Saints out to get back on track against Villa

Posted by Chris Rann

Ian Kington/AFP/Getty ImagesAfter defeats to Arsenal, Chelsea and Aston Villa, Mauricio Pochettino hopes his Southampton side can rediscover their winning ways against Manchester City Saturday.

Aston Villa might feel like this is the perfect time to visit St. Mary's. Saints will go into the game missing two key players because of injury. The loss of Artur Boruc and Morgan Schneiderlin is a massive blow, having been consistent performers for Mauricio Pochettino.

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Saints are also going into the game on the back of two straight defeats. In contrast, their opponents haven't lost in four.

It is important that Saints don't dwell on the negative and get back on track with a positive result in a game that they will look upon as one that they should win. With club captain Kelvin Davis also out injured, it is a fantastic opportunity for Paulo Gazzaniga. The young Argentinian keeper came off the bench at Stamford Bridge and will undoubtedly start tomorrow night. It is well known among the Saints fans that if Boruc has a weakness, it is his distribution with the ball at his feet (see Emirates debacle). This is something that 'Gazza' -- as he is affectionately known -- excels at.

This is his opportunity to show the Saints coaching staff that he is a viable option to fit into the style of play executed by the club. For those of you that like omens, it is worth noting that Gazzaniga was in goal the last time Villa came to St. Mary's, a 4-1 Southampton victory.

In Schneiderlin, Saints have got used to having someone producing immaculate performances week in week out in central midfield. But as much as no one wants to think about going into a game without the 2012-13 player of the season, it is comforting to know that central midfield is perhaps Saints strongest area. Jack Cork, himself a player of the year contender from the last campaign, can slot in, as could Steven Davis, James Ward-Prowse and even Harrison Reed is knocking on the door.

Villa are a side that struggle against creative attacking play, something Saints can certainly conjure up, but they need to make their final ball count, something that has been lacking of late. Saints are likely to dominate possession so chances will come, but they have to be emphatic and not let teams off with poor decision-making or an insistence on trying to walk the ball in.

With Manchester City up next, it isn't outrageous to suggest that this is a must win game for Saints to get their momentum back. Time to back the players that come in and roar Saints on to three points!

Keep the faith.


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