Southampton managed to perfectly move on from getting knocked out of the Carabao Cup against Chelsea last week by securing their second Premier League win of the season at the weekend with a 1-0 win away at Watford thanks to a goal from Che Adams.
With this clash in mind, one Saints player that featured in the win at Watford that we feel should be in the starting XI to face Villa is striker Adam Armstrong.
Armstrong played the full 90 minutes against the Hornets and not only did he assist Adams’ winning goal that sealed the three points on the day, but he also managed to have five shots at goal in what was a swashbuckling attacking display.
On top of that, he made two key passes and completed one accurate long ball which ultimately earned him a solid match rating of 7/10, higher than his strike partner Adams on the day according to SofaScore.
Since joining the south-coast club back in August on a four-year deal from Championship club Blackburn Rovers for a reported fee of £15m, Armstrong has made an appearance in all but one of Southampton’s Premier League games so far this season, scoring one goal and providing two assists along the way.
Despite the lack of goals, the fact that the attacker, who has been praised for his “explosive” pace in the past by Tony Mowbray is getting plenty of minutes under his belt this season shows that Hasenhuttl has enough faith in him to keep playing him.
Also, the fact that the 24-year-old, who is currently valued at £16.2m according to Transfermarkt, has managed to rack up an average of three shots at goal per game in the Premier League so far this season which shows that he is a useful attacking outlet for the Saints but has merely had trouble finding the back of the net.
This says to us that Armstrong’s attacking prowess could make him a real nuisance for Villa and potentially terrify them on Friday night, especially given how they have lost their previous four league games, conceding 12 goals in the process. Combine that with Ezri Konsa’s absence after he picked up a red card in their recent 4-1 defeat against West Ham and it makes Southampton’s task easier.
If Hasenhuttl does start Armstrong against Villa and the striker manages to score, this could well be a big confidence boost for the player, one that could push him on to a consistent run of form which would undoubtedly please everyone at the club.