Ollie Watkins’ second-half header sealed back-to-back wins under Unai Emery for the first time as they secured a 1-0 win over Southampton at St Mary’s.
Hopes might have been high among home fans of breaking out of the relegation zone after their team’s decisive victory over fellow strugglers Everton last weekend, but the hosts managed just one shot during a tepid first half.
A nine-minute delay due to a drone flying over the pitch just before half-time was arguably the most entertaining thing to happen during the first 45 minutes, but things finally seemed to pick up when James Ward-Prowse’s shot was deflected. Emiliano Martinez puts Southampton ahead on the hour mark.
However, referee Michael Salisbury disallowed the goal for a simple foul on Jacob Ramsey by Mohamed Elyounoussi after the VAR advised him to review the incident, and Villa rubbed salt into the Saints’ wounds when Watkins nodded in to Douglas Luiz’s free-kick in the 77th minute. respectively in the English Premier League.
Southampton: Bazono (5), Layanko (6), Kalita Carr (6), Salisu (7), Walker-Peters (6), Diallo (7), Lafia (6), Edouzi (6), Ward-Prowse (6), Armstrong ( 5), Adams (5).
Submarines: Mara (5), El-Younossi (5), Perod (5), Orsik (unknown), Ginepo (unknown).
Aston Villa: Martinez (8), Young (7), Konsa (7), Mings (6), Moreno (7), Ramsey (7), Kamara (6), Luiz (7), Bailey (5), Watkins (7), Buendia (6).
Submarines: Coutinho (6), Cash (unknown), Dendoncker (unknown).
man of the match Emiliano Martinez.
The Saints’ momentum ended with Villa and Farr
Nathan Jones had finally stepped up and coached Southampton in the two weeks before the Villa visit after overseeing three successive wins in three different competitions, but that momentum faded during a frustrating afternoon against Emery’s side.
The visitors had more than 70 per cent possession during a dominant first half, but went into the second half goalless thanks to some wasted finishing, with Ramsey firing straight at Gavin Bazuno when he came face-to-face with the Saints goalkeeper, before Leon Bailey chipped away. bounce over the bar.
- Southampton made one change, with Adam Armstrong replacing Mohamed Elyounoussi, while new signing Charlie Alcaraz was placed on the bench.
- Aston Villa also made only one adjustment, as Alex Moreno started his first match in place of the injured Lucas Digne.
Ramsey was then unfortunate enough to score a penalty after being stopped from behind by Mohamed Salisu, while the attacking Saints’ only threat prevented Kyle Walker-Peters from being offside after he slotted the ball into the net.
A drone flew over the pitch and then saw the players return to the dressing rooms, but Villa stayed in the lead once they returned, with Pele wasting again, firing well at Bazuno after the goalkeeper gifted the ball to the visitors.
But Southampton thought they had moved up against the run of play when Ward-Prowse scored for the fifth time in their last five league games, only to have the captain’s celebrations cut short when the referee advised Salisbury to take another look at the build-up. -above.
The official spotted a push in Ramsey’s back by Elyounoussi – and things went from bad to worse for Jones and his side when he left Watkins unmarked in the middle of the area to drive in a direct free-kick from Luiz to continue Villa’s fine form under Emery.
Villa Emery win with or without the ball
Having won five of his first seven Premier League matches, it’s fair to say that Emery has made a very impressive start to life at Villa.
Victories at home to Manchester United in his first game for Tottenham on New Year’s Day, but the former Villarreal boss may take more encouragement than Villa’s previous two results.
Emery said that after being held at Villa Park by Wolves and then suffering a shock defeat at home to Stevenage in the FA Cup. Sky Sports He wanted his team to “get better with the ball” against sides who were happy to concede possession.
Leeds – Villa’s opponents last Friday – and Southampton did just that, but Villa found a way to get the most points from both matches.
Emery can now claim to have a team that can win games when they spend more than half the game out of possession – like against Manchester United and Tottenham – and when they have to take the lead, like St Mary’s.
They may still be 11th in the Premier League, but Emery’s side are now just five points behind fifth-placed Tottenham. The sky is the limit during the second half of the season.
Emery: We should be proud
Emery urged his team to take pride in their work after they picked up three points and conceded Birmingham a clean sheet, saying: “I think we played very well in the first 45 minutes, controlling the game and not conceding chances.
“But in the second half it was very difficult to maintain that challenge and the challenge was consistent. We struggled in some moments but we were positive to win. We competed very well. After the work the players put in, I think we deserve it.
“We have to be proud of our work and our backers – they’ve been with us again.”
Emery also revealed that he is still working on improving Villa’s squad ahead of the close of the end-of-the-month transfer window, saying: “We’re looking for something in the transfer window, but we’ll only add some players if they can improve for us, and if not, we’ll wait.” .
“My idea is to improve the team. Some players will leave, and we will want to add players to achieve the best balance in each position.”
Jones: The ref couldn’t wait to blow his whistle
Not only was Jones dissatisfied with the performance of the officials, but also the way his team defended the free kick that Watkins scored the winning goal.
“It’s frustrating,” said the Southampton boss when asked about Ward-Prowse’s disallowed goal. Is it a clear and obvious mistake? I’m not sure.
“I felt like the referee couldn’t wait to take the free kicks. He exploded at every opportunity. We have a little bit of displeasure with that but it’s one of those things.
“It’s a different story if we defend our playing group better – that’s all we need to do. We showed naivety and that’s happened in a few games this season.
“We have to defend that better. The level of performance was good, in terms of limiting the really good aspect to very little.
“It’s just a frustrating afternoon. We can’t let players get in between us from a free kick, we showed real naivety with that. Those are the things we need to stamp out.
“We have to get a point. We were the team at the top. We made all the positive changes, and we wanted to continue the game. It wasn’t like we needed to hold on, we wanted to win the game.”
Opta Stats: The Saints continues the miserable home form
- Aston Villa have won three consecutive away matches in the Premier League for the first time since November 2020. They have won just three of their previous 15 matches on the road.
- Southampton lost four consecutive matches at home in the English Premier League for the first time since November 2019, while the Saints scored fewer points (6) at home than any other team in the first four levels of the English Premier League this season.
- Aston Villa won three consecutive Premier League matches against Southampton for the first time in April 1999.
- This is the last in a season (20 matches) Southampton finished a day bottom of the Premier League table since the last day of the 2004-05 season, when they suffered their only relegation from the competition so far.
- Ollie Watkins has been involved in 40 Premier League goals for Aston Villa, scoring 29 goals and assisting 11.
Southampton Turn their attention away from the Premier League with a trio of cup matches to contend with. saints host Newcastle Tuesday in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-finals, live on Sky Sports – 8pm.
Southampton then hosts the Championship team Blackpool In the fourth round of the FA Cup next Saturday – starting at 3 pm – before the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final on Tuesday, January 31, broadcast live on Sky Sports. The start of the match is 8 pm.
Their next Premier League match will be at 3pm ET Brentford On Saturday, February 4th.
Aston VillaTheir exit in the third round of the FA Cup means they will have the next weekend. Their next Premier League match is the Midlands derby at home lester On Saturday, February 4 – 3 p.m.