Will Danny Ings Be Facing The Music For Aston Villa At Southampton
Monday, 1st Nov 2021 09:00
Aston Villa travel to St Mary's to face Saints on Friday evening with the focus being on local born Southampton lad Danny Ings who left the club under a cloud on the eve of the Premier League season back in August, but it seems that he might not be returning on Friday night.
Danny Ings was a surprise omission from the Aston Villa squad to face West Ham United on Sunday, since joining Villa in what was a surprise deal that took Saints by surprise as with a week to go to the season the negotiations they had had with the player had suggested that he would only leave if a club in the Champions League came in for him.
That never happened and out of the blue he suddenly announced he wanted to join Aston Villa for the "Challenge" I'm sure the small matter of £130k a week a wage that at 29 he was never likely to be able to get at St Mary's played no part in his decision.
Saints fans were gobsmacked, Ings had been a hero, the prodigal son who returned home and made good, but then suddenly was gone, the proverbial arriving home from work to find an envelope on the mantle piece rather than being told face to face.
But so far the move to Villa has proved challenging for Ings, but not in the way he expected.
Initially it started well, he scored a penalty on the opening day of the season, but Villa still lost 3-2 at Watford, a week later he scored his second goal in a 2-0 win over Newcastle United and he looked set to resume where he left off at Saints.
But these were the last goals he would get for the next 6 games and almost 2 months, before scoring against Wolves, he would start every game but things were not gelling on the field, either for Ings or for Villa themselves.
They won a couple of games that made their league position look respectable, but it was papering over the cracks, they were clearly missing Jack Grealish who had been at the heart of the team on the field.
After 3 straight defeats manager Dean Smith decided he had to do something going into the game against West Ham yesterday and he did so, England defender Tyrone Mings was dropped to the bench and Danny Ings and Douglas Luiz did not make the 18 man squad at all.
After the game Smith would not be drawn about the missing players from the squad, but did say this in his post match interview.
"We had to shuffle the pack a little bit."
"We’ve had some forced pull-outs as well, I won’t go into specifics but a few soft-tissue injuries and a couple of Covid related issues."
"We’ve had to adjust it somewhat."
It was a very vague answer and perhaps posed as many questions as it answered, was Smith covering up for issues in the squad that resulted in a 4-1 drubbing for Villa against West Ham and it could have been far worse, yes Villa had a defender red carded and from a Saints perspective it means Ezri Konza will miss the trip to St Mary's but will he be joined in missing the clash by Danny Ings.
So is the ex Saint injured ?
The potential is there after all his injury record at St Mary's meant that out of 112 Premier League games he did play he started just 58 with 9 off the bench, around 60% of the games he could have played in the Premier League.
Having played 9 straight Premier League matches for Villa it is highly likely that he could be injured, but whether that will keep him out of the trip to St Mary's is unclear.
Is he one of the Covid related issues ?
Let's hope not, no one wants to see anyone get this horrible disease.
Or is he one of the shuffled pack ?
Again hard to call certainly after paying £30 million Villa could expect more than the 3 goals that Ings has scored so far for them, on paper it doesn't look bad, a 1 in 3 ratio, roughly what he scored for Saints last season, but that is not what Dean Smith was expecting, none of those 3 goals affected an outcome, a last minute penalty at Watford merely made the score look respectable.
The 2-0 win over Newcastle was against a poor side and being in a 2-0 win didn't really make a difference and his goal against Wolves might have been vital had Villa not collapsed in the final 10 minutes or so to give away a 2-0 lead and lose 3-2.
Whatever the circumstances though having paid all that money Villa wanted so much more and they now find themselves looking over their shoulders at the bottom 3 and travel to St Mary's a point behind Saints and Danny Ings new challenge is not what he or his new employers expected.
Saints fans will probably have to wait until an hour before the kick off on Friday to find out whether Ings is in the Villa squad or not, personally I wish him no ill will I hope he plays and I hope we beat Villa and show them why he should have stayed at Southampton.
A note of caution however, as can be seen in the pictures above, Ings makes a habit of scoring against his old clubs, for Saints he scored against each of them in Bournemouth, Burnley & Liverpool we don't want to let him make it 4.
Photo: Action Images
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