Saints edged out at Villa Park

By SFC Media time Fri 16 Sep Aston Villa vs Saints
Photo by Matt Watson | Romain Perraud
Fri 16 Sep 8PM
Premier League
Aston Villa
Ramsey [41']
Coutinho (45+4') Ramsey (58') Young (90+1')
yellow card
Ward-Prowse (82')
Referee: Tony Harrington | Venue: Villa Park | Attendance: 40,758

Southampton fell to a second successive 1-0 defeat on the road, as Jacob Ramsey’s first-half goal proved enough to settle a subdued Premier League encounter at Villa Park. 

There was a hint of controversy about the winner, with Ramsey clearly offside in the build-up, but when Gavin Bazunu tipped an Ollie Watkins header against the bar and Mohammed Salisu’s clearance landed kindly at the feet of the Villa man, Ramsey was deemed to have scored legally following a VAR review.

As an attacking force, Saints struggled to create any significant chances to score, as an uninspiring spectacle petered out in favour of the hosts.

With Premier League football returning for the first time since the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, both sets of players, joined by their managers, gathered in the centre circle for a minute’s silence and emotional rendition of the national anthem before kick-off.

Ralph Hasenhüttl made one change to his side, restoring Moussa Djenepo to the starting line-up after the winger signed a new three-year deal in the week, as Joe Aribo dropped to the bench.

That meant using Mohamed Elyounoussi in a slightly deeper midfield role, as Djenepo played wide on the right, with Adam Armstrong on the opposite flank and Ché Adams spearheading the attack.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 16: Southampton players observe a 2 minute silence during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Southampton FC at Villa Park on September 16, 2022 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Everybody inside Villa Park paid their respects to Queen Elizabeth II before kick-off

Saints were the first to threaten, as Djenepo galloped down the wing and delivered a teasing cross that was turned behind for a corner, which was headed wide by Elyounoussi at the near post.

The visitors’ confidence was underlined by some delightful footwork on the halfway line from Kyle Walker-Peters, who brilliantly worked his way out of a cul-de-sac and accelerated towards the penalty area, where he was halted by Lucas Digne’s perfectly-timed sliding tackle.

Despite the encouraging start, the first half an hour will not live long in the memory, before Philippe Coutinho set about bringing Villa Park to its feet with a moment of magic when he spun away from James Ward-Prowse and tried his luck with a rising 25-yard drive that just sailed over.

Villa’s game plan seemed fairly straightforward: get the ball wide and cross it, with Armel Bella-Kotchap heading out a flurry of balls until one evaded him and was met by Coutinho, who forced a low save from Bazunu at his near post.

From the resulting corner, however, Bazunu’s flying stop to deny Watkins sent the ball looping into the air and dropping on to the crossbar, before Salisu’s header fell kindly for Ramsey to rattle in the rebound via the same lick of paint.

A VAR review followed, with Ramsey offside from the initial cross, but Salisu’s minor touch reset the phase of play, ensuring the goal would stand.

Suddenly Villa had their tails up, as Leon Bailey’s deflected shot veered inches wide, prompting the home fans to cry for a shot from Douglas Luiz – that’s right, a shot, as Luiz has scored twice directly from corners already this season, and nearly did so again but for the back-pedalling Bazunu, who helped it behind for another.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 16: Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Southampton FC at Villa Park on September 16, 2022 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Manager Ralph Hasenhüttl used all five of his substitutions, but there was no way through for Saints

Hasenhüttl was quick to act at half time. Romain Perraud, who had been struggling with a knock, joined Ibrahima Diallo in being replaced, as Joe Aribo and Juan Larios – the latter making his debut in senior football – were introduced.

Larios gave the travelling fans some optimism with an impressive change of pace as he surged into Villa territory, but the move broke down as Saints struggled to sustain attacks.

In the 70th minute, to mark the Queen’s 70-year reign, Villa Park rose as one to applaud. On the pitch, the game continued to drift, as Stuart Armstrong and Sékou Mara were summoned in a bid to rescue a result, as Adams and Adam Armstrong made way.

By the 79th minute, Saints had a completely new-look left side, as Samuel Edozie joined Larios – the pair have a combined age of 37.

Winger Edozie was a bright spark last time out at Wolves, but on this occasion struggled to make an impact in his limited time on the pitch.

Ward-Prowse went into the book late on for clattering John McGinn on the halfway line in an act that summed up the frustration of his team, as Saints were unable to make their mark in the Midlands.

Twice Bazunu came forward for late set-pieces as Saints pushed to snatch a point, but Stuart Armstrong's glancing header floated just wide, as Villa did enough to hold on.

Aston Villa

Head to Head Stats

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Aston Villa

Emiliano Martínez (GK)
Ashley Young yellow card
Lucas Digne
Tyrone Mings
Ezri Konsa
Leon Bailey
replace Emiliano Buendía (67′)
Boubacar Kamara
replace Douglas Luiz (44′)
Philippe Coutinho yellow card
replace Danny Ings (84′)
Jacob Ramsey yellow card goal
replace Leander Dendoncker (67′)
John McGinn (C)
Ollie Watkins
Danny Ings
Douglas Luiz
Calum Chambers
Robin Olsen
Morgan Sanson
Leander Dendoncker
Ludwig Augustinsson
Marvelous Nakamba
Emiliano Buendía


Gavin Bazunu (GK)
Kyle Walker-Peters
Romain Perraud
replace Juan Larios (45′)
Mohammed Salisu
Armel Bella-Kotchap
Mohamed Elyounoussi
replace Samuel Edozie (79′)
James Ward-Prowse (C) yellow card
Adam Armstrong
replace Stuart Armstrong (71′)
Ibrahima Diallo
replace Joe Aribo (45′)
Moussa Djenepo
Che Adams
replace Sékou Mara (71′)
Samuel Edozie
Stuart Armstrong
Juan Larios
Duje Caleta-Car
Joe Aribo
Sékou Mara
Theo Walcott
Alex McCarthy
Audio description highlights: Aston Villa 1-0 Saints
Aston Villa vs Saints

Audio description highlights: Aston Villa 1-0 Saints

Highlights from the Premier League match at Villa Park, with audio description.

timeSun 18 Sep
$name Highlights: Aston Villa 1-0 Saints
Gallery: Back in the lab SFC_Camera
Men's First team

Gallery: Back in the lab

The Saints players return to the gym after the break

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