Aston Villa 3-4 Southampton: Player Ratings as James Ward-Prowse Birthday Masterclass Seals Win

Nov 1, 2020, 2:22 PM GMT
James Ward-Prowse
Happy birthday James | Gareth Copley/Getty Images
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1 November is a notable day for two things. Mariah Carey announcing it's Christmas, and James Ward-Prowse's birthday.

Now, however, it will be remembered for three things: Mariah Carey announcing it's Christmas, James Ward-Prowse's birthday and James Ward-Prowse absolutely eviscerating Aston Villa with his set-pieces.

Southampton's birthday boy was already enjoying an impressive season, but took things to a new level at Villa's expense. Having picked out Jan Vestergaard with a corner for the opener, he had nothing left to prove about his set-piece prowess, but he set about proving it anyway with two gorgeous free-kicks to leave Villa staring down the barrel of a battering at the break.

All of that came after Che Adams had an opener disallowed, after nodding in a corner from - you guessed it - James Ward-Prowse.

A second half then happened, and didn't it just happen. A fourth goal through Danny Ings (because obviously) preceded something resembling a fight-back from Villa, but goals from Tyrone Mings, Ollie Watkins and Jack Grealish weren't enough to ruin James Ward-Prowse's party.

How did everybody else fare on International James Ward-Prowse Day? Let's have a look.

Aston Villa

1. Goalkeeper & Defenders

Tyrone Mings
Mings contorts himself to give Villa hope | Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Emiliano Martinez (GK) - 5/10 - Kind of hard to blame him for anything that happened against Villa. All four goals were brilliant finishes, though he needs to be louder and more commanding at times.

Matty Cash (RB) - 4/10 - Southampton really cashed in (yeah I went there) on a poor display from the former Nottingham Forest right-back, and he was subbed off by the hour mark. What was he doing with his handball for the third goal?

Ezri Konsa (CB) - 5/10 - Was made to look like an amateur by Ings at times, though he won't be the last player to do so.

Tyrone Mings (CB) - 6/10 - Didn't jump in the wall for Ward-Prowse's second free-kick, for reasons none of us can explain. His goal to make the scoreline a bit less embarrassing came from the only header he won all match.

Matt Targett (LB) - 6/10 - Aston Villa's best defender by default in that he didn't actively do anything wrong.

2. Midfielders

John McGinn, Stuart Armstrong
John McGinn and Stuart Artmstrong - Scotland friends | Gareth Copley/Getty Images

John McGinn (CM) - 5/10 - Looked a bit lost trying to track the Southampton captain and wasn't really able to get on the ball.

Douglas Luiz (CM) - 6/10 - Reasonably good at recycling possession and tried to keep things tied together in the middle, though that was a bit like trying to keep water in an upside down cup.

Ross Barkley (CAM) - 6/10 - Did try and drive Villa forward but found it very difficult against a Southampton team who gave him no time on the ball whatsoever.

3. Forwards

Ollie Watkins
Too little too late, but a great finish from Watkins | Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Bertrand Traore (RW) - 4/10 - Barely touched the ball before injury forced him off. Replaced by Trezeguet before the half hour.

Ollie Watkins (CF) - 6/10 - Really isolated in a Villa team focused on keeping the score down for the most part. Scored with a great penalty to add some undeserved respectability to the scoreline.

Jack Grealish (LW) - 7/10 - Grealish can look a little wasted out on the left and that was certainly the case here. Showed for the ball frequently though and looked like making things happen in the second half - albeit the game was already gone by the time he turned up to bag a goal and an assist.

4. Substitutes

Trezeguet - 6/10

Ahmed El Mohamady - 5/10

Southampton

5. Goalkeeper & Defenders

FBL-ENG-PR-ASTON VILLA-SOUTHAMPTON
Walker-Peters managed Jack Grealish well | GARETH COPLEY/Getty Images

Alex McCarthy (GK) - 7/10 - Quiet first half but made three brilliant stops in the second to single-handedly prevent Villa getting a sniff of a comeback.

Kyle Walker-Peters (RB) - 6/10 - Steady defensively and functional in progressing the ball. Dealt well with the threat of Grealish, who tended to drift inside rather than take him on.

Jan Bednarek (CB) - 6/10 - Went off at the break, presumably due to an injury, since his performance showed nothing to merit a tactical withdrawal.

Jannik Vestergaard (CB) - 8/10 - Seems to be coming together for him this season. Really commanding performance here and he was such a threat in the Villa box, scoring with one of the best headers you'll see this season.

Ryan Bertrand (LB) - 6/10 - Another solid performance from one of Ralph Hasenhuttl's most trusted lieutenants.

6. Midfielders

James Ward-Prowse
There he is, scoring | Michael Steele/Getty Images

Stuart Armstrong (RM) - 7/10 - You would never have thought Stuart Armstrong had the potential to be a quality winger but that's what he's turned into. He's never going to be the most dynamic but he's a good ball-carrier and clever enough in possession to make up for his lack of pace. Great assist for Ings' goal.

Oriol Romeu (CM) - 6/10 - An important part of the midfield equation, he broke things up whenever Villa ventured out of their half but didn't try anything ambitious with the ball at his feet - the flashy stuff was left for...

James Ward-Prowse (CM) - 10/10 - One of the better first-half performances you'll see, anyway. If any of us were under the illusion that there exists a better dead-ball player in the Premier League, then we're looking silly now.

Theo Walcott (LM) - 7/10 - Bright and positive, faded out of the game as it went on but the fact he completed 90 minutes will be encouraging for Hasenhuttl.

7. Forwards

Danny Ings
Ings celebrates his latest goal | Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images

Danny Ings (CF) - 7/10 - Wasn't his best game, actually, as almost everything that happened for Southampton came from midfield. As usual, though, he found the net with a clinical finish.

Che Adams (CF) - 7/10 - Showed just why he is the perfect foil for Ings with his ceaseless running and intelligent link-up play.

8. Substitutes

Jack Stephens - 6/10

Ibrahima Diallo - 4/10

Shane Long - N/A

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