Another lacklustre performance at home sees Aston Villa drop into the relegation zone.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa faced a troubled Southampton side this afternoon at Villa Park, in a must-win game for both sides.
John McGinn’s evening was ended early as he looked to catch his studs in the turf during a challenge, and was replaced after eight minutes for Marvelous Nakamba.
Villa’s first chance of the evening came through Anwar El Ghazi at the end of a Matt Targett cross, with McCarthy saving at the far post.
Southampton took the lead in the 21st minute as Shane Long beat Bjorn Engels for pace rather convincingly, with the Belgian looking unusually slow. Long’s shot was saved by Heaton well, but the ball found Danny Ings on the re-bound who scored his sixth goal in seven games.
Southampton doubled their lead just nine minutes later as Stephens beat El Ghazi to the ball from a corner and headed past Heaton.
James Ward-Prowse picked up a yellow card two minutes before the end of the first half for a foul on Jack Grealish.
Aston Villa started the second half brighter than the first, winning a corner within the first minute – but that came to nothing.
Southampton grabbed their third in the 50th minute through lax defending from Aston Villa. Guilbert backed off allowing a cross into the box, which was met by Nakamba with a poor touch that allowed Danny Ings to turn and bury the ball from an odd angle.
Jonathan Kodjia replaced Conor Hourihane in the 56th minute.
Anwar El Ghazi was booked in the 66th minute as he floored Danny Ings on the edge of the box as Southampton looked to counter. The winger was replaced by Trezeguet a few minutes later.
Jack Grealish finally offered a response fifteen minutes from time as the ball fell to him on the edge of the box following a corner, before he set himself and fired into the top right on the half volley.
He tested McCarthy again in the first minute of added time with a fierce strike that was dipping – but the Southampton keeper managed to push it over the bar.
It’s time to regroup and re-focus ahead of Norwich City on Boxing Day. If we’re losing like this to fellow relegation candidates, questions need to be asked and changes need to be made.