Ward-Prowse magic builds 4-0 lead, Villa comeback just short
Aston Villa - Southampton: It was the James Ward-Prowse show at Villa Park, as the midfielder scored twice and added an assist in a 4-3 win over Aston Villa on Saturday.
Saints scored the first four but Tyrone Mings, Ollie Watkins, and Jack Grealish pulled three back for Villa, the latter two in stoppage time, in a genuine fight back that will give Dean Smith some comfort.
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Ward-Prowse scored two delightful free kicks (of course he did) after setting up a Jannik Vestergaard goal. Stuart Armstrong set up Danny Ings for Saints’ fourth.
Aston Villa - Southampton saw the visitors leapfrog the hosts and claim third on the table with 13 points, three back of Liverpool. Villa’s 12 points are good for sixth, with a match-in-hand on Saints.
Three things we learned from Aston Villa - Southampton
1. The best free kick taker in the Premier League: The Juninho of St. Mary’s was back at it again Sunday, as Ward-Prowse scored two exceptional free kicks that could dismiss anyone’s concerns about labeling the 26-year-old’s claims to the set piece throne.
Ward-Prowse used a dead ball to collect an assist before smashing two free kicks home.
2. Villa doesn’t quit: Say what you will about their terrible first half but Dean Smith’s squad did not write this off at halftime. Down 3-0 and then handed another reason to mail it in at an empty Villa Park, the Villans will feel their second-half was nearly as controlling as Saints’ opening 45.
3. Danny does Ings things before injury: If Saints were going to score four goals, you know Danny Ings was going to be amongst them. It took until Southampton’s fourth to register Ings’ fifth goal in seven PL appearances this season. He scored 22 last season including seven in nine matches of Project Restart.
All told there’s reason to worry about his leaving the pitch in the 85th minute with injury, moments after Ryan Bertrand did the same. It’s a leg ailment and we’ll anxiously await the thoughts of Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Man of the Match
Aston Villa - Southampton recap
Saints could’ve had four or five in the first half, but Che Adams was found just offside by VAR
Ward-Prowse’s free kick from the left home was thumped into the side netting by the noggin of Vestergaard.
The next two goals were from Ward-Prowse free kicks but they were a different efforts to the same spot of the goal.
His first was smashed straight inside the near post from the left side, while his second came centrally. Ward-Prowse whipped that one into the same spot.
It became four after the break through Ings, off Armstrong’s set-up.
Full credit to Villa, they kept coming for it.
Mings powered a chipped Grealish cross home to make it 4-1 and Alex McCarthy needed to make a big save on a back-post effort in the 78th before making a better stop two minutes later to deprive Mings of a brace.
A late penalty allowed Watkins to hit the board and Grealish caught McCarthy out-of-position with mere seconds left in six minutes stoppage.