ASTON VILLA 3-4 SOUTHAMPTON
- Goals: Tyrone Mings (£5.2m), Ollie Watkins (£6.0m), Jack Grealish (£7.3m) | Jannik Vestergaard (£4.6m), James Ward-Prowse (£5.8m) x2, Danny Ings (£8.5m)
- Assists: Grealish x2, Douglas Luiz (£4.9m) | Ward-Prowse, Theo Walcott (£5.8m), Che Adams (£5.8m), Stuart Armstrong (£5.5m)
- Bonus: Ward-Prowse x3, Grealish x2, Ings x1
A late injury to Danny Ings (£8.5m) accompanied a seven-goal thriller at Villa Park, where the hosts’ late comeback almost overhauled the first-half masterclass from birthday boy James Ward-Prowse (£5.8m).
The 26-year-old set-piece maestro supplied the cross for Jannik Vestergaard’s (£4.6m) opener before two beautifully executed strikes of his own gave Southampton a 3-0 half-time lead. Ings soon made it a 4-0 humbling, until Jack Grealish (£7.3m) delighted his high ownership with a late goal and two assists.
However, the late knee injury to in-form Ings might prove to be the biggest consequence of this Sunday lunchtime clash. In the 83rd minute, the striker went down holding a knee after his leg gave way. Treatment ensued, before the striker was replaced by Shane Long (£5.2m).
Ralph Hasenhuttl said of his in-form forward:
We know his history with his knees and hopefully, this is not too bad to be honest.
It didn’t look good. He overstretched his knee and this is always dangerous.
I hope it’s not too bad. But immediately he shouted ‘my knee!’.
Hopefully, this is not a bad injury. It’s not swollen or something at the moment, but we’ll have to look tomorrow and scan it.
INGS INJURY FEARS
Going into Gameweek 7, only a trio of strikers had amassed more points than Ings. Despite a pre-season price hike, he still provides a reliable option up front and, after notching 22 goals last season, scored his fifth of this campaign by receiving the ball from Stuart Armstrong (£5.5m) and curling a wonderful strike into the top corner past Emiliano Martinez (£4.8m).
Supplemented by the two assists he provided against Everton last weekend, Ings is consistently delivering attacking returns in a team capable of scoring in any match.
His FPL managers will be praying the injury isn’t as bad as first feared.
JWP’S BIRTHDAY PARTY
For a long time, it looked like Southampton would consign Aston Villa to another heavy home defeat following the 3-0 loss to Leeds that ended their 100% winning start. A reality check was on the horizon for Dean Smith’s side and the prospects of Grealish and Martinez started to look grim.
Ward-Prowse could have provided another assist, had the third-minute own goal of Ezri Konsa (£4.7m) not been ruled out for offside. But it wasn’t long until defender Vestergaard rose high to powerfully head home the opener – his second in three games.
Southampton’s captain has always been a steady scorer from midfield – grabbing five, seven, three and four goals in recent seasons – but never an enticing FPL asset. Yet his 33rd and 44th-minute free-kick goals add to his strike against Everton, putting him on two consecutive double-digit hauls.
He might even be back on penalties, should Ings be ruled out for an extended period of time.
“I went in at half-time thinking it was never a 3-0 game – let alone 4-0 when Danny Ings sticks one in the top corner. We found our rhythm in the second half but that’s what we should have had in the first half. Credit to them because they stopped us getting any rhythm.” – Dean Smith
Southampton may have won but Aston Villa had far more goal threat – their 10 attempts on target exceeded the visitors’ overall shots total.
CLEAN SHEET WIPEOUT
Before this seven-goal spectacular, both sides entered proceedings with good defensive records. Their three clean sheets apiece had only been topped by Wolves’ four – made even more impressive because Villa had played two fewer matches and three of Southampton’s had been in the four games that followed the 5-2 collapse against Tottenham Hotspur in Gameweek 2.
At 4-0, owners of Alex McCarthy (£4.5m) and Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.5m) would have been confident of collecting another shut-out. Yet Villa found life in the second half, forcing McCarthy into good saves from Trezeguet (£5.4m) and Grealish as momentum was growing.
The goalkeeper ended up with seven saves but couldn’t prevent Tyrone Mings (£5.2m) heading home a Grealish corner. That is Mings’ third attacking contribution of the season and he had another chance late on, making him a consideration if Villa return to defensive solidity during their upcoming games against Arsenal, Brighton, West Ham and Newcastle.
Behind him, Martinez is FPL’s highest-scoring and most-selected goalkeeper, boosted by his penalty save against Sheffield United. He wasn’t at fault for any goals here but made no saves either.
Grealish was impressive all match, even before the late goals. He had the most goal attempts and penalty area touches, as the above table shows.
McCarthy seemed to ride out the storm with further saves from Trezeguet (£5.4m) and Douglas Luiz (£4.9m), as the match approached injury time. There, Grealish was fouled in the box and Ollie Watkins (£6.0m) scored the resulting penalty, before the new England international added his own strike minutes later.
It was too late to salvage a remarkable draw but will remind FPL managers that Grealish is his team’s talisman and the epicentre of their attacking play. Even during Villa’s first-half failures, he passed the eye test. Looking bright, Grealish was slipped in by Matt Targett (£4.5m) early on but the shot was deflected wide. He enjoys being the star player of his boyhood team and, in a time of rotation and pandemics, such security of starts is a big appeal.
It’s just a shame he wasn’t on all set pieces. Ross Barkley (£6.0m) provides an interesting cheaper route into the Villans’ midfield. With consistent minutes and free-kick duties, the loanee scored in wins over Leicester and Liverpool but couldn’t add to his tally this time.
There was discussion amongst the FPL community that Barkley might even be taking their penalties, although that doesn’t seem to be the case as he was still on the pitch when Watkins took his spot-kick.
“You cannot play better than what we have done in the first 60 minutes, and in the end, when you concede the first goal, then you start thinking a little bit and it’s normal. The legs are getting heavy and you are struggling, then it’s overtime with another six minutes and you concede the second one and are thinking ‘ooh, hopefully, we win this game.” – Ralph Hasenhuttl
The £33m signing from Brentford is also an interesting route to Aston Villa coverage. For those wanting to pack their midfield with a combination of premium assets, Watkins is a cheap striker with promising fixtures.
His hat-trick during the incredible 7-2 victory over Liverpool put him on people’s radars and, despite having a quiet game here, he still came away with points. If it is time to remove Aleksandar Mitrovic (£5.8m) or downgrade the likes of Raul Jimenez (£8.5m) and the injured Ings, he could be the one.
As could Che Adams (£5.8m). A potential dark horse heading into Gameweek 1 – following his four goals from the final six games of last season – the frustrating Adams had the underlying stats of a successful striker but hadn’t scored in the first four matches.
However, since his goals against Chelsea and Everton, Adams isn’t under-performing anymore. He even fluked an assist for Southampton’s third goal here, as his cross-field pass was bafflingly palmed away by Matty Cash (£5.0m). Ward-Prowse then scored the free kick.
Adams left the match with an assist despite having no shots on goal or touches in the penalty area, as his heatmap above illustrates. Perhaps this balances out the early Gameweeks of underachievement.
This was also the first time that Adams completed all 90 minutes, although he’d have likely had his weekly late substitution had it not been for Ings’ knock. His starts are set to continue, with a home match with Newcastle up next.
In a match of goals and injuries, both Bertrands were hurt – with Ryan (£5.0m) and Traore (£5.9m) picking up hamstring and muscle issues respectively. Jan Bednarek (£4.5m) was replaced at half-time after landing on his head during an aerial challenge.
Aston Villa XI (4-2-3-1): Martinez; Cash (El Mohamady 67′), Konsa, Mings, Targett; Douglas Luiz, McGinn; Traore (Trezeguet 29′), Barkley, Grealish; Watkins
Southampton XI (4-4-2): McCarthy; Walker-Peters, Vestergaard, Bednarek (Stephens 46′), Bertrand (Diallo 79′); Armstrong, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Walcott; Adams, Ings (Long 85′).
LESSONS LEARNED FROM FPL GAMEWEEK 7
- Wolves 2-0 Crystal Palace
- Sheffield United 0-1 Manchester City
- Burnley 0-3 Chelsea
- Liverpool 2-1 West Ham United
- Aston Villa 3-4 Southampton
- Newcastle United 2-1 Everton
- Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal
- Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Fulham 2-0 West Bromwich Albion
- Leeds United 1-4 Leicester City