VAR calls hurt Southampton in 1-0 loss to Aston Villa in EPL

SOUTHAMPTON, England (AP) — Two VAR decisions went against Southampton in its 1-0 loss to Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday.

Ross Barkley’s 41st-minute header ended the recent slump of Villa, which went into the game at St. Mary’s with just one win in its last five games.

But Southampton will be aggrieved at being on the wrong side of two big calls, the first in the 10th minute when a shot by Stuart Armstrong was blocked by the arm of Villa defender Matty Cash. The official line from VAR was that the ball flicked off the defender’s thigh and onto his hand and was not deemed to be a penalty, although Cash’s arm was outstretched.

In stoppage time in the second half, Danny Ings looked to have scored an equalizer but the forward was flagged and VAR ruled the striker’s shoulder made him marginally offside, upholding the on-field decision.

“We had to be resolute,” Villa manager Dean Smith said. “We got some great blocks at the end there. And some VAR decisions.”

Villa climbed to eighth place, ahead of Arsenal and Chelsea, who have both played more games. Southampton remained in 11th but has lost three straight games.

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