[Editor’s Note] Every match, Liam - our young writer - selects a ‘man of the match’ - win, lose or draw.
Frustrating, infuriating, disappointing are three adjectives that perfectly describe Aston Villa’s performance yesterday as Dean Smith’s side lost 3-1 to Southampton.
The Villans dominated possession in the early stages however were unsuccessful in taking the lead with El Ghazi and Hourihane forcing McCarthy into action.
The Saints began to grow into the match after 15th minutes with Long and Ward-Prowse capitalising on Villa’s complacency and shooting wide of the goal. After creating numerous chances, Hasenhüttl’s side took the lead in the 21st minute after Danny Ings powerfully struck the ball into the bottom right hand corner.
The away side continued to pressurise Villa’s defence and Englishman Jack Stephens doubled Southampton’s lead after the defender’s intricate header beat a helpless Tom Heaton in the net.
Naivety continued to prevail within Dean Smith’s side as the boys in claret and blue lacked creativity with Grealish isolated on the wing as well as Wesley receiving no support up front.
The visitors secured all three points in the 51st minute after Danny Ings scored his second goal of the game, intricately finishing the ball into the roof of the net.
Jack Grealish’s exquisite volley proved to be a consolation goal as Aston Villa suffered their 11th loss of the season whilst Southampton now sit in 17th place in the Premier League table.
A bad day at the office for Villa as the Saints’ experience prevailed over the youthful Villans as Dean Smith’s side looked fatigued as well inadequate. Despite the disappointing display, there was one man who continued to lead his team and he was my Man of the Match Tom Heaton.
In order to survive in the Premier League you need to have a mixture of experience and youth in your squad. With Tom Heaton in goal we have an experienced goalkeeper who has tested himself against football’s elite on many occasions. Unfortunately he is more susceptible to conceding due to the inexperience of Villa’s defence however throughout the remainder of this season, Heaton will prove to be a vital member of the squad due to his leadership qualities. Tom Heaton is a credit to Aston Villa Football Club and hopefully in January we are able to sign some more experienced players in order to maintain our Premier League status.
Another fixture of paramount importance on Boxing Day against Norwich City however can Dean Smith’s side reign victorious over the Canaries and secure three points?