Aston Villa sealed a 4-0 win over Southampton on Saturday as Steven Gerrard’s side made it back-to-back wins and clean sheets in the Premier League.
Goals from Ollie Watkins, Douglas Luiz, Philippe Coutinho and Danny Ings ensured we secured all three points, and it was certainly a welcome home win as we try to build some momentum off the back of our victory at Brighton last time out.
With a trip to Leeds Utd on Thursday to prepare for now, Villa will be full of confidence and belief again after putting an end to what was a poor run of form, and it’s hoped that this winning streak can continue as we appear to have found a balance between being defensively sound and clinical in the final third.
Delight for Watkins as goalscoring form returns
After struggling through a recent seven-game goal drought, Watkins has rediscovered his goalscoring touch with two goals in as many games.
The delight on his face after finding the net against both Brighton and Southampton said it all, and it’s vitally important for Villa that he now continues build on this and finds consistency in front of goal.
His movement, pressing and finishing all look like the Watkins of old, and hopefully he’s now rounding into his best form as we continue to move towards the business end of the season.
Ings produced best Villa performance
With a goal and two assists to his name, this was the performance that Ings would have been itching to produce.
Not only did he impress individually with his decisive contributions, but there were clear, positive signs in his play alongside Watkins in this win.
The pair worked well to play each other in on occasion while their respective movement off the ball created space for one another and that in turn led to both being a threat. Hopefully the start of their partnership flourishing.
Coutinho magic sparking Villa
Coutinho now has three goals and three assists in seven appearances for Villa, and there is no doubt that his creativity, technical quality and inspiring presence in the side is making a big difference.
While he can be quiet in games at times, he has the ability to make crucial contributions and while he’ll be kicking himself that he didn’t score more than once given the chances he missed in the first half, he still led our charge.
Time will tell if we’re able to sign him on a permanent deal this summer, but as he continues to showcase his best football and enjoy himself as the focal point of the Villa attack, we’ll continue to benefit greatly.
Gerrard finds balance
Ideally, Villa and Gerrard will want more possession and control over games as Southampton had 61% of the ball in this encounter.
That’s too much, especially at home, and while they weren’t able to make the most of that, the top sides will and so Villa need to be more proactive and on the front foot.
That said, perhaps it was part of the gameplan to an extent as we were disciplined and organised defensively throughout, drew Southampton out, and then hit them with speed on the counter to expose spaces in between their lines. Either way, this was an impressive win, but there is still improvement to be made.
Squad depth set to create difficult choices
While it’s a good thing for Gerrard that he has depth and competition for places, he’s now going to face some difficult decisions in relation to his starting Villa XI.
Given the quick turnaround between games this week, there is a stronger argument for him to make changes and freshen things up a bit.
However, do Ezri Konsa and Lucas Digne walk straight back into a side that just won 4-0 without them? Personally, there is a strong case to say that they should. With Emi Buendia, Leon Bailey and Morgan Sanson pushing for a starting berth, does Gerrard rotate at Leeds or stick with a winning formula? He knows he faces big calls this week, and it’s of course hoped that he gets them right.