The Spanish enforcer is one of the unsung heroes in this Southampton side and it often feels as if he is most appreciated when he is absent. His customary yellow aside, Romeu was faultless against Villa, with some intelligent interceptions integral to limiting the counter attacking threat of El Ghazi, Watkins and Bailey.
His passing and first touch has also noticeably improved, complemented by excellent balance which makes him an unlikely ball carrier in this side. Romeu was brilliant alongside the rejuvenated Ward-Prowse, with the pair often taking it in turns to sit as part of a back three when in possession. This allowed Livramento and Walker-Peters the freedom to maraude down the flanks, whilst also giving Salisu and Bednarek an easy pass to encourage Hasenhuttl’s preferred model of playing out from the back.
Should Ward-Prowse ever leave, there would not be a more obvious choice of captain than Romeu – his heart and presence on the pitch makes him a fan favourite, as well as a real model for the younger players. At 30 years old, it feels like he is only getting better.