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Aston Villa 0 Saints 1
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- Rickie Lambert's penalty gives Saints the win
- Nigel Adkins' side up to 15th
- Luke Shaw stretchered off late on
- Adam Lallana and Jose Fonte missed out for Saints
Saints move up to 15th and are two points clear of the relegation zone. Villa, by contrast, drop into the bottom three. We will have reaction for you on the website soon...
FULL-TIME: Aston Villa 0 Saints 1
CHANCE (89 mins): Baker heads a corner against the bar, as Villa go close to levelling the game up.
INJURY (86 mins): Worrying scenes for Saints, as Luke Shaw is stretchered off following a challenge with Matthew Lowton. Looked to be in a lot of pain. De Ridder on in his place.
CHANCE (79 mins): Benteke's effort from the edge of the area narrowly misses the target, as Villa press for an equaliser.
CHANCE (67 mins): Jason Puncheon's low left foot shot beats Brad Guzan but comes back off the post.
CHANCE (52 mins): Boruc saves Stevens' low drive, but pushes the ball straight to Benteke who puts the rebound over the bar.
HALF-TIME: Aston Villa 0 Saints 1
GOAL: Aston Villa 0 Saints 1 (Lambert pen 34): Referee Mark Halsey rules that Jay Rodriguez is tripped by Enda Stevens in the box. Lambert steps up and sends Brad Guzan the wrong way.
CHANCE (28 mins): Shaw goes close to his first Saints goal, with a left foot shot across goal from 20 yards that flashes just wide of the post.
CHANCE (22 mins): Puncheon twists and turns past Enda Stevens, before picking out with Rodriguez with his cross. The striker's flicked header towards the far post goes wide, though.
CHANCE (16 mins): Lambert's clever pass sends Rodriguez sprinting clear down the right wing. He drives towards the near post and squares the ball across the face of goal, but the backtracking Ciaran Clark is able to intercept it and avert the danger.
CHANCE (6 mins): Benteke turns onto his right foot in the area, but his shot towards the far top corner is off target and goes into the stands.
The game is underway
The teams are out on the pitch here at Villa Park. Kick-off just a few minutes away. We will have updates here for you throughout the match...
Aston Villa have been licking their wounds this week after Tuesday's 3-1 humbling at League Two side Bradford City in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final. Lambert hopes his players will use the shame of that result to inspire them to a win today:
You don't sleep. I think any manager will tell you that. It's not been a great two nights since Tuesday, let's put it that way. But I love the pressure of it and you have to meet it head-on. I'd rather have the pressure than not. You've got to have pressure to perform and that is the making of football and that is no different for the lads who are here. The fans were hurting after the other night and it was an embarrassment. I hurt like everyone else and the players are also hurt by the embarrassment of getting beat the way they did. They will want to put things right. The lads are down about what has happened but you have to pick yourself up and go again. You get on with it. You can't feel sorry for yourselves in football.Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert
Here is a snippet of what Rodriguez had to say...
We have a inner confidence and team spirit so we can go to places and get a good result. I am sure that we will. We are working hard every day in training, getting the right stuff on board getting ready for the games. I think we will go into the game with inner confidence. We’ve done very well this season and I think we have been unlucky on certain occasions not to get the three points. I feel we have got a self-belief, a team spirit, and feel we are going to go forward. We are picking up points on the road as well, which is better. We know we need to keep working hard, keep focused and hopefully keep moving up the table.Saints striker Jay Rodriguez
Saints forward Jay Rodriguez starts today's match. Here he is speaking about it...
Aston Villa (last six, league only): D W L L L D
Saints (last six, league only): L W L D D D
Aston Villa top scorer (league only): Christian Benteke 6
Saints top scorer (league only): Rickie Lambert 8
The big news out of Saints this week has been teenage left-back Luke Shaw pledging his long-term future to the club. Shaw is set to sign a five-year deal when he turns 18 next summer. Here is what manager Nigel Adkins had to say about it this week...
He is at a football club that loves him, that cares for him. He has committed his long-term future because he knows it is a good place for Luke Shaw's development. He feels for the football club and the fans. I am sure the fans will support him over the coming years. He is a young player and we've got to protect him and look after. You can be built up so much then all of a sudden knocked down. We've got to allow him to flourish. As a young player, like several that we've had, we want to continually improve them. His one-on-one defending is good, his passing ability is good and he is improving all the time. I am sure there will be some stage where things aren't going right for him but that is why we have this great culture at Southampton.Saints manager Nigel Adkins
Guly do Prado misses out for Saints through illness, while Jose Fonte is also absent with a knee injury. Jos Hooiveld comes into the centre of defence, while front men Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez both start. Nathaniel Clyne returns from a knee complaint.
SAINTS: Boruc, Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Shaw, Puncheon, Schneiderlin, Cork, Ramírez, Lambert, Rodriguez.
Subs: K Davis, S Davis, Fox, James Ward-Prowse, Lee, Seaborne, De Ridder.
ASTON VILLA: Guzan, Clark, Stevens, Baker, Lowton, Holman, Weimann, Westwood, Delph, N’Zogbia, Benteke.
Subs: Marshall, Vlaar, Ireland, Lichaj, Agbonlahor, Bowery, Bannan.
Referee: Chris Foy.
SAINTS SQUAD NEWS: Jose Fonte and Adam Lallana miss the trip to Villa Park with knee injuries, while striker Emmanuel Mayuka is unavailable after linking up with Zambia for the African Nations Cup. There is good news, though, as Gaston Ramirez and Nathaniel Clyne are set to return, from a dead leg and knee complaint respectively.
ASTON VILLA SQUAD NEWS: Skipper Ron Vlaar has returned to training after a seven-week absence and could play. Striker Darren Bent is out, however, after injuring his knee in the loss to Bradford. Goalkeeper Shay Given also picked up a hamstring injury against the Bantams, but first choice Brad Guzan was expected to return against Saints anyway.
Hello and welcome to the Daily Echo’s blog, covering this afternoon’s Premier League encounter between Aston Villa and Saints, at Villa Park. Both clubs start the day just outside the relegation zone, with Nigel Adkins’ team in 17th and their opponents just a point and a place better off. Villa have been on a horrible run of form, though, conceding 21 goals in their last six matches, culminating in this week’s embarrassing 3-1 defeat at League Two side Bradford City in the Capital One Cup. Saints will certainly feel that Villa are there for the taking, and with just three wins in their last 23 league fixtures at home, who could blame them? A win for either team here would represent a big step on the road towards survival, but a defeat would be a fairly substantial blow. We will have the build-up, team news and match updates for you throughout the afternoon.