Smash and Grab at St Mary's
Villa went out to put the wrongs right against Southampton and they did exactly that with a smash and grab performance away to their 'bogey team'
Dean Smith thought Villa started the game well but it was Southampton creating all the chances, and a controversial handball against Matty Cash which the referee did not give, VAR also checked and did not give this. The reasoning behind this was the fact that the bal hit Cash's thigh before hitting his hand which under the new rules, whether you like it or not, states that it is not a penalty kick.
That decision did seem to help villa kick on a bit, Watkins linking up well and a great strike was stopped by McCarthy in the Saints goal, 5 mins before half time, Villa did strike first, Brilliant switch of play by Douglas Luiz to Matt Targett who clipped an accurate ball forward to Grealish, on his left foot, Jack put in great cross and in the box, Ross Barkley was unmarked, and a terrific header beat McCarthy. Villa had a chance not long after that to wrap the game up, Barkley winning the ball back on the halfway line and finding a determined Watkins who's first shot was blocked, but the striker never gave up and his second shot was saved by McCarthy.
In the Second half, Southampton ramped it up a gear, but Martinez and Villa stood uup to the challenge, a free kick that was cleared away well by Luiz, luckily deflected into the path of Che Adams off of Traore and Ings and but Martinez denied Adams with a top save, with Cash clearing the rebound, not long after that a James Ward-Prowse corner caused Villa all sorts of problems, Bednarek was initially denied by Martimez with Adams shot then blocke expertly by John McGinn and then Stephen's shot was also blocked on the line by Matty Cash. Ut is brilliant being a Villa fan right now, when you know the players will do anything to put their body on the line to keep a clean sheet for the club.
All of the drama was towards the end of the game though when Martinez pushed Adams shot high into the air, only for Danny Ings to score the rebound. As Ings wheeled away in celebrations the linesman had his flag up. This was then checked by VAR, and the finest of margins ensured that Danny Ings was offside. After the game Dean Smith said "Luckily it wasn't John McGinn's backside otherwise he would have been onside!"
Emi Martinez: 10.0 - Martinez was heroic as he kept Villa in the game on many occasions, thoroughly deserved his clean sheet.
Matty Cash: 9.0 - Cash on many occasions in this game was involved in controversy but he made a great save and has a small backside so deserves a 9 for me!
Ezri Konsa: 9.5 - Konsa was immense, one moment that sticks out is when Ings was deemed offside but all of the other Villa players stopped, Konsa didn't, showed superb pace to get back and keep up with him to block the shot, even tho it was offside.
Tyrone Mings: 9.5 - Mings was also superb, blocking shots, and intercepting crosses with his partner.
Matt Targett: 8.5 - Targett had to play a bit of a different role, he wasn't really allowed to spring forward by the Saints but was still effective, having a hand in the goal.
Douglas Luiz: 8.0 - Douglas Luiz had to be more defensive but did the job well, protecting the defence.
John McGinn: 8.0 - Love, Ginny! The all-action midfielder was at it again today.
Bertrand Traore: 7.0 - Wasn't really Traore's day today as the winger wasn't really a threat, played well defensively though.
Ross Barkley: 8.5 - Scored the goal with a superb header, thought he was also very disciplined when he had to be.
Jack Grealish: 9.0 - Grealish was superb as always, created the goal for Barkley, and creates other chances too, won fouls when he needed to and defended well also, when he needed to, Captains performance!
Ollie Watkins: 8.5 - As always, Ollie worked hard last night, starting the press from the front and was unlucky not to score.
Marvelous Nakamba: 6.0 - Didn't get a chance to impress.