Southampton extend Aston Villa’s misery to reach Capital One Cup quarter-finals

Published: Wednesday 28th October 2015 by The News Editor

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Southampton progressed to the Capital One Cup quarter-finals with a 2-1 victory that added further misery to struggling Aston Villa’s already sorry season.

Despite an often disjointed performance, classy goals from Maya Yoshida and Graziano Pelle proved more than enough to defeat clearly demoralised opposition and to build on the promising form of recent weeks, even amid Scott Sinclair’s stoppage-time penalty.

Southampton had made seven changes from the team which drew 1-1 at Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday and it repeatedly showed.

That James Ward-Prowse, Steven Caulker and Oriol Romeu were among those recalled to Ronald Koeman’s starting XI said much about the strength of their squad but instead of the often hoped-for hunger of fringe players they lacked cohesion.

Villa far from thrived in their first fixture since manager Tim Sherwood was sacked and Kevin MacDonald was placed in temporary charge but they at least showed incremental improvement and were the only team to pose a threat throughout the opening 45 minutes.

Three goalscoring opportunities fell to Rudy Gestede but the striker twice headed harmlessly wide and once at goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, who saved then as routinely as he did Leandro Bacuna’s near-post shot towards half-time.

It was defender Yoshida who surprisingly gave Southampton the lead six minutes into the second half.

Exchanging passes with Ward-Prowse having run from defence, Yoshida approached Villa’s penalty area with the composure of a seasoned striker before shooting with his left foot into the bottom right corner beyond goalkeeper Brad Guzan’s reach.

As is so often the case with a struggling side, much of the confidence Villa had had gradually disappeared, and prompted questions about why the experienced Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott were rested.

Substitute Jack Grealish, who benefitted more than any other from Sherwood’s brief reign, soon miskicked on the edge of the area but Gabriel Agbonlahor collected the loose ball and tested Stekelenburg with a curling shot.

If they were to have any chance of avoiding defeat the next goal was essential, but Pelle’s soon followed and ended the fixture as a contest.

Substitute Dusan Tadic had both time and space on the left wing, and with Pelle equally free in the penalty area he sent a perfectly-weighted pass into the striker’s path which he volleyed with his right foot beyond Guzan and into the bottom left corner.

Deep into stoppage time, Virgil van Dijk clumsily fouled substitute Jordan Ayew in the area to allow Sinclair to score from the resultant penalty, but even that barely felt a consolation.

TWEET OF THE MATCH

“Quarter-finals here we come!! #WeMarchOn #saintsfc” – Southampton defender Matt Targett (@Mattytargett).

RATINGS

Southampton

Maarten Stekelenburg: 7

Maya Yoshida: 7

Matt Targett: 7

Steven Caulker: 6

Virgil van Dijk: 7

Oriol Romeu: 6

Victor Wanyama: 7

James Ward-Prowse: 6

Gaston Ramirez: 7

Juanmi: 7

Graziano Pelle: 7

Subs:

Steven Davis (Ramirez, 68 minutes) 6

Dusan Tadic (Juanmi, 69) 7

Aston Villa

Brad Guzan: 6

Alan Hutton: 6

Jose Angel Crespo: 6

Ciaran Clark: 6

Kieran Richardson: 6

Leandro Bacuna: 7

Ashley Westwood: 7

Carlos Sanchez: 7

Jordan Amavi: 7

Gabriel Agbonlahor: 6

Rudy Gestede: 6

Subs:

Jordan Ayew (Bacuna, 63) 6

Jack Grealish (Amavi, 64) 6

Scott Sinclair (Gestede, 72) 6

MAN OF THE MATCH

Maarten Stekelenburg: In what was for a long while a tight match, the Holland international produced some impressive saves to keep Villa at bay. He is starting to get back to the player that started the 2010 World Cup final.

VIEW FROM THE BENCH

Caretaker boss Kevin MacDonald seemed to inject some enthusiasm back into ailing Villa, although they were unable to turn a decent first-half display into a goal. The man given the role of filling in as the club search for a replacement for Tim Sherwood made some odd substitutions after half-time as the visitors’ performance tailed off.

MOMENT OF THE MATCH

Maya Yoshida’s display never quite fills you with confidence when deployed as a full-back, but he was surprisingly impressive going forwards against Villa. Bursting through the middle, his 25-yard left-footed goal was as impressive as it was surprising. Graziano Pelle’s volley from a wonderful Dusan Tadic was classier, but the Japan international gets it for the sheer surprise element.

MOAN OF THE MATCH

A chance at a Capital One Cup quarter-final spot and the sides make 12 changes between them – I am sure both sets of fans would like to focus on the cup at this stage.

NEXT UP

Southampton v Bournemouth, Premier League (Sunday November 1)

Tottenham v Aston Villa, Premier League (Monday November 2)

Published: Wednesday 28th October 2015 by The News Editor

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