Aston Villa XI

If you believe in bogey teams then Southampton are Villa’s, winless in 7 against the Saints, make that 8.

Notably, Traore made his first start for Villa, although his full Premier League debut was curtailed by injury before he could make any real impact.

The warning signs were there for Villa early on, a deflected Southampton goal ruled out for offside, but they would go on to take the lead through a Vestergaard header. James Ward-Prowse assisted the first and continued to enjoy his birthday with two terrific first-half free kicks, it was looking a long way back for the home side.

Villa had struggled to get into the game in the first half, lots of stoppages making it difficult to get going. They started the second half much brighter, going close through Grealish early on. Trezeguet was a bright spark, denied more than once by a Southampton block and a save from McCarthy who had an excellent game.

On the hour Ings scored a superb goal to add to the building misery in B6, Southampton were proving to be remarkably clinical. Villa pulled one back just after the hour with who else, but Jack Grealish curling a sumptuous ball in for Mings to head home.

Villa continued to enjoy a much improved second half, but you couldn’t escape the feeling that the game was getting away from them, particularly as we headed into injury time.

Yet somehow the final 6 minutes yielded two further goals, a Watkins penalty and a Grealish strike bringing Villa agonisingly close to a point.

Soon after Grealish’s late strike, the final whistle blew on what had proven to be a bizarre game. In summary, a frustrating day and one on which Southampton was clinical, Villa, however, need to go back to basics and rekindle that meanness in defence which has served them so well since the back end of last season.

Next up, Arsenal away…

Up the Villa.

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