Southampton 2 Aston Villa 3 match report: Fabian Delph wonder-goal steals win as Saints defence starts to look leaky
Midfielder struck the winner with 10 minutes remaining
Has Southampton's bubble has burst after three successive defeats? This was not so much a case of Saints' system being found out of as a defence that had conceded only twice at St Mary's falling victim to individual errors and a wonder strike - even if the way the goals went in does raise questions about the depth of Mauricio Pochettino's squad.
The home side had 77 percent of the possession but never looked comfortable at the back in the absence of injured goalkeeper Artur Boruc, who is expected to miss another five weeks after breaking his hand in last weekend's defeat at Chelsea, while Pochettino's decision to give Maya Yoshida his first league start of the season in the centre of defence with Jose Fonte not fully fit backfired spectacularly.
So even though Saints twice came back to equalise, they were always vulnerable to a quick-breaking Villa side, now unbeaten in five games. The result was a first home reverse of the season and the first time Southampton have lost three games in a row under Pochettino. With Nathaniel Clyne and Victor Wanyama limping off, the situation could get worse at home to Manchester City on Saturday before it gets better.
Villa manager Paul Lambert was unimpressed by the possession statistics. “Show me a stat that wins you a game of football,” he said. “I thought we deserved to win. We were lethal in front of goal.” And that was without Christian Benteke, benched after failing to score for seven matches. Gabriel Agbonlahor charged through to beat Guzan's deputy Paulo Gazzaniga and score his first of the season after 15 minutes when Yoshida badly misjudged Fabian Delph's pass.
Southampton keeper Paulo Gazzaniga watches Gabriel Agbonlahor's finish hit the back of the net (PA)
Jay Rodriguez leapt above the Villa defence, now minus the injured Ron Vlaar, to equalise three minutes after the break but Libor Kozak, unchallenged, headed Villa back in front after 64 minutes. Vlaar-less Villa caved in again five minutes later, Dani Osvaldo diving to head in from close range. Ten minutes from time, though, Delph ran at a retreating defence before finding the top corner from 20 yards. - an overdue first goal in the Premier League.
Pochettino played down Osvaldo appearing to raise his hands to a Villa player as the teams left the field. “It is the sort of game you lose one time in a thousand,” he said. “We're on a bad run but we have to keep on working because we have a very tough game on Saturday as well.”
Man of the match Delph.
Match rating 8/10.
Referee J Moss (W Yorks).
Latest in Sport
Daniel Sturridge injury: Alongside Luis Suarez, how the Liverpool SAS may FAIL to become the most lethal partnership in Premier League history
Arsenal: Four remaining fixtures - will they beat Everton to the final Champions League place?
Liverpool: Four remaining fixtures - can they stay top of the Premier League table?
Luis Suarez: Could Liverpool cash in on their star striker if they won the Premier League this season?
Barcelona 1 Real Madrid 2 match report: Gareth Bale scores wonder goal to claim Copa del Rey for Real
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for sale...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 Babies cry at night to stop mothers procreating, scientists claim
- 3 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 4 Andre Johnson: Wu-Tang Clan-discovered rapper severed his penis and jumped from LA building
- 5 Mrs Doubtfire 2: Robin Williams set to star in sequel to 1993 comedy
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back