Game #4678

Season | 2000-01 |

Matchday | #18 |
League Game | #13 |
Premier League Match-week | #13 |
Manager Game | #128 |

Saturday, 18 November 2000

Premier League | Away | Southampton | The Dell | 14,979 |

Game Summary

Manager | John Gregory | 

KO | 15.00 |

Referee | Peter Jones | 
HT Score | 0-2 |
FT Score | 0-2 |

FT Result | Lost |

Last 5 Games | WLWWL |  

League Position | 6th | -1 |

Line Up |

GK David James | 
LB Alan Wright | 
CB Alpay Özalan | 
CB Gareth Southgate | 
M Gareth Barry | 
SUB OFF | 61' |
M Paul Merson | SUB OFF | 46' |
M George Boateng | 
M Ian Taylor | 
M Steve Stone |
SUB OFF | 46' |
F Julian Joachim | 
CF Dion Dublin | 

Substitutes | 

FB Mark Delaney for M Steve Stone | 46’ | 
M Lee Hendrie for M Paul Merson | 46’ | 
W David Ginola for M Gareth Barry | 61’ | 

Unused Substitutes |

GK Peter Enckelman
F Gilles De Bilde

Team Stats |

Starting XI Average Age | 28.58 | 

Oldest Player | M Paul Merson | 32.69 |

Youngest Player | M Gareth Barry | 19.75 |


Match Report

The Guardian

Sunday, 19 November, 2000

Match Report from Gerry Cox

Beattie bests tame Villa

Fortunes can change dramatically in football, as opposing centre-forwards James Beattie and Dion Dublin can testify. Just two weeks ago, Beattie was wondering where his next goal was coming from, having gone 18 months without scoring. 

Now he is the toast of this part of the South Coast, having scored two first-half goals to end Villa’s five-match unbeaten run and take his personal tally to five in the past three games. 

Dublin, on the other hand, looks a shadow of the player who hit a hat-trick here two years ago. The former England striker has scored only two goals this season and looks way off his game, missing chances he would previously have buried without a second thought. 


With Julian Joachim just as shy in front of goal, Villa rely heavily on the inspiration of Paul Merson in midfield. Unfortunately for Villa, Merson also had an off day and was substituted at half-time by John Gregory, who was clearly unhappy with his side’s opening 45 minutes. 

‘We were second best to everything in the first half and that is not like us,’ he said. ‘At 2-0 down we had a mountain to climb, and though we had a fair crack at it after the break, we gave ourselves far too much to do.’ 

Southampton started sharper and more purposefully, and were rewarded when Beattie put them ahead in the 22nd minute. Jason

Dodd chipped the ball forward from the right and Beattie ghosted between Gareth Southgate and David James to head the ball over the stranded goalkeeper and into an empty net. ‘That was straight off the training ground,’ said a delighted Glenn Hoddle afterwards.

Southampton were 2-0 ahead just two minutes later when Marian Pahars slipped the ball past a line of Villa defenders appealing in vain for offside and Beattie hammered in a shot that James got his hand to but failed to stop. 

Coming after his spectacular goals against Chelsea and Sunderland in the previous two games, the young striker’s confidence is understandably high. ‘He can’t wait for the next game to come,’ added Hoddle. ‘His finishing and work rate are excellent, and I cannot fault him. Crystal Palace were interested in him but I didn’t really want to sell.’ 

Beattie could have had a swift hat-trick if James had not charged out of his area to tackle the former England Under-21 striker in the 25th minute, as Southampton threatened to run riot. 

Villa looked more like a top-five side after the break, but found Paul Jones in defiant mood. The Southampton goalkeeper did not have a save to make until the 71st minute, when he dived full-length to keep out a piledriver from George Boateng, and he topped that shortly afterwards when he tipped over a point-blank shot from Villa substitute Lee Hendrie. 

‘It was a fantastic save,’ said Hoddle, whose side are now unbeaten in three games. ‘We are on a bit of a run now and have to build on that - especially at home.’ 

The Guardian

Monday, 20 November, 2000

Match Report from Martin Thorpe

They call Doug Ellis “Deadly”, but John Gregory does not want a chairman with that name; he wants a lethal striker. 

There is tension in the air with Aston Villa and not only from the dressing-room row that followed the manager’s half-time

substitution of an incandescent Paul Merson here on Saturday.

He was not the only one to be angry. Gregory himself appears close to boiling point over his chairman’s refusal to prise open his chequebook and strengthen the Villa squad enough to lift them from fifth in the table into a Champions’ League spot. 

“I do not want to fall out with anybody,” said Gregory ominously, “but there comes a time when you have to act.” 


Asked if it was worth taking the gamble of buying a striker with that Champions’ League place now within Villa’s grasp, Gregory again pointed the finger. “You’re talking to the wrong person”. 

It may seem odd that Ellis should hold back, given the cash available to teams playing in Europe’s premier competition. But maybe the old boy has his reasons. 

And, after watching Villa’s wretched first-half performance at the Dell on Saturday, he would certainly be within his rights to assert that the team’s problems go way beyond Gregory’s assessment. 

On this evidence the chairman would probably have to spend the next 10 years’ TV money to rebuild a side capable of mounting a serious top-three challenge. A more realistic view is that Villa are fortunate to be as high as they are in an ordinary division and dreams of a Champions’ League place are about as realistic as a Ralph Nader presidency. 

All it took to stymie Gregory’s side in Saturday’s decisive first half was the sort of tactical nous that was lost to England when they replaced Glenn Hoddle with Kevin Keegan. 

By keeping Villa’s wing-backs busy with two wide men in a 4-1-4-1 formation, the Southampton manager perplexed the away side and removed much of their attacking outlet.

With Matthew Oakley just in front of the Saints’ back four to stifle Merson and Southampton first to everything, the home side took an unbroken grip on the game. 

Their cause was further helped by David James. Some believe he is a good enough goalkeeper to play for England. Unfortunately he continues to share their tendency for suspect judgment. 

On 21 minutes he made a suicidal dash from his line to intercept Jason Dodd’s cross, got nowhere near the ball and watched helplessly as James Beattie’s header looped over him into the net. Two minutes later Beattie stole in front of Ozalan Alpay and the striker’s header appeared to go through James on the line. 

After replacing Merson and Steve Stone at half-time, Villa played better, forcing Southampton’s Paul Jones into several saves including a point-blank tip-over from Lee Hendrie. 

But Villa were still far from inspired and eventually the home side laid claim to their seventh point from the last nine. Beattie’s contribution to that run has been five goals, after an 18-month spell without even one. Which is why, despite Southampton being 10 places below Villa, theirs was the more positive outlook on Saturday evening.