Conor Hourihane was raved about by some supporters for his performance in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Stoke City. The Aston Villa midfielder has come under a lot of criticism in recent weeks but responded perfectly at the Britannia Stadium. Hourihane started alongside Glenn Whelan in the middle of the park and delivered a dominant display over the 90 minutes.
Against the Potters, Hourihane made 95 touches and 72 passes with 90% accuracy. He also whipped in nine crosses, created two chances, made two tackles and made two interceptions. The 28-year-old even boasted a 100% accuracy rate from long balls played and showed exactly why Dean Smith has so much faith in him.
John McGinn’s two-game suspension threatened to further hamper Villa’s form as he’s been a standout performer for most of the season, but Hourihane flourished in his absence and will have given many supporters pause for thought. After being on the end of abuse from fans in recent weeks, the midfielder was the subject of positive reviews on social media this time.
Hourihane was very good today, purely because he wasn’t pinned on his own box.
That’s what has been the problem.
— Phil Roberts (@iamVilla) February 23, 2019
I have been very critical of Connor Hourihane past few games, but I’m a fair man and I thought he was much better today. He looked a bit sheepish as he walked towards Villa fans at the end but he doesn’t need to be. Villa fans will back him if he puts the effort in.
— Nigel B6 (@B6Nigel) February 23, 2019
I’ve been one of his biggest critics last few weeks, but very pleased for Conor Hourihane today thought he played well!
Glen Whelan for me again villa’s best player
— Jason Ramsay (@ramma157) February 23, 2019
Conor hourihane had a class game today no one gonna mention that pic.twitter.com/5V3DVmwlkn
— Jamie (@jamieavfcvilla) February 23, 2019
Sounds like Hourihane was much improved today, music to my ears ???????? keep it up Conor! #AVFC
— Adz (@AdzW90) February 23, 2019
Hourihane has made 33 Championship appearances this season, scoring and creating 13 goals. He’s made 48 chances and has whipped in more than 140 crosses. He now needs to build on his latest performance and let that be the benchmark.