Aston Villa slipped into the bottom three of the Premier League after losing at home to fellow strugglers Southampton.
A chorus of boos was audible from the Villa Park stands after the worst performance of the season was topped off with what looks a serious injury to John McGinn.
Danny Ings scored twice for the south coast club in search for their fourth win over Villa in the past seven meetings between the two.
Ings tapped in from close range after Tom Heaton kept Shane Long out on the 20th minute.
It was a wake-up call for Villa, but Dean Smith’s mean failed to react before falling behind further before half time.
Jack Stephens converted a James Ward-Prowse corner as the Saints capitalised on Villa’s defensive frailties.
2-0 down at the break, the Villa team ran into the changing room in search of answers and a strategy to put things right in the second half.
It started brightly, with Jack Grealish and Wesley combining in the first stages, though it wouldn’t last.
In fact, things would only get worse for a Villa side currently lacking confidence.
Ings doubled his tally for the game by sweeping home Southampton’s third of the afternoon. Marvellous Nakamba’s loose touch in the Villa box presented the forward with a chance we simply were not going to pass upon.
Grealish would leave his mark on the game by scoring a sensational half volley 20 minutes from time in front of the Holte End.
The game was unfortunately too far gone at that stage, with Johnathan Kodjia falling to make any real sort of impact on proceedings as he was introduced late on.
Villa will host Norwich City on Boxing Day in what is now a must-win for Dean Smith’s side.
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