Southampton followed up their 1-0 win over Watford in the Premier League last weekend with another victory on Friday night at St Mary’s against Aston Villa by the same scoreline.
An early goal from Adam Armstrong was enough to see Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side secure all three points against Villa, who have now lost five league games on the bounce.
Aside from Armstrong, one Saints player who we think was a standout performer on the night was James Ward-Prowse.
During his 90 minutes on the pitch, the Southampton captain had 82 touches of the ball and completed 50 of his 55 passes (including four key passes), racking up a passing accuracy percentage of 91%, as per SofaScore. That highlights just how effective he was for the Saints in the centre of midfield in an attacking and creative sense.
Additionally, Ward-Prowse also won five duels, made two tackles and two clearances and blocked one shot, also showing how he contributed in a defensive sense.
Overall, the 27-year-old – who has been labelled as an “unbelievable fighter for the team” by Hasenhuttl in the past – earned himself an overall match rating of 7.5/10 according to SofaScore. That made him Southampton’s joint-highest rated player on the night alongside Valentino Livramento, proving that he was Hasenhuttl’s hero against Villa, even more so than Armstrong in terms of overall performance.
So far this season, Ward-Prowse -who is currently valued at £28.8m by Transfermarkt – has played in all of Southampton’s Premier League games except against Leeds United and Burnley when he was serving a ban, illustrating how vital he is for Hasenhuttl and the team.
In terms of his performance for the Saints last night, Ward-Prowse certainly showed why Villa were interested in signing him over the summer, and why Southampton were right to reject the Midlanders’ reported £25m bid for him and then offer him a new long-term deal to keep him at St Mary’s.
Moving forward, if Ward-Prowse can keep keep delivering the standard of performance that he did against Villa last night, we feel that he will be a key figure for Southampton as they aim to put their poor start to the season behind them and move away from a potential relegation battle.