Barkley header gives Villa 1-0 victory over Southampton

A moment of magic from Jack Grealish teed up Ross Barkley to score the only goal of the game as Aston Villa won 1-0 away to Southampton.

Ross Barkley celebrates after scoring. - REUTERS

A moment of magic from Jack Grealish teed up Ross Barkley to score the only goal of the game as Aston Villa won 1-0 away to Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday to lift it up to eighth in the table.

MATCH CENTRE

The visitor had to withstand an early onslaught from Southampton and it was lucky not to concede a penalty when Matty Cash appeared to handle the ball in the box, but a VAR review deemed the contact accidental.

Barkley gave Villa the lead against the run of play in the 41st minute, arriving into the box unmarked to head Grealish’s brilliant first-time cross past Southampton keeper Alex McCarthy, who was left rooted to the spot.

“Jack has got the quality to deliver, arriving in the box you’ll get the goals. It was a great ball, I just guided it in,” a delighted Barkley told Sky Sports.

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Having scored two goals in its previous six league games, Southampton struggled once again in attack. It created plenty of chances but failed to get many of them on target, thanks in no small part to a stout defensive effort from Villa. The evening went from bad to worse for the Saints when striker Theo Walcott limped off in the 65th minute with what appeared to be a hamstring strain.

 

The home side thought it had snatched a point in injury time but the late effort by Danny Ings was ruled out following another VAR review that showed him to be offside by the slimmest of margins.

The defeat leaves Southampton in 11th place on 29 points, while Villa recorded its second win in three league games to rise above Chelsea and Arsenal on 32 points.

Struggling Southampton rue VAR decisions

Southampton was left rueing two VAR decisions as it lost 1-0 at home to Aston Villa on Saturday, but midfielder James Ward-Prowse refused to blame the officiating for its third straight defeat.

The Saints were denied a penalty by the Video Assistant Referee in the first half for an apparent handball by Matty Cash and they had a Danny Ings goal ruled out in second-half stoppage time as Villa held on to win.

"We have not had time to look at them back but VAR is there for a reason and gives the correct answer, but we can't focus on that," Ward-Prowse told BBC Sport.

"They had one chance and scored one good goal. We could have had a lot more in the game. It is one of those things, hopefully we will get one to go our way soon," he added.

Having seen his side struggle to score once again, Saints boss Ralf Hasenhuettl was more critical.

"It’s not nice to lose like this. But you know football is not always fair. Today we did not deserve to lose," he told the BBC.

"They told me the penalty decision in the first half was a goal if it did not hit the hand. These moments can be decisive if you go 1-0 up," Hasenhuettl added.

Villa boss Dean Smith was a lot happier as his side bounced back from a poor showing in its midweek 3-2 defeat to Burnley to win a tough away game thanks to Ross Barkley's first-half header.

"We didn't change the team from the other night against Burnley ... we are on the positive side of some tight decisions this time which is pleasing, and it was a quality goal," he said.

"We'd done enough to win that game and we came here to be hard to beat. Some resolute defending at times, (and) a fantastic goal to see."

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