Premier League - Villa and Southampton in dour stalemate

Premier League, Villa Park – Aston Villa 0 Southampton 0

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Premier League - Villa and Southampton in dour stalemate
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Aston Villa's Ryan Bertrand (R) challenges Southampton's defender Nathaniel Clyne (AFP)

Southampton dominated possession but were unable to find a way through a resolute Aston Villa defence in an uninspiring goalless draw in the Premier League.

Rickie Lambert – keen to prove a point after recently admitting he faced a battle to make Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad – spurned two great openings inside the opening 180 seconds as Southampton started brightly.

But the visitors, aside from a Steven Davis effort on the half hour, failed to turn long spells of possession into clear-cut chances as Villa invited pressure.

Adam Lallana fluffed his effort after being picked out by Luke Shaw’s low cross in the second period’s standout moment, as Southampton found their path to goal blocked by a swarm of defensive-minded claret and sky blue shirts.

The point leaves Villa five points clear of the relegation zone with four games remaining.

KEY MOMENTS

3’ – CHANCE! Shaw bombs down the left flank and pings a cross into Lambert... Guzan saves the forward’s header!

5’ – LAMBERT MISSES AGAIN! Davis picks out Lambert, but the striker diverts the ball the wrong side of the post. Two big chances go begging for the England hopeful.

32’ – GREAT SAVE! The ball falls kindly to Davis inside the penalty area but the Southampton man sees his effort clawed clear by Guzan.

45’ – CLOSE! Bertrand's cross is palmed against the leg of Lovren and squirms wide. Southampton escape.

54’ – CHANCE! Shaw hares down the left wing and plays it across goal to where Lallana lurks but the midfielder fluffs his effort. To be fair, it was slightly behind the midfielder.

79’ – CONTROVERSY! Southampton want a penalty as the ball strikes Bertrand on the arm from point-blank range. Corner given.

KEY STATS

Adam Lallana completed all 25 passes he attempted in the first-half against Aston Villa (Opta)

Only West Ham (six) have been involved in more Premier League goalless draws than Aston Villa’s five this season (Infostrada)

Southampton have recorded a goalless draw for the first time in 31 Premier League matches (Infostrada)

TALKING POINT

Will the Villa fans view that performance as acceptable? Paul Lambert’s men took to the turf against a mid-table side with little to play for, but refused to put them under any sort of pressure until they reached the edge of their penalty area.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Luke Shaw (Southampton): His delivery went missing at times, but the full-back was a constant thorn in the Villa side. Get him on the plane to Brazil, Roy.

PLAYER RATINGS

Aston Villa: Guzan 6, Bacuna 6, Vlaar 7, Baker 7, Bertrand 7, Albrighton 6, Westwood 5, Delph 6, El Ahmadi 5, Agbonlahor 5, Weimann 6. Subs: Holt 6, Robinson N/A.

Southampton: Boruc 6, Clyne 7, Fonte 6, Lovren 6, Shaw 7, Wanyama 6, Schneiderlin 7, S. Davis 7, Ward-Prowse 6, Lallana 6, Lambert 6. Subs: Gallagher 6, Cork 6, Reed N/A.

MATCH IN A TWEET

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