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Southampton vs. Aston Villa: 6 Things We Learned

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04:  Gabriel Agbonlahor of Aston Villa celebrates victory after the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Aston Villa at St Mary's Stadium on December 4, 2013 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
Joshua HaywardContributor IDecember 4, 2013

Aston Villa traveled to Hampshire to face high-flying Southampton.

Mauricio Pochettino's men had suffered two consecutive defeats at the hands of Arsenal and Chelsea but had been one of the season's surprise packages.

Prior to kick off, Villa had a topsy-turvy opening 13 games to this campaign, but form and league position were turned on their head as Villa claimed an incredible win.

Here are six things we learned from Southampton's clash with Villa.


Fabian Delph finally deserves an England call

Fabian Delph put in another stellar performance in Villa's huge 3-2 win on the south coast.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04:  Fabian Delph of Aston Villa (2R) celebrates with team mates Matthew Lowton (L), Gabriel Agbonlahor (2L) and Ashley Westwood (R) as he scores their third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

The all-action midfielder was Villa's star man during Villa's opening fixtures—earning many plaudits in the Claret and Blues' wins over Arsenal, Manchester City and even in the losses to Liverpool and Chelsea.

Delph had been touted for an England call-up, though, criticisms regarding his goalscoring form appeared to hinder his chances of Roy Hodgson making contact.

The 24-year-old scored Villa's winning goal against the Saints—and an absolute cracker it was.

A single goal isn't going to change Hodgson's opinion overnight, but the Villa man has gone close on a number of times this season, and this goal could spur him onto further strikes this season—and an England call-up to follow.


Villa don't need Christian Benteke

OK, of course I am joking. Any player with that much talent is needed in the team, but Villa have survived without Benteke's goals since the striker suffered an injury in the 1-0 victory over Norwich in September.

Villa have picked up nine points and have scored seven goals since the Belgian’s return from injury—a period of which he has failed to find the net.

Players from a number of positions have chipped in with goals over recent weeks: Gabriel Agbonlahor, Libor Kozak and Fabian Delph all getting on the scoresheet in the win over the Saints.

Benteke was dropped for the visit to the South Coast—coming on with 24 minutes to play—and Paul Lambert's men managed to cope just fine in his absence.


The resolute Villa defence continues to improve

Villa may have conceded two goals against Southampton, but a superb defensive performance was at the heart of the win.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04:  Ciaran Clark of Aston Villa holds off Nathaniel Clyne of Southampton during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Aston Villa at St Mary's Stadium on December 4, 2013 in Southampton, England.  (Phot
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

At one point throughout the first half, the home side had 77 percent possession and were exerting real pressure on the Villa defence.

Opting with three central defenders and two wing-backs, the visitors were composed at the back—a fact emphasized by their desire to hold out for the three points during the five minutes of frantic added time.


Villa are certainly a better team away from home

Lambert's men have struggled at home this season, gathering just seven points from a possible 21 at Villa Park. They have have far more positive results on the road, however, claiming 12 points from their seven fixtures away from home.

Whether it be that there is less pressure on Villa—who only just survived the drop last season—when they're on their travels, or whether it's Lambert's tactics—often opting for a more packed midfield—the Birmingham-based side seem to be more comfortable away from B6.


Adam Lallana deserves a place on the plane to Brazil

Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana was rewarded for some exemplary Premier League performances this season with an England call-up for the recent international friendlies against Chile and Germany.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04:  Ciaran Clark of Aston Villa tackles Adam Lallana of Southampton during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Aston Villa at St Mary's Stadium on December 4, 2013 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Lallana, along with Jay Rodriguez, had been a key player for the Saints as Mauricio Pochettino's men climbed to the dizzy heights of third in the Premier League and fully deserved his England chance.

The 25-year-old starred once again, constantly providing a threat from midfield against Villa—just a shame for the hosts that they weren't able to get anything from the game.


Stats aren't everything…

Southampton were better than Villa in every area of the park—certainly according to the stats, anyway.

The hosts completed six times as many passes as their opponents, had 21 shots to Villa’s six, and had an astounding 77 percent possession throughout the match.

Villa, on the other hand, had three shots on target all evening and left the South Coast with all three points.

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