Southampton 1-0 Aston Villa: Heroes, villains & player ratings as AVFC fall to five PL defeats in a row

Villa fall to fifth Premier League defeat in a row as pressure builds on manager Dean Smith

Aston Villa’s woes continued as they lost 1-0 to fall to their fifth straight Premier League defeat away at Southampton.

Adam Armstrong’s third minute strike was enough to separate the two sides and could be enough to send Villa into the bottom three ahead of the international break.

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Dean Smith, Manager of Aston Villa reacts during the Premier League match between Southampton and Aston Villa at St Mary's Stadium on November 05, 2021 in Southampton, England

After a torrid run of form, Aston Villa were in need of a good start at St Mary’s Stadium on Friday night. They got the exact opposite.

A long ball over the top from James Ward-Prowse saw Armstrong get inbetween Axel Tuanzebe and Matty Cash and fire an unstoppable shot past Emi Martinez with just 134 seconds played.

Southampton nearly doubled their lead through Che Adams and Oriol Romeu but neither could match the finishing prowess of Armstrong and Villa scraped through to the half just one goal behind.

Dean Smith’s side were better in the second half - though it was hard to be much worse.

Anwar El-Ghazi & Ollie Watkins both had efforts saved as Villa pushed for an equaliser but for all their efforts, they never really created a clear-cut opportunity.

The young forward duo of Cameron Archer and Keinan Davis were thrown on in the second-half to try and rescue their more experienced teammates and both did themselves no harm but you can’t expect them to salvage games like this.

A worrying evening for Villa who are in need of a turnaround and quick after the international break.

John McGinn and Axel Tuanzebe of Aston Villa acknowledge the fans following defeat in the Premier League match between Southampton and Aston Villa at St Mary’s Stadium

Heroes

  • Emiliano Martinez

One player that nearly always comes away with credit and did again tonight.

There was nothing Martinez could do about Armstrong’s worldie but he pulled off two outstanding saves to keep the score down and at least give his side a chance on the night.

  • Villa fans

Four defeats in a row before tonight. Trip to the south coast on a Friday night? No problem.

Most would be forgiven for not fancying the trip tonight but the fans once again traveled in big numbers and could have done no more - especially in the second-half to spur their team on.

It won’t be much of a consolation for the result but they deserve their credit regardless.

Players, officials and fans observe a minutes silence as part of the Remembrance Day proceedings prior to the Premier League match between Southampton and Aston Villa at St Mary's Stadium

Villains

  • Leon Bailey

Maybe it was the big expectation put on the Jamaican but he just didn’t perform tonight. That’s not to say anyone else did because they didn’t but first-half especially, Bailey had a shocker.

Kyle Walker-Peters gave him a torrid time down Southampton’s left and his defensive ability or lack-of was exposed big time.

He improved in the second but he needs to give more.

  • Anwar El-Ghazi

El-Ghazi was on the opposite flank to Bailey and had the same problems.

I actually thought the Dutch winger was the better of the two and looked more threatening but he shouldn’t have even been on the pitch in the second-half.

Less than 30 minutes in and he hauled down a Saints man. Already on a yellow card, it was a blatant second-yellow and the referee has let him off. Unforgivable decision to make when your team needs you.

  • James Ward-Prowse

The man Villa wanted in the summer showed exactly why they were so interested in bringing him to Villa Park tonight.

He ran the midfield alongside Romeu and his set-piece delivery was, as always, superb.

Martinez denied him what looked a certain goal in the second-half - one that his performance deserved.

Hero for Southampton. Villain for Villa. He’s exactly the type of man the claret & blue are craving in the middle of the park.

Mohamed Elyounoussi of Southampton runs with the ball whilst under pressure from Leon Bailey of Aston Villa during the Premier League match between Southampton and Aston Villa at St Mary's Stadium

Player ratings

Southampton (4-4-2): McCarthy 7; Livramento 8, Bednarek 7, Salisu 7, Walker-Peters 8; Armstrong 6 (56’ Lyanco 6), Ward-Prowse 7, Romeu 7, Elyounoussi 6 (76’ Diallo N/A); Armstrong 8* (81’ Broja N/A), Adams 8

Aston Villa (4-2-3-1): Martinez 7*; Cash 6, Tuanzebe 5, Mings 6, Targett 6; McGinn 5, Nakamba 6 (62’ Ramsey 6); Bailey 4, Buendia 5 (71’ Archer 6), El Ghazi 4 (78’ Davis N/A); Watkins 6