Southampton claimed a 1-0 win over Aston Villa on Friday to make it 10 points collected from a possible 12 in their last four Premier League fixtures.
An excellent goal from Adam Armstrong after just three minutes saw Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side record the latest victory as they proved themselves to be the team rising up the table against a faltering Villa who had little in terms of a reply during the rest of the game.
Another international break now arrives but Saints have put a healthy cushion between themselves and the bottom three that can be built upon – a welcome change to the often weekly pressure to get a result and glance over the shoulder.
Wins this season have been narrow by the scoreline but the combination of expert finishing from the likes of Adam Armstrong, Armando Broja and Che Adams in recent weeks has been the perfect, match-winning partner for a solid looking defensive setup.
Importantly, Ralph Hasenhuttl has also found some comfort in switching between his usual 4-2-2-2 and a 3-5-2 to improve his side’s chances of getting points on the board against different opponents further down the line.
Here are the Southampton player ratings from Friday’s win as a number of key performers contributed: