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Aston Villa 3 v 4 Southampton
Barclays Premier League
Sunday, 1st November 2020 Kick-off 12:00
Saints At Aston Villa The Verdict
Sunday, 1st Nov 2020 14:58

For an hour Saints looked World beaters then we let it slip a little, but the truth is before we would have all took 3rd place by the end of it, perhaps letting the lead almost slip will be a blessing in the long run as it will show us not to be so complacent.

In the first half Saints were magnificent, after a start that saw a goal ruled out by centimetres, a perfect Ward Prowse corner saw Jannik Vestergaard head home to give us a deserved lead, follow that up with two sublime James Ward Prowse free kicks that earned him the honour of being the first player in Premier League history to score two direct free kicks in the first half and all was looking good at half time.

But a change was made at half time, Jack Stephens coming on for Jan Bednarek, presumably feeling the force of his first half fall and it upset the balance at the back.

On 58 minutes Danny Ings scored a great goal with a shot into the far corner and at 4-0 on the hour mark it was all looking good.

Although it needed some smart saves from Alex McCarthy to keep Saints in charge, we still looked the part, but then it started to go wrong, only 4 mins after the goal we went to sleep and let Tyrone Mings reduce the arrears, Villa had plenty of bluster but we still looked in command, but with 10 minutes left Ryan Bertrand went off and we reshuffled, but the big blow came on 85 minutes when an innocuous challenge saw Danny Ings go off although he seemed to be walking ok.

Injury time arrived and we still looked well in control, but then we went to sleep.

Villa to their credit seemed to want to tray and make it 4-2 than worry about letting it slip to 5-1 and kept going, we still tried to play a bit too much football at times when we should have cleared , this gave Grealish the chance to go down in the area and he did and the penalty was despatched, but with less than 3 mins of injury time less a mere blip.

Or was it with the 6 minutes up we backed off Grealish and he hit a shot to the near post, McCarthy who had been perhaps Saints man of the match was left watching expecting a cross, a rare error on the day.

So a 4-3 victory felt like a defeat, it was three points, but it really should have been more emphatic, it showed that we can't get complacent, we sit third albeit for perhaps a short time, but it didn't feel like it, the injuries didn't help that feeling.

But it was a win, we are third in the table and lets be honest this is beyond our wildest dreams after the opening two games and we should be well pleased with the days work.

But the fact we scored 4 goals and let in 3 shows that going forward we are a top 10 side, possibly higher in this season, but defending in the second half showed that we still have work to do.

A game of two halves yes, but the scoreline flattered Villa despite their possession and shots but that was our fault not theirs.

But this will hopefully be something that sends out warning signs and means that Ralph Hasenhuttl doesn't let his side get too complacent

Photo: Action Images

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halftimeorange added 15:09 - Nov 1
Now we'll see whether we are a one man team. No doubt that Danny's presence on the pitch has a) made the opposition wary of him and b) attracted defenders to him giving others space. It was rather worrying that we did not score more from open play but, the truth is, we had very few shots that weren't from dead ball situations. Vestergaard had another good game but, the loss of Bednarek was rather telling. Maybe Salisu can come in against Newcastle and make us a bit more robust at the back if our attacking is somewhat blunted by Danny being missing, if that is the case.

underweststand added 15:15 - Nov 1
Fantastic first half, but we did switch off dangerously after Danny Ings goal .
Prowsey playing the real captain's role and getting another two of his "specials."
How can Southgate think of playing Grealish before him for England ?
Vestergaard starting to be a threat at set pieces, and looking the real thing at the back.
Great to see us third in table, but must confess - even with another 3 points - I feel a little underwhelmed with three players injured during the game. Hope they are fit for Friday. A win there could see up top of the table - for a few hours, at least.

davidargyll added 15:17 - Nov 1
As Sid Waddell used to almost say, "There's only one word to say after that, "Magic football!""
I said it before the game that Villa are over-rated, for 75 minutes they were, I still think they are and I reckon they are going to struggle to stay up. We were always going to take our foot off the gas with 4 in the bag, so well done the lads for holding on. I must say, Grealish could be absolutely sublime in another team and/or when he learns to be less theatrical (the penalty dive) and less selfish. But that was to our benefit; I love to see an opposition star with a grumpy look on his face...!.
MOTM? JWP, Jannek, Alex, Danny etc... who cares? the whole damned team deserve it.
Biggest smile I had though was after reading the blog from ElSanto before the game, which some of you may have missed. You must have been sweating when we were 3 up and again when Villa slotted in the third! But in the end congratulations are well and truly due (prayed for you? moi? but of course...!):
"I just got my small business grant off the government for coronavirus and I've put it all on Southampton to win and danny ings to score anytime. In for 3 grand. Pray for me, folks."

sandywelsh added 15:27 - Nov 1
Brilliant first half but lets hope Bednarek is fit for Friday because when Stephens came on we were crap.

ElijahK added 15:30 - Nov 1
I mean the main thing I think we need to take away from this game is how close the score line was for a game that shouldn’t have been anywhere near as close as it was in the end! I mean after we got the 4th goal it all changed and if it wasn’t for that 4th goal I’d certainly be disappointed! I mean in the end it was a decent result (especially seeing that we’re now 3rd and could be 2nd by the end of the day) but we need to stay focused for the WHOLE 90 minutes next time!

codge added 15:35 - Nov 1
Great result but a shame we didn’t keep a clean sheet,as soon as Stephens came out for the second half l had a bad feeling in my gut he was way out of position.and looked slow and almost uninterested, probably the fact he hasn’t had much playing time.
We took our foot of the gas and should of just kept going like the first half but that’s not our way we just like to make us sweat.Good to see Redmond on the subs bench thought we looked better going forward with Theo in there.Just hope the injuries to the three lads are not to serious as we are really starting to bell as a team now COYR.

saintmark1976 added 15:41 - Nov 1
I appreciate that the manager currently gets more decisions right than wrong but when it comes to substitutions he’s sometimes simply not at the races. We are four clear goals to the good with less than half an hour to play and he keeps the club’s best player and prized asset on the pitch. Why?

Result- It’s suggested that Ings now has a serious knee ligament injury to be confirmed by a scan tomorrow.

Consigliere added 16:40 - Nov 1
Honestly, some of you posters are seeing the hole not the biscuit. We are third in the table. As we are so often told, the table doesn't lie. It may not be for long but enjoy it whilst it last!

wibbersda added 16:48 - Nov 1
Never before has it been this clear that Jack Stevens is the weak link. Another great performance and hopefully Ings is ok.

schatfield added 16:49 - Nov 1
Stephen's coming on upset the balance at the back?? You do write some bollocks sometimes although I expected you to blame him somehow. It was the midfield who got nervy and helped concede goals not the CBs.
Anyway we are 3rd! It was a really good game and all 4 of our goals were top quality.

SaintPaulVW added 16:57 - Nov 1
After a great first half the second half was a bit of a disaster.

JWP, McCarthy JV great work, real positives to take out of the game.

There is often talk on here of the need for leadership. That was definitely needed in the second half. Stephens did himself no favours and Diallo was often just in no man's land jogging after play.

I believe though that a cool head in midfield is what we really need. When we fall apart I'm the second half it often seems that we just cannot hang on to the ball anymore and then the defence gets overrun. Also Shane Long just seems wasted at the moment. Bringing him on is pointless unless balls are going to be knocked into space for him to run into. It just doesn't happen.

At least if Ings is out for an extended period we now should have some cover from Che.

Overall it's a fantastic job by RH and the squad to have us in the top 3 with a win streak. Now is the time to find out if he can rejig the side to keep us going with maybe up to 3 changes necessary for the next few games.



erick added 16:58 - Nov 1
The only mistake in this game was taking JWP out of that midfield. Otherwise it was a great performance

saintlee added 17:25 - Nov 1
Is it any coincidence that we start to look shakey at the back as soon as Jack Stephens comes on. I have absolutely nothing against the lad apart from the fact I dont personally think he's good enough. After looking in complete control first half, we looked nervous and indecisive at the back in the second. Was it a matter of taking our foot off the pedal or is my observation correct. I think the latter. Still, a great win and I'm sure we'd have all taken our start after our first 2 games. COYR !!!

StRipper added 17:37 - Nov 1
I certainly would never say a win felt like a loss. As a team, we've had far too many dropped or robbed points over the years. Get some predictive, Nick. A win is a win. Only Arsenal and United fans would typically say shit kind that.
Definitely agree we were a bit complacent, though the team changes were in part at fault for that. Definitely a lesson for Diallo today

felly1 added 17:45 - Nov 1
None of the goals conceded were Stephens fault.
The first was Armstrong giving the ball away in a dangerous area. The second was a poor foul giving away the pen and the third was just a precise shot from Grealish.
A strange game that gives the doom merchants something to froth about. I'm surprised no one has mentioned the owner!!
Anyhow well Saints, yet another game with fantastic goals, excitement and yet another away win.
Happy days!!!

StRipper added 17:54 - Nov 1
*perspective not predictive

SanMarco added 19:19 - Nov 1
Great result - combination of going to sleep once the game was won and the injuries probably caused the Villa come-back. The doom-sayers are talking like it ended 4-4 !! Bednerak is a better defender than Stephens so that swap was bound to make a bit of a difference - the loss of Bertrand and then JWP going to LB was more of an issue I would think. Let's hope Ings is not out for long. He is the difference between top and bottom half for me. But that is to worry about for another day. I am not going to jinx us by talking about going to sleep top of the table in a few nights time but wouldn't that be nice...???!!!

SaintStu7 added 19:41 - Nov 1
This was a fantastic performance and great result. This would have definitely ended in defeat a couple of years ago but such was our brilliance we had enough to cover for a soft penalty, lapse of concentration, lucky strike, poor defending, late goal. All these happen during games in the season but they all came in this game and we still won!!!

ElSanto added 19:43 - Nov 1
Cheers, David! Yeah, after 3-0 I thought we were going to sit back and defend. Then I was also scared we were going to sub off Ingsy for Long to protect him after that lead. Then when they were coming back...

All in all, nearly 11g's back :) Getting taken out immediately.

Send me a DM with your address and I'll send you a nice bottle of whatever you like for praying for me!

Boris1977 added 20:10 - Nov 1
As Greasvie said it's a funny old game. The late goals took the shine off the 90 minute performance but it does demonstrate the difference between teams like Saints and heavily funded clubs who can lose 3 players to injury and replace them with similarly talented players. Not too worried about the late goals conceded but hope all 3 subbed players aren't out for long.

And Congratulations to El Santo - talk about putting faith in your club.

AmericanSaint added 20:55 - Nov 1
Well, I think we can al say that was an entertaining game for sure. I would agree that Stephans did himself no favors today and at the moment shows he is the weakest link in our CBs. Their first goal was all SA fault. What kind of bs play out of the back was that. Second goal was a simple straight Pen. The third one is where i have issue as the ref looked at his watch around the 96 mark (6 add minutes) and let play continue and then Stephans actually moves left out of the way on the shot. Look at it in slow motion and he moves. UGH. The score flattered AV. The key point in the game was RB leaving and moving JWP to left back, that disrupted the OR/JWP midfield. We did not have one backup FB on the bench. That is crazy. Anyways, we need to hope Ingsy is okay and RB and JB are set for Friday. Congrats to the birthday boy JWP for one hell of game. COYR.

LordDZLucan added 21:00 - Nov 1
Great first half. A very average second half. The problem in the second half was that Villa pushed another man into midfield and we didn't match them. The result? Grealish was a free man with no-one near him. Maybe the injuries prohibited Ralph from making the necessary change to our formation.

aceofthebase added 21:26 - Nov 1
Obviously Redmond's fault for their three goals. He should have insisted that he came onto the field to replace the tiring Walcott or Armstrong. He should have nutted Long and said it was his turn to play.

davidargyll added 07:06 - Nov 2
Prayer is free ElSanto. Please give my bottle or monetary equivalent to someone who needs it like your local food bank. Seriously. But thank you for the thought.

SalisburySaint added 07:45 - Nov 2
To be fair to McCarthy whose second half performance was superb, I thought we was unsighted by Stephens (if you see angle from behind the goal) for the Grealish goal and by the time he saw it, it was too late to react. As regards second half think Armstrong should have given KWP more assistance as he was often left one on one with Grealish, when as their main man we should have been doubling up. Still can't complain with a magnificent performance for the majority of the game, that's 4-2, 3-1 and 4-3 wins in our last three games at Villa, we certainly seem to like playing there, unbeaten in six games since our return to the premier league.

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