Aston Villa produced an exemplary performance against Southampton this afternoon, picking up all three points in a 4-0 win.
Words: Regan Foy | @regan_foy
Aston Villa returned to Villa Park this afternoon, welcoming in-form Southampton to their home. Gerrard’s Villans were hoping to follow up with a good victory against Brighton with another against South Coast opposition.
Defenders Ezri Konsa and Lucas Digne were absent from the line-up this afternoon, with the pair thought to be recovering from COVID-19. Calum Chambers and Ashley Young replaced them.
The game started relatively even, but within nine minutes – Aston Villa had taken the lead. Coutinho played a ball into the path of Danny Ings, who managed to slide the ball into Ollie Watkins. Watkins did exceptionally well to turn his man and give himself a shot on goal, which he buried emphatically into the right side of the net.
Southampton’s first attempt of the game came 16 minutes into the game, after miscommunication between Mings and Young allowed Armstrong a shot towards goal. The Southampton midfielder’s attempt swept wide of Martinez’ goal.
On the half hour mark, Coutinho and Ollie Watkins combined well which resulted in the England international having another attempt on goal. He fired low towards goal, but Southampton’s Fraser Forster was able to block the shot well with his feet. Shortly after, Che Adams had a headed attempt at Martinez’ back post, which ended up on the roof of the net.
Coutinho himself would have an attempt after a ball fell to him just inside in the box. He slammed an effort with the outside of his right boot, aiming to curl it into the top left, which flew just inches past the far post. He had another attempt saved thirty seconds later, after Watkins was able to worm away from Livramento and play the ball in to the Brazilian.
Just before the half-time mark, Aston Villa found themselves two ahead. Chambers produced an excellent ball over the top to reach the quick, intelligent run of Coutinho to the back post. Coutinho clipped the ball across the face of goal for his Brazilian peer Douglas Luiz, who slid the ball into the back of the net.
Coutinho almost scored himself in added time – finding himself one-on-one with Fraser Forster. He tried to shift the ball over and around the towering ‘keeper, but his effort slid just wide of the post.
Southampton opted to make a change in the second half, with Elyounoussi replaced by Yann Valery.
In the 52nd minute, Aston Villa made it three – and who else would it be but Philippe Coutinho. John McGinn marauded into the box before Danny Ings stabbed a loose ball to the Brazilian. He feigned to shoot, taking out a few defenders in the process, before poking the ball into the back of the net.
And then, Aston Villa started to run riot. Ings had a chance, and then just second later, found himself celebrating a goal. Matty Cash cut a ball into the box where Ings was waiting – with the forward side-footing an effort into the back of the net.
In the 56th, Emiliano Martinez was called into action for the first time in the afternoon, denying Che Adams at the near post for Southampton’s first shot on target. The Argentinian got down low and managed to deflect the ball over the bar. Southampton made a change shortly after, bringing Kyle Walker-Peters onto the pitch.
Oriol Romeu was booked for a rough challenge on John McGinn in the 69th minute – the first yellow card of the game. Aston Villa’s first change came shortly after, with Danny Ings, who had a goal and two assists to his name, replaced by Morgan Sanson.
Ollie Watkins was booked in the 74th minute as he pressed Fraser Forster and slid in, catching the Southampton ‘keeper with the follow through. Southampton’s third and final change came shortly after, with Romeu being replaced by Ibrahima Diallo. Aston Villa replaced Jacob Ramsey just a minute later, with Leon Bailey entering the fray.
Douglas Luiz had an effort from an awkward angle palmed away by Fraser Forster in the 80th minute. Emiliano Buendia replaced Philippe Coutinho shortly after.
There was a chance or two for Aston Villa after this, but the game would end as it was half an hour earlier. A well-worked, 4-0 win for the Villans!