Aston Villa’s performance on Saturday evening against Chelsea probably took us all by surprise.
It has been a woeful pre-season for the club with Jack Grealish chasing his plastic medals, the Covid issues we had (again) that clearly affected fitness and sharpness and then the international set of testicles with the Emi’s and national associations folding but 3-0 against Chelsea did not tell the story of the 90 minutes.
It was chalk and cheese to our other PL performances this season, let alone last season and even the season before. A committed, gritty effort full of passion and a total team performance in a very unfamiliar fluid 352 set up.
Had we not shot ourselves in the foot with three very avoidable mistakes, few Villa fans would’ve batted an eyelid at a 4-0 victory given the chances we had and the woefully little they created, and I’m not sure if Mendy between the sticks or Stuart Attwell should take the lions share of the praise for their win.
In any event, the performance was massively pleasing and gives lots of hope moving forward – we were a threat all night long and Dean Smith was flexible and had us spot on. There are a number of choices for Man of the Match for me and even though Tyrone Mings and Axel Tuanzebe share the blame for their goals, they were basically the only things they got wrong on the day.
Statistics website Whoscored predictably favoured Chelsea given the scoreline, so these ratings do not reflect the performance for me. They do however broadly get the top five right.
John McGinn took Man of the Match with 7.28, Ollie Watkins was on 7.19, Ezri Konsa got 6.92, Jacob Ramsey with a 6.74 and Matty Cash on 6.44.
Had he played the 90, Ramsey would’ve been my pick given his first half showing, but I’d go with Meatball here as well.
We move on and we must build on that performance.