Aston Villa left it late, but defeated last-place Southampton on Saturday for their fifth Premier League victory in seven matches under manager Unai Emery.
Ollie Watkins grabbed the winner at Saint Mary’s in the 77th minute when he directed a Douglas Luiz free kick past Saints keeper Gavin Bazunu with his head.
Villa improve to 8-4-8 overall in the league and remain in 11th place with 28 points. They’re one point off of 10th-place Chelsea and five points back of fifth-place Tottenham.
Southampton 0-1 Aston Villa
Despite winning only 1-0, Villa held a 1.42 to 0.41 advantage in the expected goals category and out-possessed the Saints 64% to 36%.
Villa were comfortable in possession throughout, but generally struggled to find quality in their final balls into the box. Leon Bailey had a couple of high-percentage chances in the first half but failed to capitalize.
The two-man midfield pivot of Boubacar Kamara and Luiz shone again with the latter registering seven shot-creating actions in the match.
Emery said after the match that: “We were being so, so competitive and trying to control the match in the first half. We had chances to score but we didn’t do it.
“In the second half, we started playing very well but they made some changes and were pushing.
“We deserved it because the players’ work was fantastic.”
“Obviously it’s nice to be on the scoresheet and more importantly for us to win the game,” he said.
“We didn’t create too many chances but we kept the ball out of the back of the net and we’ve come away with the points. So, all round, it’s a good day.”
Villa are back in action on Saturday, February 4, when they host Leicester City at Villa Park.
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