Philippe Coutinho star in Villa’s 4-0 win over Southampton

Philippe Coutinho star in Villa’s 4-0 win over Southampton
Aston Villa's Philippe Coutinho, left, celebrates scoring their side's third goal of the game with teammate Tyrone Mings during the English Premier League soccer match at Villa Park, Birmingham, England, Saturday, March 5, 2022. (David Davies/PA via AP)

Philippe Coutinho gave a masterful display and Danny Ings offered Southampton a painful reminder of his prowess as Aston Villa’s revival continued in style with a 4-0 win in the English Premier League on Saturday.

Ings, who joined Villa from Southampton last summer, scored one and set up two others, while Coutinho netted once, claimed an assist for Douglas Luiz and could have had a hat trick as Steven Gerrard’s side made it successive victories.

Ollie Watkins scored Villa’s opening goal in its biggest win since beating Liverpool 7-2 in October 2020.

The end came to Saints’ five-match unbeaten run in the league.

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

Southampton was wearing its yellow and blue change kit to show support for Ukraine, and Saints fans hung scarves of those colors to greet their team before kickoff.

But it was Villa fans who were cheering as their team took the lead in the ninth minute, Watkins turning Oriol Romeu with ease following Ings’ pass before calmly curling home a shot.

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

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

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

The closest Southampton came to scoring was in the 33rd, Valentino Livramento crossing for Che Adams to 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, agonizingly, 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.

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

Coutinho fired through Forster’s legs in the 52nd after Ings cut the ball back and, 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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