Whilst there were plenty of performances issues for Aston Villa fans to chew over, after five defeats on the spin, it turned into a pretty good weekend as new head coach Steven Gerrard got off to a winning start against Brighton and Hove Albion.
Fans had to wait for the game to properly explode into life, and Ashley Young’s introduction helped that happen as he set Ollie Watkins on his way to open the scoring with six minutes left on the clock. Five minutes after that we saw a bit of magic from Tyrone Mings and he closed the game out at 2-0.
For very understandable reasons, BBC pundit Garth Crooks picked out both goalkeeper Emi Martinez and Mings for their important individual showings at Villa Park. Naming them both in his Team of the Week feature for the Aunty Beeb, the former striker explained.
“The save by Martinez from Brighton’s Leandro Trossard suggested the Argentine was back in business. The save from Tariq Lamptey’s shot just before half-time was even better. The keeper was off his line like a shot and quick to deny the full-back any opportunity. I’ve only seen Martinez have one shaky performance this season and that was away to Arsenal, the club who should never have let him go to Villa in the first place. Martinez was the best keeper the Gunners had at the club at the time – the thing was Arsenal never knew it. Which was rather strange, because everyone else did.”
49 games in since he arrived from Arsenal, and Saturday was his 19th clean sheet.
“The arrival of Steven Gerrard at Villa Park seems to have done the trick. It has raised expectations among their fans, restored confidence in the team and seen Tyrone Mings return to the starting line-up after being left out of the side by Dean Smith for the game against West Ham. I thought at the time, the moment Smith decided to drop the team captain he had a problem in the dressing room. Managers seldom recover from those events. With Mings back in the side and Villa delivering clean sheets again, who can say what the future holds for Villa, Mings or Gerrard?”
It was a vintage Mings performance and it’s been a while since he looked that solid and determine.
Long may it continue, beginning at Crystal Palace this coming weekend. Will we see a more refined performance and will Gerrard make it back to back wins?