Things can change in an instant for a coach. On one season you can do no wrong the other you are a villain who can’t do anything right. Dean Smith’s Villa have won just one out of the last 6 matches in all competitions(ironically at Old Trafford of all places) heaping pressure on him. Here against the Saints at St Mary’s he was caught cold in the early stages by Adam Armstrong’s edge of the box stunner. Villa has been particularly poor defensively lately none so evident as the defeat to West Ham last week. Check out Matty Cash’s reaction to the second ball in the attacking sequence leading up to the goal. No commitment whatsoever to get to the ball first. Not only do Villa miss Jack Grealish’s creativity up front, the defensive partnership of Tuanzebe and Mings han’t kicked on as well.
Saints were full value for their victory here. Hassenhutll soccer is a high pressing one. The home side line up with an old fashioned 4-4-2 with attack minded wingers Stuart Armstrong and Elyounoussi with Livramento and Walker-Peters behind them.They clearly targeted the attack minded left sided midfielder El Ghazi of Villa who has limited defensive capabilities with the Dutchman nearly getting his marching orders after being forced to foul in minute 24. He was however the best attacking threat for Villa, he is dangerous when he cuts inside from the left. I like the shape of Villa with two defensive minded midfielders Nakamba and McGinn with the later able to initiate attacks quickly. Lastly, another thing I noticed is that Ollie Watkins is increasingly becoming isolated and his link up with Buendia isn’t as great as it should be.