Southampton are still in second place, but their position is about to come under fire after they dropped points at the worst possible time. Aston Villa were able to snag a point in a 1-1 draw against the Saints, who face a murderer's row of fixtures over the next two weeks.
It looked like Southampton were well in control and the much more likely side to score until the 30th minute, when their goalkeeper Fraser Forster made a terrible decision to come off his line and try to beat Gabriel Agbonlahor to a loose ball. Predictably, he lost the race, and Agbonlahor passed the ball into an empty net after going around him.
With a lead at home, Villa were able to put men behind the ball and make life difficult for the Saints. Brad Guzan's best save of the day came in the 37th minute on a curler by Sadio Mane, and he had to kick away a dangerous square ball by Jose Fonte in the 73rd minute.
Andreas Weimann had a chance to seal the win for Villa in the 76th minute when Agbonlahor set him up for an open shot at the end of a great counter, but he completely mishit his shot, missing by miles when he was completely uncontested.
Five minutes later, Weimann would come to regret that miss, and Paul Lambert would come to regret an ill-advised substitution. He took off defensive midfielder Carlos Sanchez, so there was no one at the top of the box to clear when Ryan Bertrand cut back for Nathaniel Clyne, who struck an impressive equalizer past Guzan to salvage a point for his side.
Aston Villa: Guzan, Cissokho, Clark, Okore, Hutton, Sanchez (Bent 74'), Westwood, Cleverley, Weimann, Agbonlahor, Nzogbia (Richardson 64')
Goals: Agbonlahor (30')
Southampton: Forster, Bertrand, Alderweireld, Fonte, Clyne, Wanyama, Schneiderlin, Mane (Mayuka 79'), Long (Cork 89'), Tadic, Pelle
Goals: Clyne (81')
1. Paul Lambert is bad at his job, isn't he? - Jores Okore hasn't been playing in the Premier League because Paul Lambert says he isn't ready, even though he has Champions League and competitive international experience. In his first league start of the season, he was man of the match. While up a goal, Lambert took off a defensive midfielder and put on a striker. Southampton's equalizer came from a ball running into space that a DM would have occupied. He just doesn't seem to know what he's doing.
2. But Jores Okore! - Wow, that was a great performance by the Dane. Nathan Baker and Philippe Senderos should have some trouble getting back into the Villa team after Okore turned in a spectacular performance. Southampton striker Graziano Pelle was totally anonymous and Okore's distribution from the back was excellent too.
3. Southampton are about to come back down to earth - With no disrespect intended to Aston Villa, if Southampton were made to look that tame by the Villains, they're in for a rude awakening when they face the two Manchester sides and Arsenal. They'll do well to get two or three points from that run of matches.