With the victories of Bournemouth and Newcastle, Saturday's 1-1 draw for Aston Villa at Southampton, which saw the claret and blues drop more points from a winning position, seems like an even bigger missed opportunity now.
On the surface, a draw away to Southampton would've been a good result for Aston Villa in years past. But considering the club's current predicament, with the gap to 17th place in the Premier League growing larger each week, Villa really needed a win.
It would've been a win Villa certainly didn't deserve based on another mediocre performance; but having led for much of the second half, the two points dropped leave Villa deep in trouble.
Some Villa players acquitted themselves nicely, while others struggled. Here are the full player ratings -- based on a scale of 1 to 10 -- for Saturday's Southampton draw:
GK: Brad Guzan, Rating: 5
Made one nice save in the second half, but was otherwise largely untested by the Saints. Maybe could've claimed the corner kick cross that led to the goal, but it was a tough one. If Mark Bunn hasn't been inserted into the lineup by now, it would seem that Guzan will be the guy for the whole season.
RB: Alan Hutton, Rating: 5
Playing with a more defensive mindset than usual, Hutton did well to keep Dusan Tadic quiet. Hutton kept Steven Davis out with a great block early in the second half. He also made four clearances, but was yellow carded late after getting turned in a moment of poor defensive play by the Scot.
CB: Jores Okore, Rating: 6
Okore had a pleasant return to the starting lineup for Villa. After a lengthy absence, he made an impact with some nice defending, composure on the ball and just an overall more in-control demeanor than Micah Richards usually displays. Okore MUST start going forward.
CB: Joleon Lescott, Rating: 6
Scored his first goal for Villa to boost his rating, but Lescott was otherwise just alright. Made eight clearances, but some were after frustrating moments of hesitation. Didn't exactly stake his claim to the left center back job, and it will be interesting to see who manager Remi Garde goes with when Ciaran Clark returns from suspension next week.
LB: Leandro Bacuna, Rating: 6
With eight clearances and some strong defending, Bacuna did about as well as he could in his start at left back. Sadio Mane got the better of him a few times; but on the whole, Bacuna did a commendable job for 75 minutes before subbed. His pace and composure on the ball could see him retained in this role going forward.
RCM: Carlos Sanchez, Rating: 4
The weakest link in Villa's side on Saturday, Sanchez cost Villa the victory. He lost Oriol Romeu on the corner kick that led to Southampton's goal. And that wasn't Sanchez's only mistake. Several sloppy passes and some nervous play outweighed his usual few moments of strength and good tackling. Continues to be an incredibly frustrating player.
LCM: Idrissa Gana, Rating: 6
Six interceptions, three take-ons and two tackles displayed Gana's talents on Saturday as he ran the engine room for Villa with a fine match. More performances like this are needed from a player still adapting to the Premier League. Gana might be Villa's most complete and competent midfielder, and he will be an exciting player if he continues to improve.
RM: Scott Sinclair, Rating: 5
Did very little going forward or in possession, but Sinclair covered well defensively and put in a shift for the team. That's about it. Whether that makes him worthy of starting on a regular basis is up for debate.
LM: Jordan Ayew, Rating: 7
Continues to show himself as a class player. Another stand-out performance by Ayew, who really came into the match after the opening 20 minutes. Not everything came off for him, but he posed a threat every time he got on the ball and linked well with Gestede -- with the pair starting together for the first time in weeks. Ayew might thrive even more when played as a striker with Rudy though in matches where doing so makes sense.
CAM: Jordan Veretout, Rating: 7
Veretout was Villa's man of the match for me. His corners were effective and led to one goal. His passing and running was impressive throughout. And most importantly, he displayed a level of strength that met Premier League standards for maybe the first time this season. An obviously talented player, if Veretout continues to adapt to the physical demands of English football and adds that with his set pieces and decision-making in the final third, Villa could have a difference-maker in the second half of the season.
ST: Rudy Gestede, Rating: 5
Did his job admirably before running out of energy. Held the ball up at times and won seven headers, but missed Villa's best chance before the goal by completely whiffing on a low cross at his feet 12 yards from goal. He has his faults for sure, but Villa seem to do better with Gestede in the lineup.
RCM: Ashley Westwood, Rating: 4
Missed a great chance to win it for Villa, lashing a left-footed shot over the net from a difficult angle. Should've at least hit the target even on the bounce.
LB: Kieran Richarson, Rating: 5
Held his own in the final 20 minutes at left back. Disappointed in a few opportunities going forward though.