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 them up to eighth in the table.
The visitors had to withstand an early onslaught from Southampton and they were 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.
Having scored two goals in their previous six league games, Southampton struggled once again in attack. They created plenty of chances but failed to get many of them on target, thanks in no small part to a stout defensive effort by 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 they 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 their second win in three league games to rise above Chelsea and Arsenal on 32 points.