Long and Armstrong give Saints 2-0 home win over Aston Villa

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Southampton continued their surge from the bottom half of the English Premier League (EPL) towards mid-table with a 2-0 home win over Aston Villa on Saturday.

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Goals from Shane Long and Stuart Arsmtrong gave them the win, with the result leaving Southampton 12th with 34 points from 27 games.

Beleaguered Aston Villa stayed 17th on 25 points, one above the relegation zone.

The home team’s manager Ralph Hasenhuttl was delighted with the outcome and the solid display.

“An important victory, as our home record was not the best before today.

“It was a perfect afternoon for us and the crowd was absolutely behind us. This was a great performance from everybody.

“The only negative was that we needed to be more clinical as we had 28 shots on goal. We knew we had to do everything to defend our box and `congrats’ to the guys. They did their job,”the Austrian said.

The Saints dominated proceedings and debutant William Smallbone hit the post with a deflected shot in the sixth minute before Ireland striker Long netted the opener two minutes later.

The lively Moussa Djenepo poked in a cross from the left flank with the outside of his right foot.

Long bundled it in at near post with his thigh past Aston Villa goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

Reina denied Southampton a bigger lead as he kept out efforts by Danny Ings and Djenepo in the first half before parrying a ferocious Pierre Hojbjerg volley on the hour mark.

The home team’s captain Armstrong sealed the win with the last kick of the game when he put the ball into an empty net from a Che Adams assist.

This was after Reina went upfield for an Aston Villa corner kick.

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith was disappointed with his team’s performance.

“We never laid a glove on them in the first 20 minutes.

“I try to defend the players but today was not good enough and they were miles off it in the first half.

“It was a game that could have been won but we didn’t create enough,” he said.

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