Given the pre-season expectations of Dean Smith’s side, and the money they spent in the summer, the Villa players looked bereft of confidence as Saints threw the kitchen sink at them in the first half.
What was left of their confidence took another battering when Southampton’s Adam Armstrong smashed in a spectacular volley inside just three minutes to give Saints the lead.
James Ward-Prowse won a 50-50 challenge and cleared the ball up the pitch was bounced off the battle between Che Adams and Matt Cash.
The ball fell to Armstrong, who hit it first time with his weaker foot and it flew past the stationary Emiliano Martinez.
Saints went close to doubling their lead a few times in a dominant first-half showing, with notable efforts from Ward-Prowse and Oriol Romeu from distance.
To top things off, Anwar El Ghazi could have been showed a second yellow card on a couple of occasions, but luckily for Aston Villa, the Dutch winger got away with multiple infractions to avoid a sending off.
After weathering the Saints storm and riding their luck with El Ghazi, Villa took the game to Southampton in the second half.
El Ghazi and Buendia each went close with a couple of efforts, but Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl made several second-half changes that limited Villa’s chances despite their possession in Saints’ half of the pitch.
The Villans tried to pile on the pressure on Southampton’s goal, but Saints’ backs-to-the-wall defending ultimately prevailed as they secured all three points.
Southampton (4-4-2): McCarthy; Livramento, Bednarek, Salisu, Walker-Peters; S. Armstrong (Lyanco 56’), Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Elyounoussi (Diallo 76’); A. Armstrong (Broja 81’), Adams
Unused subs: Forster, Long, Perraud, Djenepo, Tella, Walcott
Goals: A. Armstrong (3’)
Bookings: Salisu, Romeu
Aston Villa (4-2-3-1): Martinez; Cash, Tuanzebe, Mings, Targett; McGinn, Nakamba (J. Ramsey 63’); Bailey, Buendia (Archer 71’), El Ghazi (Davis 79’); Watkins
Unused subs: Steer, Young, Hause, Philogene-Bidace, Chukwuemeka, Davis, A. Ramsey
Bookings: El Ghazi, Tuanzebe
Should have been sent off: El Ghazi