Southampton beat Aston Villa 3-1 at Villa Park on Saturday in a massive win in the relegation battle.
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Saints raced into a 3-0 lead at Villa with in-form Danny Ings scoring twice and Jack Stephens grabbing another, and although Jack Grealish scored a beauty late on it was too little, too late for Villa.
With the win Southampton jump out of the relegation zone and have 18 points for the season, while Villa slip into the bottom three after their fourth defeat in arow in the Premier League.
3 things we learned
1. McGinn’s injury hits Villa hard: It looked like a really nasty injury to John McGinn in just third third minute as he caught his left ankle in the turf and required lengthy treatment. The Scotsman has been influential for Villa this season and if he is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines that is a big blow for the Midlands giants. Jack Grealish is rightly praised as Villa’s main man going forward but McGinn makes them tick.
2. Danny Ings is on fire: He has scored seven goals in his last seven Premier League games and is only the third Saints player to score 10 or more goals before Christmas in PL history. He is the main reason Saints are sitting out of the bottom three as the approach the midway point. The local lad is doing good, and Ings is so sharp and is finally benefitting from a stretch of not being injured. Right now he looks certain to get a call-up for the England national team in March and although Gareth Southgate isn’t short of options in attack, Ings’ pace and ability to be in the right place in the right time is Jamie Vardy-esque. Vardy probably isn’t going to come out of retirement for EURO 2020, so Ings would be a great option.
3. Dean Smith’s honeymoon period over: He is a Villa fan and got them promoted back to the Premier League, so Dean Smith will always have the thanks of the Villa faithful. But his honeymoon period is definitely over. After a summer of big spending plenty was expected of this Villa team but they aren’t delivering on that promise. Calls from Villa fans for Smith to be fired have started and defensively they continue to leak goals, while Wesley just isn’t providing the attacking fulcrum they need.
Man of the Match: Danny Ings - Two goals and he continues his fine start to the season. A constant pest and he could have scored four or five on Saturday.
Villa lost John McGinn just three minutes into the game as he caught his studs in the turf and injured his left ankle as he spent plenty of time getting treatment.
The home side had the first big chance as Alex McCarthy denied Anwar El Ghazi, then Shane Long somehow headed over from two yards out as Ryan Bertrand flashed a ball across the box.
Southampton then took the lead as Long was played in over the top by Redmond and his shot was saved by Tom Heaton but Ings was on hand to tap home.
Saints were well on top by this point and Jack Stephens crossed for Long but he couldn’t finish and moments later Long’s header almost snuck in off Kortney Hause.
Frederic Guilbert had a shot on half time which Alex McCarthy pushed over as Villa tried to get going after a poor first half.
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Southampton grabbed a third at the start of the second half as Villa only half cleared and Ings pounced on some hesitancy to rifle home his second and Saints’ third of the game.
Ings almost got in again but Redmond overhit his pass and he then smashed a shot into the near post, as Villa left plenty of gaps as they piled forward in search of a way back into the game.
Grealish smashed home an unstoppable effort from distance to make it 3-1 with 15 minutes to go.
Saints should have wrapped up the win but Ings had a shot saved and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s follow-up was over the bar.
Grealish had a late effort from distance which McCarthy tipped over the bar as the home side finished well but the damage was done in the first half.