Aston Villa 2-4 Southampton: Top six hopes alive for Saints

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  • Tadic scores twice
  • Saints now have 54 points
  • Westwood bags two for Villa

Southampton beat already relegated Aston Villa 4-2 at Villa Park on Saturday with Dusan Tadic scoring twice, plus Shane Long and Sadio Mane grabbing the other goals.

Ashley Westwood scored both goals for Villa but the scoreline doesn’t suggest how one-sided this game was as the Midlands club slumped to a club record 25th defeat of the season.

With the win Saints move on to 54 points and remain in the hunt for a top six finish and Europa League qualification. Villa stay bottom on 16 points, with just three wins to their name all season.

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Saints started well and should have led in the opening three minutes but Long’s effort came off the underside of the crossbar and out.

After 15 minutes they did lead 1-0 and it was Long who headed home Ryan Bertrand‘s beautiful curling cross. The Republic of Ireland international has now scored six times in his last seven PL appearances against Villa.

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As the first half wore on Villa showed some fight and Jordan Ayew headed just wide at the back post to give the home fans some hope.

Saints continued to pour forward and Virgil Van Dijk hit the post with an effort from a corner and Long had a goal correctly disallowed for offside. Eight minutes before half time Saints went 2-0 up with Leandro Bacuna‘s misplaced pass setting free Long and he squared for Tadic to tap home. 2-0.

However, Villa pulled a goal back right on half time as a loose ball fell to Westwood and his low shot found the bottom corner for his first goal in 70 appearances. 2-1.

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In the second half Southampton continued to push forward with Jay Rodriguez, Van Dijk and others going close.

Then on 71 minutes they grabbed a third as Tadic started a break by feeding the ball to Long and he squared to set up the Serbian for his second of the game. 3-1 to Saints.

Mane, Steven Davis and Long went close to making it 4-1 but USMNT goalkeeper Brad Guzan stood tall.

With five minutes to Westwood scored again to make it 3-2 after Gestede swung and missed, but it was too little too late for Villa with Long twice going close to extending Saints’ lead. Mane headed home late on to score his fourth goal in his last five outings to make it 4-2 and finally finish Villa off.

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Home fans continued to protest against American owner Randy Lerner — they held up signs saying “Proud history. What future?” — despite him taking the blame for relegation earlier this week.

Villa’s miserable season continues as they’ve now gained just 16 points from 35 games and won just three of those.