A bleak midwinter turned bleaker still for Aston Villa on Sunday when it was confirmed John McGinn will be out for three months after fracturing his ankle in this defeat.
The home loss plunged Dean Smith's side into the bottom three and without the guile of McGinn, climbing out will be even harder.
Villa are in freefall and have lost their last four. The club spent nearly £130million on new talent for the Premier League yet, apart from goalkeeper Tom Heaton and left back Matt Targett, their most important players remain those who helped them out of the Championship: captain Jack Grealish, and injured pair McGinn and Tyrone Mings.
Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn has been ruled out for three months with an ankle injury
The loss of McGinn, who was injured challenging for the ball with Cedric Soares in the opening exchanges, is a hammer blow.
For Southampton, it is a sunnier outlook. Any team fighting relegation craves a reliable goalscorer but Danny Ings will surely be setting his sights higher than simply firing Southampton to survival.
Among England-qualified players, only Jamie Vardy, with 17, and Tammy Abraham, with 11, have scored as many Premier League goals this season; Ings' 11 is more impressive as they have come for a struggling team.
Gareth Southgate is known to be an admirer of Ings, who has recovered from two serious knee injuries to become one of the most effective strikers in the country.
Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl said: 'With his technique there are not many strikers who are better than him. It's nice for England that they have a lot of good strikers and Ings is one of them.'
There have been suggestions that Danny Ings could get back into the England squad
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