Last Updated: 12/01/13 4:55pm
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FULL-TIME: More misery for Paul Lambert and Aston Villa as Southampton record their first win in five matches. They leapfrog the Midlanders, who drop into the bottom three. The decisive moment in the game came with controversy as Jay Rodriguez appeared to go over Enda Stevens' leg and fall over. Mark Halsey pointed to the spot and Rickie Lambert made no mistake.
YELLOW CARD: We're into five minutes of stoppage time by the way and now Artur Boruc is booked for time wasting.
BAD MISS! Gabby Agbonlahor is put clear, but Artur Boruc makes the save and the rebound falls to Christian Benteke who fails to hit the target.
Jordan Bowery wins the ball in the Saints box, but his shot is deflected away after some desperate defending.
SAVE! Enda Stevens' cross finds Christian Benteke at the far post, but his header down is palmed away by Artur Boruc.
The clock is ticking on another defeat for Villa. It's the longest home goal drought for Villa since going 318 minutes without scoring from Dec 2009 to Feb 2010.
David a Villa fan from Leeds says: 'Did martin O'Neill know something no one else did...funny but since his departure we aint done anything!'
Referee Mark Halsey stops the game after what seemed like a head injury on Luke Shaw. Villa players surround the man in black!
Christian Benteke is felled and Bannan's free-kick is headed across goal by the Belgian, but Artur Boruc claims the ball in front of a number of players in claret and blue.
SUBSTITUTION: Former Villa man Steven Davis replaces Jason Puncheon. He gets a nice round of applause from both sets of supporters.
Villa fan Adam Shepherd says: 'Benteke needs a rest, and so do the other 21-23 yr olds but who have we got.....No one other than perhaps 18-20 year olds, worst Villa 11 i've ever seen in my lifetime. No money (apparently)...Doomed for the Championship.'
The search for that illusive goal goes on as Fabian Delph's ball finds Christian Benteke, but the big Belgian sees his curler fly just wide of the far post.
SUBSTITUTION: Danny Fox replaces Gaston Ramirez. Seconds earlier Jason Puncheon saw his shot deflected away.
Morgan Schneiderlin's tame effort is collected by Brad Guzan, but Rickie Lambert is the creator supreme once again.
Saint Matt is back in touch. 'Got to feel for Villa. Not scoring many at the moment. Perhaps they could resign Heskey?'
The visitors lose the ball, but so do Villa moments later. Now they work the right-hand side of the home team once again.
Barry Bannan's outswinging free-kick is behind the line of Villa shirts and not even Christian Benteke can make a decent contact.
Russell from Birmingham says: 'This team of youngsters needs some experienced 'old heads' to bring these kids up right. please sort it out Lerner I'm not alone when I say this is getting ridiculous now!'
OFF THE POST! Jason Puncheon cuts inside before getting his left-foot shot away, but he's only denied by the near post. The rebound falls to Rickie Lambert, who is offside.
@Boysie_Baldock Tweets: 'Another woeful week to be a Villa fan. Lerner doesnt want to fund us, relegation form! We need experience!'
Christian Benteke comes close to making the all important touch as he stretched everything to try and reach the ball.
David the dejected Villa fan says: 'Saint Matt...you only need one goal to beat us, this is the worst villa team i've seen for a long long time, and that includes the one Billy McNeil took down in 1987. Shame it shouldnt have been...but then Halsey always gives poor decisions against us.'
Saints have only kept two clean sheets this term but they break again through Jay Rodriguez, although his pull back is cleared away to safety.
SUBSTITUTION: A second Villa change sees Charles N'Zogbia being replaced by local hero Gabby Agbonlahor.
Great work down the right from Saints and Jay Rodriguez makes the ball stick before testing Brad Guzan between the sticks.
Craig Holman says: 'I wonder if Lambert's time is up if villa lose today. Southampton, Wigan at home and Bradford let alone the hammerings, other managers have gone for a lot less, anyway tenner on Villa to win its a massive 7 to1 lol.'
Jay Rodrguez breaks away, but Villa manage to clear for a corner as Gabby Agbonlahor prepares to come on.
Barry's Bannan keeps the ball alive and delivers a fantastic cross to the far post, but Andreas Weimann's effort deflects away for a corner.
Saint Matt says: 'Not sure if Villa have got any chance of overturning the mighty yellows today!! Saints to take it 3-0 with Lambert and Gaston scoring. Com' on you saints!!!!'
Barry's Bannan's ball into the box is dangerous and the pressure is mounting. They have only scored eight Premier League home goals all season!
Christian Benteke heads the ball back across goal, but there is a late challenge on Artur Boruc as Ciaran Clark attempted to go for the loose ball.
GREAT SAVE! Brilliant reflex save by Artur Boruc from Enda Stevens' vicious left-foot strike from the edge of the area.
SAVE! Andreas Weimann tests Artur Boruc with a left-foot shot, but the keeper fumbles the ball to safety.
David a dejected Villa fan says: 'Slipping closer to relegation but its not all bad. After three years of losing week in week out we might be able to get a couple of home wins with the championship players Lambet has bought! Lerner Out!'
Martin is back in touch and he says: 'Great start. For the Saint. Lambert doing well, will he match LeTissier's record. just wanting to say happy birthday to my Dad Steve Batten for yesterday. Lambert for England!!'
Don't forget, 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 as many as I can.
Villa are now 7/1 to win, according to our friends @Skybet, who make Southampton 4/9 and the draw is 5/2. Rickie Lambert has now scored in four out of the last five Premier League away games after his opening goal and he's 7/1 to score the next. Both Villa and Saints have failed to win in their last four league games - so I went for a pre-match preediction of a high-scoring 2-2 draw today - which was priced at 12/1 and is still the same price. Head now to SKYBET to place your bets on this match.
HALF-TIME: Southampton are on course to leapfrog Aston Villa after a controversial penalty separates the teams at the break. Jay Rodriguez appeared to fall too easily over Enda Stevens' challenge in the box as stand-in referee Mark Halsey pointed to the spot. Rickie Lambert made no mistake from 12-yards for his ninth Premier League goal of the season.
The bad news for Villa is that they have failed to score in six of their last 10 Premier League matches.
SAVE! Luke Shaw flies past Matthew Lowton before his low left-foot drive is blocked away for a corner by Brad Guzan.
Morgan Schneiderlin takes out Fabian Delph, but the ball by Brett Holam to Christian Benteke is over hit.
Villa were looking rather fragile leading up to that goal and now that it has, the visitors' confidence is sky high.
The Saints striker makes no mistake from 12-yards as he sends Brad Guzan the wrong way. That's 29 out of 29 successful spot kicks for him and his 97th goal in 179 games. Impressive stats!
PENALTY GIVEN! Jay Rodriguez is brought down after appearing to go over Enda Stevens' challenge in the box. Harsh call by referee Mark Halsey.
Rickie Lambert has been classy so far today and he is eventually caught by Enda Stevens after showing some neat skill.
OVER! After Saints keep possession around the Villa area, Jason Puncheon eventually strolls forward but thumps his right-footer over the crossbar.
WIDE! Meanwhile, Luke Shaw's left-foot shot from 25-yards drifts wide of the far post. The 17-year-old is very highly rated and you can see why on this afternoon's display.
Nathaniel Clyne's low ball is brilliantly cleared by Ciaran Clark, who has been at the top of his game today.
Charles N'Zogbia's corner is cleared by Nathaniel Clyne and now the ball is at the feet of Brad Guzan.
Saints break, but Rickie Lambert's cross is eventually cleared at the second attempts after Andreas Weimann initally gave the ball away.
CLOSE! Jason Puncheon gets in a great near post cross, but Jay Rodriguez can only direct his header wide of the target.
Ciaran Clark gets in a strong foot to concede a throw. Luke Shaw's ball into the box is cleared by Fabian Delph.
Saints have not kept a clean sheet away from home this season and they're tied for fewest clean sheets overall in the Premier League with two. The game has settled down with the visitors enjoying more of the possession.
Lambert admits the absence of leukaemia victim Stiliyan Petrov has been a 'huge loss' for the midlands club as the home and away fans stand up to applaud the Villa club captain in the 19th minute. The midfielder is currently in remission as he battles to overcome the illness which first became public nine months ago.
Luke Shaw does well after going tight on Charles N'Zogbia and Villa now win a throw in Saints territory, until Andreas Weimann is penalised.
Southampton have been awarded a free-kick after a nasty looking challenge by Matthew Lowton on Gaston Ramirez.
CHANCE SAINTS! Jay Rodriguez is put through down the right by Rickie Lambert's wonderful pass, but he eventually runs out of room and Brad Guzan smothers his big frame over the ball.
Morgan Schneiderlin's dangerous ball into the box is cleared and now Fabian Delph makes another solid challenge in the middle of the park.
These have been testing times for Villa boss Paul Lambert who is standing on the touchline urging his youngsters forward here. Villa have won 16 of the 30 league meetings between the sides at Villa Park.
Fabian Delph has started the game well and looks for Brett Holman with a raking pass, which the Aussie fails to keep alive.
@AnnoyingTeacher Tweets: 'Very excited to see Vlaar back on the bench though, the last month could've been very different with him in the team.'
Brett Holman feeds Christian Benteke and the striker goes over claiming he was felled, but referee Mark Halsey waves play on. It's been a lively opening to this important clash for both sides.
Huge saints fan Martin says: 'Can see a sloppy first 10 minutes and then Saints settling first. Going for Saints to lead into the break 2-1 and final score being 3-2 to Saints! Would be nice to see Tadinari Lee come off the bench to get the winning goal. Lambert and Puncheon with the first two. COYR'S.'
EARLY CHANCE! The ball from the near side finds Christian Benteke, who controls the ball before seeing his curler drift just wide of the far post.
Great start from both teams this as the corner is cleared but Brett Holman sends back in a dangerous ball which worries defenders. Now Christian Benteke wins Villa another corner.
It's been a very fast start to his clash and the visitors come forward and win their first corner of the game. Nervous start from the hosts here.
@jakeyyboy123 Tweets: 'As a Saints fan and seen the 3-1 loss to Bradford I can see this being a 2-1 win to us. Rickie to score 1st.'
Southampton - wearing yellow shirts, blue shorts and white socks get the game underway. Villa are in their traditional home kit.
The teams are out at a dark Villa Park, which has filled up nicely in the last couple of minutes. The pitch, as usual, is in excellent nick.
@rossbuet Tweets: 'Its time for villa players to stand up and be counted! Forget the League Cup. The Premier League has to remain priority! 2-1 win today.'
Do you Saints fans have any thoughts on today's clash. Let me know as we approach kick-off. Email Raz...that's me! at email@example.com or Tweet me: @RazMirza and I'll publish as many as I can.
I can tell you Catherine, I was at Valley Parade on Tuesday night and I wasn't impressed with the performance as you may have guessed by many of my Tweets. Let's see what kind of showing they put up today at Villa Park.
Meanwhile, Catherine says: 'I have faith in Villa today to come away with something from this game! Delph playing is always a shocking decision. He is awful. Glad to see Vlaar back on the bench and hopefully he will get a run out today. Come on Villa. Keep us believing!!'
Villa fan Donovan has a gripe about Fabian Delph: 'Oh no! Delph plays again. Always caught in possesion, gives the ball away cheeply and when he does keep the ball, ponders on it too long then gets hurried into getting rid of it. Doesnt track midfield runners into the box. Or am I the only one who sees this? Lambert & the kids biggest fan.'
Dave from Birmingham has some harsh words to say to about the Villa: 'I'm a Villa fan watching the text commentary. Can't see anything but a loss for the Villa today. I've gone for Lambert to score first with a 2-1 win. Villa not able to keep a clean sheet, and N'Zogbia needs to learn to pass a ball before he can be considered a footballer. I'm happy Bannan is on the bench and not on the pitch, he was terrible, shame Delph has to play!'
Villa fan Paddy is first to write in today and he says: 'Villa are so unpredictable at the moment but I really hope we perform well today as this game is a real six pointer! I think there will be a few goals today - just hope we score more!'
Aston Villa are 7/5 to win today, according to our friends @Skybet, who make Southampton 9/5 and the draw 12/5. Rickie Lambert has scored in three of Saint's last four Premier League away games, so he's 13/2 to bag the first goal today. Christian Benteke and Andreas Weimann to score for the hosts is also a 13/2 shot while Benteke and Lambert to both score is a 7/1 shout. If you fancy a correct score group betting on full-time, why not plum on 1-1, 2-2 or 3-3, which is 7/2. Southampton to be leading at the break but go on to lose out to Villa is 25/1, while under 2.5 goals looks a safe bet at Evens. Both Villa and Saints have failed to win in their last four league games - so I'm going for a high-scoring 2-2 draw today - which is priced at 12/1. Head now to SKYBET to place your bets on this match.
VILLA TEAM NEWS: Paul Lambert makes four changes to the side with Brad Guzan, Enda Stevens, Brett Holman and Ashley Westwood replacing Shay Given, Joe Bennett, Barry Bannan and Gabby Agbonlahor. Skipper Ron Vlaar takes his place amongst the substitutes. Chris Herd and Richard Dunne are still out while winger Marc Albrighton could be out of action for up to two months with the broken metatarsal suffered against Ipswich in last weekend's FA Cup tie.
SOUTHAMPTON TEAM NEWS: Nigel Adkins makes changes to his side with Nathaniel Clyne and Gaston Ramirez returning from a dead leg and knee complaint respectively while striker Rickie Lambert also comes into the starting XI. Clyne's involvement sees Jack Cork pushed into midfield, whilst Jos Hooiveld deputises for the injured Jose Fonte.
ASTON VILLA: Guzan, Clark, Stevens, Baker, Lowton, Holman, Weimann, Westwood, Delph, N'Zogbia, Benteke.
SOUTHAMPTON: Boruc, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Shaw, Clyne, Cork, Schneiderlin, Puncheon, Ramirez, Rodriguez, Lambert.
Southampton will be without Jose Fonte and Adam Lallana as the pair have knee injuries, while Emmanuel Mayuka is unavailable after linking up with Zambia for the African Cup of Nations. There is good news in regards to Gaston Ramirez and Nathaniel Clyne, who are expected to return from a dead leg and knee complaint respectively.
In terms of team news, Villa skipper Ron Vlaar has returned to training after a seven-week absence and could play. However it has been confirmed that Darren Bent will be sidelined for 10 days with the knee injury he suffered during the defeat at Bradford. The England striker has had an injury-hit season and suffered his latest setback after being introduced as a substitute at Valley Parade. Ashley Westwood and Brett Holman are also back in contention but goalkeeper Shay Given also sustained a hamstring injury against the Bantams, but first choice Brad Guzan is expected to return today. Defenders Chris Herd, Richard Dunne and winger Marc Albrighton are ruled out.
Visiting boss Nigel Adkins is wary of coming up against what he calls a 'wounded animal' today after a game Villa had been expected to win in midweek. 'The teams are separated by one place and one point - with Villa 16th and Southampton 17th, just above the drop zone,' he said. 'The players have been on a good run of form, so the confidence is there - we're going to Villa Park confident, strong, fit and with a desire to get three points.' He has every right to feel confident because Southampton have lost just two of their last 10 Premier League matches (W3 D5 L2) although they have not won in their last four matches and have drawn their last three. So do you Saints fans feel confident, strong and fit about a potential three points today? Let me know your thoughts! Email Raz...that's me! at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet me: @RazMirza and I'll publish the best.
There is no doubting it, Villa have been a Jekyll & Hyde kind of team this season and Tuesday night's 3-1 humiliation at League Two Bradford in the Capital One Cup semi-final first-leg surely proved it. Paul Lambert is feeling the pain along with very other Villa fan in the country, but the Scot is not hiding and seems determined to put things right at the club who head into this game just one point and one place above their opponents in the standings. He said: 'I feel exactly the same way as every Aston Villa fan feels (about losing to Bradford). We shouldn't have been beaten. We shouldn't have conceded the goals we did. We had enough chances to win two games. You've got to take them. I'm not going to hide behind it. The way we were beaten. The goals we conceded and the way they were. They were really poor. The only good thing is we have a chance to turn it around. It will be a different game at Villa Park. Everyone is embarrassed by it. There's no other way to look at it. The only good thing is that we have another tie at home. You cannot defend like that. The club has been in exactly the same position with experienced lads. It's a challenge I'm not going to be frightened by.' What are your thoughts on Lambert's comments Villa fans? And do you think your team can pull it out the bag against Saints today and the bouncing Bantams on Tuesday 26th? Let me know your views please! Email Raz...that's me! at email@example.com or Tweet me: @RazMirza and I'll publish as many as I can.
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.