A number of refereeing decisions went in the away teams favour this afternoon, allowing them to capitalize and walk away with all three points on offer. The Aston Villa defence bounced back from conceding 3 away at Burnley in the best possible manner with a resilient display under the watchful eye of new signing, Morgan Sanson.
Emi Martínez: 10/10
A show stopping display from the man between the sticks allowed Aston Villa to welcome their 10th clean sheet of the campaign with Martínez keeping his name in the race for the golden glove. A key save late on from a Che Adams shot exhibited a display of dominance between the sticks; one of many important saves in what was a tough evening.
Matty Cash: 8/10
The right back played his part in what was a dominant defensive display, He was the victim of a VAR check in the first half, which could have easily seen Southampton awarded a penalty for handball, however, controversially was seen to be innocent. He enjoyed a good game, ending the night with a high pass percentage rate and luckily played striker, Danny Ings, offside in the dying embers to see a last gasp Southampton equaliser ruled out.
Ezri Konsa: 9/10
A game that saw little defensive let up from the Villans. Defensive positioning and solidarity, while protecting the goal from countless efforts from the home team. Ezri enjoyed a successful evening under the floodlights, keeping talisman, Danny Ings, at bay and showcasing his comfortable nature with the ball at his feet.
Tyrone Mings: 9/10
The natural leadership qualities that the England international possesses was on display for all to see this evening, guiding his back four to the clean sheet. His ruthless characteristics shone as he threw himself in front of whatever Southampton looked to conjure up on multiple occasions. The resilience of the former Bournemouth player showed he would throw himself in front of a grenade in order to protect his well-earned clean sheet. A loud, reassuring bellow echoed across St Mary’s in injury time, consisting of ‘Let’s f*****g keep this tight lads, we have earned it’; showing he wasn’t prepared to travel back North without the three points on this occasion.
Matty Targett: 9/10
Another brilliant display from the left back, creating questions of if he should be in the picture for an England call up. He managed to match the pace of tricky wingers, Theo Walcott and Nathan Redmond, offering them little joy and forcing them to attempt to play through the middle.
John McGinn: 8/10
The ruthless running of the Scotsman carried Villa up the pitch on countless occasions, allowing them to ease the pressure on the back four while managing to find a forward pass on the break on several occasions. Tonight showcased the midfielders defensive characteristics, highlighting his versatility.
Douglas Luiz: 8/10
The Brazilian had the responsibility of sitting comfortably in front of the back four, sweeping up the loose balls, and looking to get the ball out wide to the flanks. He managed to complete this task numerous times and whilst it being simple, it proved to be effective; easing pressure on the back four and ultimately ensuring his team returned to B6 with all three points.
Ross Barkley: 8/10
The midfielder eventually scored the only goal of the game, grabbing all points available from a very tough away game. Ultimately, a very cagey affair was settled by the impressive header from the Chelsea loanee, which marked his first goal since returning from injury. The Englishman managed to see the game out until he was brought off late into stoppage time, showing he is ever closer to reaching full fitness.
Jack Grealish: 9/10
The captain often found himself tasked with picking up a loose ball on the half way line and driving down each flank looking to provide a dangerous ball into the box. He was eventually able to turn one of those opportunities into perfection late in the first half when he picked up another assist to add to his tally for the campaign; setting up teammate, Ross Barkley, for what would turn out to be the only goal of the game.
Bertrand Traoré: 7/10
The winger often found himself frustrated after being dispossessed on countless occasions. However, he managed to do the basics well, keeping possession inside the opponents half and often feeding the full backs with the overlap. The Burkina Faso native didn’t neglect his defensive responsibility and was part of the reason we came away without conceding.
Ollie Watkins: 9/10
A resilient display from the centre forward. His physicality was challenged by the Southampton backline on a number of occasions, but he managed to ride the storm and found himself often testing the Southampton keeper with a number of good efforts on target.