Game | #5576 | 

Season | 2019-20 |

Matchday | #34 |

League Match | #27 |
Manager Game | #72 |
Saturday, 22 February 2020
Premier League | Away | Southampton | St Mary's Stadium | 31,478 | 

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Game Summary

Manager | Dean Smith | 

KO | 15.00 |
Referee | Craig Pawson | 

 HT Score | 0-1 | 
 FT Score | 0-2 | 
 FT Result | Lost | 

Last 5 Games | WWLLL |  

 League Position | 17th | - |

Team News |

Marvelous Nakamba is recalled with Danny Drinkwater dropped alongside Björn Engels after his last second mistake in the last fixture to be replaced by Tyrone Mings. Neil Taylor drops from the squad.

Line Up |

GK Pepe Reina | BOOKED | 72' | 

RB Frédéric Guilbert | BOOKED | 90' | 

CB Ezri Konsa | BOOKED | 45'+4 | SUB OFF | 28' | 

CB Kortney Hause |

CB Tyrone Mings |

LB Matt Targett |

M Douglas Luiz |

M Marvelous Nakamba |

M Jack Grealish | BOOKED | 90'+6 | 

W Anwar El Ghazi | SUB OFF | 28' |

CF Mbwana Samatta | SUB OFF | 81' |

Substitutes |

W Trézéguet | for W Anwar El Ghazi | 28' |

M Conor Hourihane | for CB Ezri Konsa | 59' |

CF Borja Bastón | for CF Mbwana Samatta | 81' |

Unused Substitutes |

GK Ørjan Nyland |

RB Ahmed Elmohamady |

CB Björn Engels |

M Danny Drinkwater |

Cards |

Yellow | Ezri Konsa for a bad foul | 45'+4 |

Yellow | Pepe Reina for a bad foul | 72' |

Yellow | Frédéric Guilbertfor a bad foul | 90' |

Yellow | Jack Grealish | 90'+6 |

Match Stats |

Possession F | 54
Possession A | 46
Shots F | 4
Shots A | 28
Shots on Target F | 1
Shots on Target A | 9
Corners F | 6
Corners A | 9
Fouls F | 17
Fouls A | 13

Team Stats |

Starting XI Average Age | 25.85 | 

Substitute Average Age | 27.33 | 

Oldest Player | Pepe Reina | 37.50 | 

Youngest Player | Douglas Luiz | 21.81 |  

Not Selected |

M Henri Lansbury |

RW Jota |

W Indiana Vassilev |

LB Neil Taylor |

CF Cameron Archer |

GK Matija Šarkić |

Unavailable | 

Injury | 5 |

CF Keinan Davis | Hamstring 16 Feb - 9 Mar |

GK Jed Steer | Hamstring 10 Nov - End Feb | 

M John McGinn | Broken ankle 21 Dec - Late Mar |

GK Tom Heaton | Knee, ACL 1 Jan - 2020-21 |

CF Wesley | Knee, ACL 1 Jan - 2020-21 |

Loaned Out | 9 |

CM Jake Doyle-Hayes | Cheltenham Town | 1 August 2019 - 31 May 2020 | 

RB James Bree | Luton Town | 8 August 2019 - 31 May 2020 | 

CF Callum O’Hare | Coventry City | 22 August 2019 - 31 May 2020 | 

W André Green | Charlton Athletic | 1 January 2020 - 31 May 2020 |  

GK Lovre Kalinić | FC Toulouse | 20 January 2020 - 30 June 2020 |  

CF Scott Hogan | Birmingham City | 29 January 2020 - 31 May 2020 | 

CB James Chester | Stoke City | 31 January 2020 - 31 May 2020 |

AM Jacob Ramsey | Doncaster Rovers | 31 January 2020 - 31 May 2020 |

CF Rushian Hepburn-Murphy | Derby County | 31 January 2020 - 31 May 2020 | 


Match Report

*BBC Sport* 

*Saturday, 22 February 2020*


Aston Villa manager Dean Smith said that some of his players had "played their way out" of next Sunday's Carabao Cup final after defeat at Southampton.

The Saints dominated the first half, taking an early lead through Shane Long's third goal of the season, before Stuart Armstrong sealed victory in stoppage time.

Southampton's first win in five matches moves them 10 points clear of the relegation zone but Villa, who managed just one shot on target, remain a point above the bottom three.


They have also suffered three straight defeats as they prepare to face EFL Cup holders Manchester City at Wembley.


"My feelings are embarrassment with the performance," said Smith. "The thing that hurts me the most is a lack of fight.


"They've let themselves down with their own personal performances. We got beaten and deservedly so.


"Our quality just wasn't there. Some of them have played their way out of a cup final."


Southampton won 3-1 in the reverse fixture just before Christmas, a victory that sparked a run of 13 points from a possible 15 to steer them clear of the bottom three.


But they have continued to lose at home, with last week's 2-1 defeat by Burnley their eighth home reverse of the season.


Manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has spoken about the pressure of playing at St Mary's, challenging his players to turn it back into a fortress, and they started like a side with the Austrian's words still ringing in their ears.


Recalled winger Moussa Djenepo was a constant threat on the left, despite having his head bandaged midway through the first half,

and Will Smallbone also impressed after coming in for his Premier League debut - a day after turning 20.


The midfielder almost had a goal inside eight minutes, his deflected strike hitting the outside of the post as the hosts pinned Villa into their own half in the opening stages.


Djenepo then got to the byeline down the left wing and his awkward-looking centre with the outside of his right foot found Long, who bundled in his third goal in six games at the near post.


Danny Ings and Djenepo were denied by Villa goalkeeper Pepe Reina but Saints remained on top after the break, with captain Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg forcing a low save from the veteran Spaniard and substitute Che Adams denied by a goal-line block.


And with Reina having come up for a late corner, Armstrong raced on to Adams' long ball to sidefoot into an empty net and make the scoreline a better reflection of Saints' dominance.


Villa fear worst for cup final


The two sides were level on points when they last met in December, with Villa outside the relegation zone on goal difference and Southampton inside it. How manager Dean Smith must wish his side could string together a run like the south coast side went on subsequently.


Since losing to Saints, Villa have won three league games and each was followed by defeat in their next league game.


They were perhaps unlucky to concede a last-gasp winner at home to Tottenham last week and on Saturday would have hoped to see players fighting for EFL Cup final places.


They also had Tyrone Mings return after missing the Spurs defeat with tonsillitis - but the England defender had to repel Southampton almost single-handedly early on.


Captain Jack Grealish was well shackled by Southampton's James Ward-Prowse, playing at right-back, and new signing Mbwana Samatta received precious little service throughout.


Trezeguet, a first-half substitute for the injured Anwar El Ghazi, was their biggest threat, providing some energy down the right wing and their only shot on target midway through the second half.


But they failed to build on the momentum he provided and needed a goal-line block by Kortney Hause to prevent Southampton sealing victory sooner than they did.


So instead of gaining a morale boost before next week's final, Villa fans are fearing a repeat of last month's 6-1 drubbing by City - followed by the growing prospect of an immediate return to the Championship.

'It was the lowest of the low' - what they said


Villa boss Dean Smith: "I try to defend the players but today was not good enough. We got what we deserved.


"We spoke about having a good start but in the first 20 minutes we never laid a glove on them. They were miles off it in the first half.


"Last week against Tottenham gave me a lot of heart then today, dreadful. We can't play that bad again.


"It has to be the lowest of the low. The defeat at Watford (3-0 in December) was bad but this was on a par."

*The Guardian* 

*Saturday, 22 February 2020*

Dean Smith ‘embarrassed’ by Aston Villa’s damaging loss at Southampton

Dean Smith lambasted Aston Villa’s “embarrassing” performance and said there are “too many training-ground players” in his struggling squad after watching his side suffer a ninth Premier League defeat in 13 matches. Villa remain precariously positioned a point above the relegation zone after goals by Shane Long and Stuart Armstrong provided home comforts to hoist Southampton into mid-table and condemn a flaky Villa side to a deserved defeat.

As Smith acknowledged, if Villa turn in a similar display next Sunday in the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City at Wembley, an occasion to celebrate threatens to be a deeply chastening experience. Villa were outclassed from start to finish with Southampton eventually building on Long’s early strike in second-half stoppage time when Armstrong swept the ball into an empty net while Pepe Reina made the pilgrimage back to his goal after going up for a late corner in vain.

For Villa this was a damaging defeat and a worrying dress rehearsal for their date with City. Southampton, who had 28 shots, peppered the worst defence in the division – Villa have not kept a clean sheet on the road this season – and Marvelous Nakamba and Douglas Luiz were painfully overrun in midfield. There was equally little encouragement going forward, with Mbwana Samatta starved of service and Jack Grealish subdued by James Ward-Prowse. Villa’s single shot on target came midway through the second half.

“The players have let themselves down with their personal performances,” Smith said. “I said to them before the game ‘we’ve got 13 cup finals.’ We got deservedly beat and players have played themselves out of another cup final next week. My feelings are embarrassment with the performance; it was a dreadful performance. They have to show me what they’re about. There’s too many training-ground players – if you want to play in the Premier League, you’ve got to go and perform on a match day. If you want to be a Premier League player, you have to go and perform week in, week out. I’m sure there’ll be a few players cowering behind the scenes when we do a debrief.”

Villa’s anguish was Southampton’s gain. Will Smallbone, a 20-year-old academy graduate who joined the club aged eight, showed touches of class on his first Premier League start, receiving a warm ovation as he departed late on. Together with the captain, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, the hosts suffocated Villa. Ward-Prowse, another alumnus from the Southampton academy, was again excellent as an emergency right-back, shackling Grealish.


“Prowsey, especially against players like Grealish and Zaha, can really dig into such a challenge and he is nasty to play against,” said Ralph Hasenhüttl, the Southampton manager. “This is what I hoped and he was often the fire-fighter in the last moments and did a fantastic job. It shows his fantastic character that you demand something and he says ‘no problem, I’ll do it’.”

It took only eight minutes for Southampton to breach a discernibly frail defence, with the lively Moussa Djenepo beating Ezri Konsa to the byline before cleverly hooking a cross towards the front post with the outside of his right foot. Long was lurking and managed to steady himself to instinctively divert the ball beyond Reina with the top of his thigh. That proved the start of things to come, with the electrifying Djenepo, who has a tendency to flicker from the sublime to the ridiculous, twice going close to doubling Southampton’s advantage.

Villa’s tepidness left Smith seething on the touchline but his players had nowhere to hide. They eventually conceded again when the substitute Che Adams superbly released Armstrong, who had earlier gone close after seizing on a mix-up between Reina and the fit-again Tyrone Mings, after the Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy punched a Villa corner clear. Armstrong struck to put Villa out of their misery, firing home from a tight angle. But they got off lightly.