It’s been a dark old week for Aston Villa fans again after another demoralising defeat to West Ham United and with it being four losses on the spin, pressure is certainly mounting on head coach Dean Smith. However, the never ending injury situation and the return of Covid issues continue to effect our preparations, in what has been a very disrupted season from the get-go.
Valid excuses aside though, we simply have to come away from Southampton tonight with something to show for our efforts just to lift spirits, as there’s a growing sense of inevitability with our current form and the press have more than jumped on the bandwagon.
So how did it go then.
Well, three minutes in after a long punt down the pitch, the defence misjudged the bounce and Armstrong rifled in an almost unstoppable effort to give them the early lead. Heads didn’t drop though in the way we’ve seen happen before, we reacted well and John McGinn and Emi Buendia probably should’ve done better with the two quick chances that came their way. We were still dicey at the back though and they spooned an absolute belter of a chance from a corner – it was going to be one of these nights.
Our better passages of play just had no composure at the end of them and with defence looking dicey again, even when you thought we might be growing into it they broke quickly and ruined the little momentum we had. Anwar El Ghazi’s run and effort 25 minutes in probably summed up everything we’d seen this season in fairness.
Sadly for us, Southampton were completely on top as the half came to a close and even El Ghazi’s blatant attempt to win a penalty hadn’t come off for us although he did get away with it. How it was still only 1-0 was the only thing giving us hope for the second half.
The first chance of the second period fell to El Ghazi but he put his header wide and he had the next best chance as well, but it was straight at the keeper. It was however the first real period of sustained pressure we had managed. Buendia should’ve really done better with his two efforts at this point and further good chances fell to Tyrone Mings and Axel Tuanzebe, but it just wasn’t falling for us.
It was finally a much needed reaction though and it was sustained and consistent across the half, but as we headed into the final 15 minutes, we still had nothing to show for it. Predictably we didn’t after 90 either.
Martinez had helped keep us in it during the first half but we could’ve easily scored five ourselves today, but the ongoing lack of composure continues to bite us, so we aren’t even capable of papering over some cracks in performances to build some confidence.
Five defeats on the spin now, a much better second half showing but still not one you’d really write home about. By the law of averages we should’ve fluked an equaliser, but you’d need to actually hit the target first wouldn’t you.
Even the most optimistic of fans are nervous right now.
St Mary's Stadium
5/11/2021 12:43 am
Referee: Andy Madley