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Southampton v Aston Villa Player Ratings

After Deano ripped into the squad, whos performances deserved telling off?

Southampton FC v Aston Villa - Premier League Photo by Alex Broadway/Getty Images

The result against Spurs at home last gameweek represented a turning point for Aston Villa. After a good performance which should have been rewarded with a point, it was apparent that the squad was ready to perform against anyone en route to survival. After the Southampton loss, things feel very different. Against Southampton, the squad simply gave up fighting and took a loss in a very winnable game. This lackluster performance prompted the most terse press interview from Dean Smith that he’s delivered in his time here. Among the negative comments, the manager mentioned, “Certainly a lot of the players have played themselves out of the team for [the League Cup Final] next week”. So, instead of rating individual performances and handing out a Man of the Match award, which the traveling Villa fans would have won anyways, this article will be examining who played themselves out of a cup final.

Starting XI: GK: Pepe Reina, LWB: Matt Targett, CB: Kourtney Hause, CB: Tyrone Mings, CB: Ezri Konsa, RWB: Frederic Guilbert, CM: Marvelous Nakamba, CM: Douglas Luiz, LW: Jack Grealish, ST: Mbwana Samatta, RW: Anwar El Ghazi

Pepe Reina

Reina was ever present in the Spurs game and this fixture proved more of the same from him. Although there were two goals scored, attributing anything to the veteran would be overlooking the horrendous defensive effort that was given. Reina was berated with shots all day and was able to make seven saves. Also, he wasn’t even in net for one of the two goals scored by the Saints as they took advantage of the keeper coming up for the final corner of the game. The only weakness in Reina’s game against Southampton was his distribution which had been a strong point as of late. Reina was one of the few Aston Villa players who truly fought against Southampton. Verdict: IN the Starting Lineup

Matt Targett

Targett played an incredibly sloppy game against Southampton. The wingback was guilty of 3 fouls and poor defensive positioning for much of the game. Targett also struggled against James Ward Prowse’s constant movement and let cross after cross get into the box. Usually, Targett’s defensive errors can be forgiven due to his offensive prowess but his biggest offensive contribution to the game was being fouled and earning a free kick. Targett did however clear the ball effectively and didn’t have the worst performance in the squad. Also, the thought of Neil Taylor playing against Manchester City in a Cup Final in his place is frightening. Verdict: IN the Starting Lineup

Kourtney Hause

Hause was a spectator for most of the game, opting to step aside rather than stick his nose in at times. He gave up two fouls on defense and didn’t register a tackle despite playing the full match at center half against a Southampton squad that set up camp in the offensive third. Hause was somewhat efficient as a whole in playing out the back, but there were a couple wasted possessions due to a sloppy pass by the center half. Hause was poor and was a part of a defense that made Shane Long look like Sergio Aguero. Verdict: OUT of the Starting Lineup

Tyrone Mings

Tyrone Mings truly must love Aston Villa because week after week he puts in a hard fought performance no matter what is going on around him. As the Villa defense was nodding off throughout the Southampton game Mings was still trying to hold it all together. The English international was the only defender not to concede a foul and filled his stat sheet with a couple of tackles and six clearances. Mings also blocked three shots and played decent enough offensively. His performance was the best of the backline by far, but that’s not saying much. Verdict: IN the Starting Lineup

Ezri Konsa (Subbed 58’)

Ezri Konsa should have been subbed off at halftime, Smith gave him the beginning of the second half though and Konsa did not repay the manager’s faith. Konsa was overrun by Shane Long and allowed the striker ample space to work with. Konsa also earned a yellow card via a foolish foul at the end of the half. The performance was so lackluster that Smith changed systems midgame, something that he is wholly reluctant to do. With Konsa’s poor performance, the 433 system may be back for the Cup Final but Konsa will be watching from the sideline. Verdict: OUT of the Starting Lineup

Frederic Guilbert

Frederic Guilbert knows he played poorly and told the world so on his Instagram. The fullback was incredibly off rhythm against Southampton. Guilbert missed passes, dispossessed often and gave up 5 fouls. However, he was one of the few players who was able to create a chance during the game and had 4 clearances during the game. Guilbert played like a 4 out of 10 against Southampton, no doubt about it. But, he is a hard worker and should be able to prove himself to the manager before team selection on Sunday. Verdict: IN the Starting Lineup.

Marvelous Nakamba (Subbed 80’)

Southampton was able to set up camp in the Aston Villa defensive third on Saturday because of the lack of pressure applied by the midfield. Nakamba never got ahold of the game and let it slip through his fingers. As a defensive midfielder by trade Nakamba is expected to break play up, make a tackle or two, and successfully transition defense into offense if possible. Against Southampton he looked unable to apply meaningful pressure, trap or contain the ball, and wasn’t able to make a tackle. The biggest defensive contribution from the Zimbabwean was a blocked shot which is a bit disappointing. Although it is unclear if Dean Smith will go ahead without a defensive midfielder in his starting eleven, Nakamba needs to be much better during training to be considered for a spot. Verdict: OUT of the Starting Lineup

Douglas Luiz

Douglas Luiz didn’t set the world alight against Southampton, but he wasn’t terrible either. The Brazilian was able to get a bit more stuck into his defensive responsibilities than his midfield partner, Luiz made some tackles and generally didn’t let the opposition run by him. Douglas Luiz did let up some easy fouls though, but they were in the spirit of stopping momentum in midfield. Offensively, Luiz didn’t create any chances, but he did have a few successful dribbles and won four headers. This performance doesn’t raise any eyebrows but it’s not embarrassing either. Verdict: IN the Starting Lineup

Jack Grealish

Jack wasn’t his spectacular self against Southampton, but he was still the best player for Villa. Grealish was able to create an opportunity and take a shot and was one of the two players to do both for Aston Villa. Also, the captain was fouled an astounding 5 times over the course of the match. Anytime he seemed to get momentum, or a run started, Grealish was kicked or dragged down. At the end of the match he could have been accused of trying to do to much but with the performances around him who can blame Jack. If Grealish was left out of any squad posted by Dean Smith it would be shocking. Verdict: IN the Starting Lineup

Mbwana Samatta

Although Samagoal was ruled offside a couple of times with a view to goal, he was the only other Villa player not named Jack Grealish that looked dangerous Saturday. Samatta made runs all day and was genuinely upset that he couldn’t get a ball. The Tanzanian had a shot against Southampton and had a successful dribble as well. Further, his pressing was good throughout the game. Although there wasn’t much in this game for him, Samatta showed a willingness to grit his teeth and keep fighting even when others gave up. Verdict: IN the Starting Lineup

Anwar El Ghazi (Subbed 27’)

Anwar El Ghazi was injured early as he was just settling into the game after a hit in the face during a challenge. El Ghazi looked like he was ready to take the game on, so the injury was a real shame. If he is fit, there is no reason for his exclusion from the starting eleven. Verdict: IN the Starting Lineup

Substitutions: RW: Trezeguet (27’), CM: Conor Hourihane (58’), ST: Borja Baston (80’)


Trezeguet came on as a substitute but got starting lineup level minutes and played from the 27th minute on. Although Trezeguet looked lively at times he was too wasteful for it to truly matter. The Egyptian had a passing percentage of 58.3% which was the second lowest of any Villa player who had similar minutes. Granted some of this inefficiency was magnified due to Guilbert’s struggles on the same side, it really cost the club. However, Trezeguet was able to get the only shot on target and did create a chance. IF the wastefulness can be nipped in the bud then and only then should he be considered for Wembley. Verdict: In consideration for a start

Conor Hourihane

As soon as Hourihane came on to the pitch, the Villa offense had some life. The movement and creativity of the midfielder allowed others to perform in different ways and opened up space on the left wing for Grealish. The only sore spot in his performance was the selfishness to take a shot rather than lay the ball off to an open Grealish. In any other game this is simply a missed opportunity but against Southampton it was the best move of the game. Verdict: IN the Starting Lineup

Borja Baston

Baston showed some real energy when he was on the pitch. Although he only had 5 touches, Baston really attempted to run around and get involved. The Spaniard was even able to have a half decent passing percentage of 75%. If El Ghazi isn’t fit then some variation of a 2-striker system may be considered, Baston might just contribute in a significant way. Verdict: In consideration