Free highlights and match report as Aston Villa moved level on points with Southampton thanks to a 1-0 win over Ralph Hasenhuttl's side at Villa Park; it was the first clean sheet of the Premier League season for Steven Gerrard's side
Friday 16 September 2022 23:26, UK
Steven Gerrard praised Aston Villa for "rolling their sleeves up" as Jacob Ramsey's goal was enough to give his side a 1-0 win over Southampton at Villa Park.
The home-grown favourite's strike late on in the first half on Friday moved Villa level on points with Saints in midtable. It was not as dramatic as their draw against Manchester City last time out in the Premier League but it was a welcome and deserved win for Gerrard's team.
Aston Villa: Martinez (7), Young (7), Konsa (7), Mings (8), Digne (7), Kamara (6), McGinn (6), Ramsey (8), Coutinho (8), Bailey (6), Watkins (7).
Subs: Luiz (7), Buendia (6), Dendoncker (6), Ings (6).
Southampton: Bazunu (5), Walker-Peters (7), Bella-Kotchap (6), Salisu (6), Perraud (6), Ward-Prowse (6), Diallo (6), Elyounoussi (6), Djenepo (6), A Armstrong (6), Adams (5).
Subs: Larios (7), Aribo (7), S Armstrong (6), Mara (6), Edozie (6).
Man of the match: Philippe Coutinho
There were poignant scenes before kick-off as the lights came down for a moment of silence in memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the singing of the national anthem. Gerrard had written in his programme notes of making Villa fan Prince William proud.
The game took a while to get going but when it did the quality came from the boots of Philippe Coutinho. While Leon Bailey was wasteful on the other flank, when Villa were able to get the Brazilian on the ball then the danger to Southampton was obvious.
It was Coutinho's cross that helped create the opening goal. Gavin Bazunu saved the initial header from Ollie Watkins onto the crossbar but Ramsey was there to thump home the rebound for his first goal of the season. Villa deserved it for their greater endeavour.
Ashley Young replaced the injured Matty Cash for Aston Villa, while Philippe Coutinho came in for Douglas Luiz.
Moussa Djenepo replaced Joe Aribo in Ralph Hasenhuttl's Southampton starting line-up. New signing Duje Caleta-Car was on the bench.
Joe Aribo's introduction at half-time made a difference for Ralph Hasenhuttl's side but their up-and-down start to the season continues. They are missing Romeo Lavia, the talented young midfielder who impressed before his injury in the win over Chelsea.
There was some late pressure but the lack of threat posed to a home defence inspired by Tyrone Mings was alarming. The evening belonged to Aston Villa - a night when they did all of their supporters proud.
Aston Villa head coach Steven Gerrard told Sky Sports: "It wasn't pretty. I don't think many would have enjoyed it from a football perspective, but for me and for us it's a really important win.
"There was a lot of pressure on us the past few weeks, we haven't been performing anywhere near our level. We had a positive result against Man City and all eyes were on us to see whether we could back it up. We did, but in a different way - a pragmatic way, a hard-working way. We stuck together and got it done.
"A lot of the recent criticism and external noise has been fair but credit to the players, they have rolled their sleeves up and the last two performances have been a lot more positive."
Aston Villa captain John McGinn added: "It's huge. We've been criticised this season for not grafting but tonight we fought for every ball. It wasn't pretty but it feels good.
"We have not been on great form. We are not clicking and creating enough chances but tonight, when we got the goal, we stayed strong. We limited them to very few chances and it's a huge win going into the international break."
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl told Sky Sports: "I don't think we saw a very good football game today. It was horrible to watch, from both sides I must say, but the difference was they scored a goal and we didn't.
"We had one shot on target which is not enough, physically we were not good enough. They were physically stronger than us and we didn't find solutions to create something."
"I don't think we were on it today. They won more duels and second balls than us," Southampton defender Kyle Walker-Peters said.
"I'm really disappointed. I thought we got a bit better in the second half but not enough to get anything from the game.
"None of us were good enough today. We have to review the game and work on the training pitch to better it for the next game."
Aston Villa's draw with Manchester City was a huge result for Gerrard given the pressure that he had been facing going into the game but that point was never going to sate the supporters if his team could not follow it up at home to Southampton.
This was not a flowing performance but it was a fine result. Villa did not look fantastic but they helped to make Southampton look awful and that was more than enough to win it. The sight of Emiliano Martinez on his knees at full-time showed how much it meant.
The Villa goalkeeper has had to wait almost five months for this clean sheet. He had Mings to thank. What little momentum that Saints could build up around the Villa box was repelled by his head, towering above everyone else inside the penalty box.
Gerrard has bemoaned individual errors throughout his time at Villa Park but here there were none of note - only players fighting for the fans and each other. If this group can do that then there remains a belief that they have the quality to come up with something.
Coutinho brings that quality. The Brazilian made a quick impression on supporters but they have not seen enough of him in this mood of late. It was not thrilling but he provided the sparkle. Gerrard will settle for that if it brings results like this.
After the international break, Villa take on Leeds United at Elland Road on Sunday, October 2, with the game kicking off at 4.30pm live on Sky Sports Premier League.
Meanwhile, Southampton host Everton on Saturday, October 1 (3pm).