The Carabao Cup final of Aston Villa against Man City can get ugly if they repeat Saints’ performance
The Carabao Cup showpiece of Aston Villa against Manchester City can get ugly if they repeat their performance from dismal defeat to Southampton, while Dean Smith warns of ’13 cup final ‘
- Aston Villa cannot afford to continue their bad form in the Carabao Cup final
- Dean Smith was angry after a weak 2-0 defeat in the Premier League in Southampton
- Man City defeated Villa 6-1 at Villa Park and are their Wembley opponents on Sunday
- Villas are just a point and a place above the drop zone and have lost three in a row
The joy that Aston Villa felt in reaching the final of the Carabao Cup on Sunday could well turn into fear of humiliation after this Southampton defeat.
Villager Dean Smith was furious and ashamed of this capitulation. It was his third third loss in a row since they defeated Leicester to reach the Wembley showpiece against holders of Manchester City on Sunday.
That the defeat of Villa came against injury-hit Southampton – which only won four home competitions this time – is worrying enough. But it is the way of defeat that will really poke.
Aston Villa boss Dean Smith was not impressed by the loss of the Premier League 2-0 in Southampton
Villa knows they need to improve drastically to participate in the Carabao Cup final
Southampton conquered Villa, which lacked a heart and struggled with the base. Saints walked ahead within 10 minutes and by that time it could have been done and dusted. They received no less than 28 shots.
Villa has done little to help itself. A tendency to replay at the back put them under pressure against a ruthless party, while an unorganized defense – the worst in the division – relied on the last ditches and a poor finish to keep the scoreboard respectable.
Smith, who shook his head for much of the game, complained about too many “practice field players.” He and assistant John Terry have little time to implement a plan that may include City.
“I told the players before the game that we have 13 cup final,” said Smith. “We were rightly beaten. I can’t change what happened. It is what we do now to prepare them for the next game. “
It’s hard to know where to start. Pepe Reina, 37, made some nice saves that thwarted Danny Ings, Moussa Djenepo, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Che Adams. But with the sublime came the ridiculous: disastrous clean-ups, frequent miscommunication and a comical error from Hojbjerg’s long ball that led to a struggle with Shane Long outside the box, for which he escaped with a booking.
Struggling Villa was demolished at home 6-1 by cup final enemies Manchester City on January 12
For the shaky Spaniard, Tyrone Mings had the smell of a captain going down with his ship. Recovered to the team after tonsillitis, he put his head where it hurts, making blocks and fending off Will Smallbone’s shot on a pole. One man can only do so much. “We’ll find out behind closed doors,” Mings said.
“The last thing we have to do is break and lose confidence in each other, so we prepare for the final and it can be a welcome distraction from the competition.” Or it can be a new dent in their already fragile self-confidence.
Villa fell behind after Ezri Konsa ended. The pleasantly unpredictable Djenepo refused to give up a loose ball and crossed over to Long, who defeated Reina on his near post. Given all the talk about his attack partner Ings, Long quietly enjoys a pleasant patch and scores his third here in six games.
In midfield, the lightweight combination of Douglas Luiz and Marvelous Nakamba outweighed by Hojbjerg and Smallbone, a 20-year academy product that made its Premier League debut. If they replicate that on Sunday, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva have a field day.
MATCHING FACTS AND TEAM LINE UP
Southampton (4-2-2-2): McCarthy 6.5; Ward-Prowse 7, Stephens 7, Bednarek 6.5, Bertrand 6.5; Hojbjerg 6.5, Smallbone 6.5 (Romeu 80min); Armstrong 6.5, Djenepo 7.5; Ings 6.5 (Adams 73, 6.5), Long 6.5 (Obafemi 73, 6).
Subs not used: Gunn, Valery, Vestergaard, Boufal
Manager: Ralph Hasenhuttl 7.
Aston Villa (3-4-3): Reina 5; Hause 4.5, Mings 6.5, Konsa 4.5 (Hourihane 59, 6); Guilbert 4.5, Nakamba 5 (Baston 81), Luiz 5, Targett 5.5; El Ghazi 4.5 (Trezeguet 28, 6), Grealish 6.5, Samatta 6
Subs not used: Drinking water, Nyland, English, Elmohamady. Booked: Konsa, Reina, Grealish, Guilbert
Manager: Dean Smith 5
Referee: Craig Pawson 6
Villas Mbwana Samatta had the ball in the net before the break, but it was rightly excluded for offside. That was about to a corner in the dying moments.
Villa felt an undeserved leveler and threw everyone forward. But after Alex McCarthy clearly struck, Adams found Stuart Armstrong with an excellent cross-field ball. Reina (below) was stranded and the Scot remained calm to end up in an empty net.
Because of all this, Villa fans had a good voice. “We’re going to Wem-ber-ley,” they growled. A trip to the national stadium is always unforgettable. But any pleasure can stop abruptly at 4:30 PM when the sides lock horns on the field.
Six weeks ago, Manchester City won 6-1 at Villa Park. The teams meet again in six days. Do not exclude a comparable score. Villa has lost their last four games with City in all competitions with a total of 17-1 and lost 4-0 last month.
But win or lose on Sunday, Villa has 11 games to maintain their Premier League status. You can feel that three of them – against Newcastle, Crystal Palace and West Ham – will be their real cup final.