Aston Villa see off sorry Southampton with Philippe Coutinho on form

Coutinho netted once, claimed an assist and could have had a hat-trick as Steven Gerrard’s side made it successive victories.

Philippe Coutinho celebrates his goal (David Davies/PA)

By PA Sport Staff

Philippe Coutinho gave a masterclass and Danny Ings offered Southampton a painful reminder of his prowess as Aston Villa’s revival continued in style with a 4-0 hammering at Villa Park.

Ings, who joined Villa from Southampton in the summer for £25million, scored one and made two, while Coutinho netted once, claimed an assist and could have had a hat-trick as Steven Gerrard’s side made it successive victories.

Ollie Watkins and Douglas Luiz scored Villa’s other goals in their biggest win since beating Liverpool 7-2 in October 2020, while it ended Saints’ five-match unbeaten run in the Premier League.

Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster made vital saves from Watkins, Coutinho and Ings to prevent an even heavier defeat.

Southampton were wearing their yellow and blue change kit to show support for Ukraine, and Saints fans hung scarves of those colours to greet their team before kick-off.

But it was Villa fans who were cheering as their team took the lead in the ninth minute.

Watkins turned Oriol Romeu with ease before calmly curling home a shot after Ings provided the pass.

It was the 100th goal Watkins had scored in league football, which includes 10 on loan at non-league side Weston-super-Mare, and his seventh of the season.

In a rare break, Southampton midfielder Stuart Armstrong curled inches wide trying to pick his spot.

Villa’s Jacob Ramsey, unmarked at the far post, could only head wide from John McGinn’s corner.

Watkins should have doubled Villa’s lead in the 31st minute. Coutinho provided the perfect through ball, but his shot was palmed away by Forster.

The closest Southampton came to scoring was in the 33rd minute. Valentino Livramento crossed but Che Adams could only head on top of the net.

Romain Perraud drove wide for the visitors, who were to regret their missed chances as Villa went on to dominate.

Coutinho twice went desperately close, sandwiched in between setting up the second goal.

First Forster blocked his shot with his right leg after Watkins pulled the ball back from the left.

Then, agonisingly, the Brazilian curled the ball fractionally wide after Watkins’ headed flick left him in the clear.

In between, Coutinho’s superb movement beat the offside trap as he latched on to Calum Chambers’ chip and unselfishly squared for Luiz to tap home in the 44th minute.

Villa made the game safe with two further goals within nine minutes of the restart.

Coutinho turned one way then the other before firing through Forster’s legs in the 52nd minute after Ings cut the ball back.

Two minutes later, Ings netted with a first-time shot that swerved away from Forster into the far corner from Matty Cash’s cross.

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