Steven Davis comes in for the injured Morgan Schneiderlin. Elsewhere, Dani Osvaldo drops to the bench to make way for Rickie Lambert, while Maya Yoshida comes in for Jose Fonte, who is also among the subs. For Villa, the big news is that striker Christian Benteke - who hasn't scored in his last seven matches - is dropped to the bench.
SAINTS: Gazzaniga; Clyne, Yoshida, Lovren, Shaw; Wanyama, S Davis; Ward-Prowse, Lallana, Rodriguez; Lambert.
Subs: Cropper, Chambers, Hooiveld, Fonte, Cork, Osvaldo, Gallagher.
ASTON VILLA: Guzan, Bacuna, Vlaar, Clark, Baker, Luna, El Ahmadi, Westwood, Delph, Agbonlahor, Kozak.
Subs: Steer, Lowton, Albrighton, Sylla, Tonev, Benteke, Weimann.
Referee: Jonathan Moss.
With Artur Boruc and Kelvin Davis out injured, Paulo Gazzaniga is set to start in goal tonight. The 21-year-old hasn't started a game since December 1 last year, when Saints lost 1-0 at Liverpool. He made his first appearance since then when he came on during the 3-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge last Sunday. He has received strong backing from his manager, Mauricio Pochettino, who says the Argentine has his "full confidence" and has improved a lot in the last year.
Aston Villa squad news: Paul Lambert will check on striker Andreas Weimann's fitness ahead of Aston Villa's trip to St Mary's. The Austrian experienced a tight hamstring in Saturday's goalless draw with Sunderland, but is hopeful of being fit enough to feature tonight. Aside from long-term absentees Charles N'Zogbia, Ggary Gardner and Jores Okore, Lambert has no other injury problems.
If you're getting ready to head off to the game tonight, be warned about heavy traffic in the city tonight.
Full details on this story.
Saints squad news: Goalkeeper Artur Boruc will miss the clash against Aston Villa because of a broken hand, which could sideline him for up to six weeks. Kelvin Davis is also unavailable, so Paulo Gazzaniga will deputise having come on to replace Boruc in the 3-1 defeat at Chelsea on Sunday. Midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin (groin) will miss out, while 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.
Hello and welcome to this evening's blog, covering the Premier League contest at St Mary's between Saints and Aston Villa. Mauricio Pochettino's men have lost their last two matches, but after away defeats at Arsenal and Chelsea they will be confident of returning to winning ways against Aston Villa. Saints possess the joint best defence in the division and are yet to lose at home this term, although they face a Villa team who have lost just once on their travels. Stay with us for build-up, team news and match updates.
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