Aston Villa’s rotten run has continued tonight, with a 1-0 loss to Southampton. Dean Smith’s future is hanging precariously in the balance.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa travelled down to the south coast this evening for a Friday-night game under the lights at St. Mary’s. Dean Smith’s side, currently struggling with four defeats in a row, were to face Southampton, who were fresh off their third victory in a row.
It was a nightmare start for Aston Villa. A high ball landed on the edge of the Aston Villa box and ricocheted off Matty Cash, before Adam Armstrong raced onto the loose ball to fire a half-volley into the back of the net and past a rooted Emiliano Martinez. Conceding after just three minutes was not in the plan.
The only real positive in the opening ten minutes for the side was Emiliano Buendia. The diminutive midfielder pressed well, even starting off a move after dispossessing James Ward-Prowse and eventually attempting a shot from the edge of the box which was saved well by McCarthy.
Anwar El Ghazi was booked in the 11th minute for a challenge on Tino Livramento, who looked to race forward from full-back.
From here, the next 20 minutes were very much all Southampton. There was very little to be excited about for any of the Aston Villa fans.
The 33rd minute saw James Ward-Prowse fire a rocket of a shot towards the top left corner, which would have found it’s way inside of the post – but Emiliano Martinez was able to produce a spectacular save to deny the Saints skipper.
More chances came the way of Southampton – but very little came for Aston Villa other than a few risky decisions for Anwar El Ghazi that should have probably seen the winger sent off.
Another poor half for the Villans.
Aston Villa looked a much better side in the second half, after a proverbial rocket up the backside from Dean Smith more than likely.
They started the better of the two sides, forcing Southampton into their own half and having a number of attempts – namely from El Ghazi and Buendia.
More chances came, with Tryone Mings firing just over the bar in the 51st minute. For the majority of the opening ten mintues, Southampton were camped in their own half.
Southampton opted for an earylish change in the second half, with Stuart Armstrong – who missed a sitter early in the first – being replaced by Brazilian central defender Lyanco.
Oriel Romeu was booked just after the hour mark for a body check on Matty Cash as Aston Villa’s strong half continued. Just a few minutes later, Marvelous Nakamba was replaced by Jacob Ramsey.
Axel Tuanzebe was booked in the 65th minute after a mistimed tackle on Adam Armstrong. The resulting free-kick was whipped in inch-perfectly by James Ward-Prowse, which Che Adams headed towards goal. Martinez was able to get a finger tip to tip the chance over the bar.
In the 70th minute, Emiliano Buendia, who was looking every inch the record signing took a knock and had to be replaced. He was subbed off for Cameron Archer.
With just over ten minutes remaining, Keinan Davis returned to the senior squad. He replaced Anwar El Ghazi.
There were seven minutes of added time at the end of the 90. The side tried, but nothing ever really came of it.
Another poor defeat, and now five in a row. If Dean Smith’s job wasn’t truly being considered, it is now.