Aston Villa 1-3 Southampton: Villa slip into bottom three
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21: Shane Long of Southampton celebrates during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Southampton FC at Villa Park on December 21, 2019 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)

Story of the match

Aston Villa fell to an eleventh defeat of the Premier League campaign as Ralph Hasenhuttl's Saints eased their relegation fears over the festive period.

Danny Ings helped Southampton to a 2-0 lead at the break.

His first came within 20 minutes as Shane Long gave Bjorn Engels the slip out wide. The Irish international struck across Tom Heaton but a strong save from the goalkeeper could only present Ings with an open goal.

Jack Stephens’ header doubled Southampton’s lead before a chorus of boos were heard from the stands as the home faithful vented their anger at their underperforming team.

A bright start to the second period produced precious little for Villa who went three down on the 51st minute. Ings turned and struck into the top corner after latching onto Mervelous Nakamba’s loose touch in the box.

Jack Grealish then lit up Villa Park twenty minutes from time by bringing the ball under control before volleying straight into Alex McCarthy’s top corner.

Johnathan Kodjia was introduced after his impressive display in the midweek quarter final in the Carabao Cup, but failed to make an impact as Villa’s feint signs of life faded away.

Takeaways

Danny Ings for England

Arguably the nations most inform forward, Ings has staked his claim for a call up with EURO 2020 looming. The Saints forward is different to both Harry Kane and Tammy Abraham as a striker, but ultimately scores goals.

McGinn to be missed

Whilst John McGinn had been battling on with a torn thigh since suffering the injury on international duty in November, another injury has set him back for good. A spell on the sidelines will allow him to recuperate, but McGinn’s absence will be missed over the festive period.

Huge Boxing Day

With Villa now three points away from safety, a home game to Norwich on Boxing Day is a must win for Dean Smith. Pressure will mount on Villa’s head coach if his side fail to take all three points from their final game at Villa Park this decade.

What's next fro these two?

Villa will welcome Norwich City to the second city on Thursday.

Southampton will travel to Chelsea for a Boxing Day in the capital.

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