In truth, it was a scrappy game, and Villa didn’t have to be at their best to take all three points. Jacob Ramsey scored the only goal four minutes before half-time and that’s how it remained.
Southampton were well below par and Ralph Hasenhuttl will be understandably irritated that his team couldn’t pose more of a problem for the home side.
It was a vital three points for Steven Gerrard’s men nonetheless, and a welcome clean sheet to go with it, their first since April. Despite Ramsey scoring the winner and impressing throughout, it was Tyrone Mings who was perhaps the real saviour overall for Villa.
The Englishman has come under criticism in recent weeks due to a series of poor performances, but he was excellent at the heart of Villa’s defence in last night’s win.
He received a rating of 7.4 from SofaScore for his performance, which was the joint-third highest on the pitch behind Ramsey and Lucas Digne, who each scored 7.8.
The former Ipswich defender made two tackles and six clearances while also winning an impressive 100% of his duels (two ground, four aerial) as he stood firm and prevented Southampton from scoring.
With 53 touches and one key pass during the match, Mings didn’t just revert to keeping the Saints at bay – he wanted to get involved and create opportunities from defence as often as he could.
Michael Hincks described the 29-year-old as a “rock” following the final whistle and gave him a rating of eight in the i Paper, also stating that the centre-back was “instrumental in leading” the Villa defensive cause.
Having been snubbed by Gareth Southgate when the England squad for the upcoming UEFA Nations League fixtures was named in midweek, this was very much a performance which might have proved a few people wrong.
There is still time to impress before the World Cup squad is announced, and if Mings puts in more excellent displays like last night, then he could give his national team boss plenty to ponder.