Southampton can move back to within four points of Premier League leaders Chelsea if they can take victory away to out-of-form Aston Villa.
After six consecutive defeats, a draw and a clean sheet away to West Ham United last time came as a massive relief to the home side and their manager Paul Lambert, who was coming under some pressure despite signing a new contract as recently as September.
But there is still plenty to be done to appease the expectant supporters, who desperately need a victory to ease the negative stories coming out of the club in recent days and weeks, with key duo Fabian Delph and Ron Vlaar both heavily linked with moves elsewhere.
The Saints continue to fly high and the speculation continues over whether they can fight for a place in the top four over the whole campaign. The way they have played so far suggests they can, while poor results for many of the pretenders have given them extra encouragement.
In the last match before the international break against Leicester City, Ronald Koeman’s men did not produce the most fluent display, with Graziano Pelle and Dusan Tadic less influential, but £12msigning Shane Long emerged from the shadows to score two very well taken goals.
Aston Villa have a crisis in central defence as Philippe Senderos, Nathan Baker and captain Vlaar are all set to be out. Alan Hutton is back, while Christian Benteke continues to serve a ban.
Tadic is a doubt for Southampton along with fellow midfielders Steven Davis and Morgan Schneiderlin because of injuries sustained while on international duty.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Aston