Aston Villa may have given themselves a late second chance to keep promotion hopes alive this year when it comes to the Play-Offs after everyone’s spirits were lifted by the heavy defeat inflicted on Derby County last Saturday.
A brace of goals from Conor Hourihane, and a much improved overall performance seeing Tammy Abraham and Jack Grealish also get on the scoresheet in the opening 45 minutes, left everyone smiling. Second half, although we couldn’t add to our advantage, the performance was still good and we took a confidence boosting clean sheet.
Whether it’s enough to turn our season around remains to be seen.
The Vital Villa Match Thread was a happy read after that, and forum member McGrath4Pope had a stellar set of player ratings following the game – including a perfect 10 for one man.
Steer: 8 – seems a high score for a keeper who didn’t face a single shot on target but a ‘keeper showing such authority, coming out and taking control is huge for a defence. His commanding performance was vital to the clean sheet and he should stay in the team next week.
Elmo: 8 – solid in defence. Great cross for Tammy’s goal.
Mings: 9 – a colossus. Defends like a warrior and outstanding on the ball. Sign him at all costs.
Elphick: 8 – I’m his biggest critic and still suspect he has no future with us but he was excellent today. Sad to see him pick up a bad injury in what, in my opinion, was his best game for us.
Hause: 8 – looks a good player, equally capable in defence and attack. Would be happy to see him signed on recent showings.
Whelan: 9 – under appreciated for me. Clearly not the future but does what he’s asked well. Absolutely dominated today and floated an inch perfect corner for THAT goal.
Hourihane: 9 – a real ‘marmite’ player who I happen to believe is criminally under-valued by some. The man was outstanding today, hard working, great (forward) passing, 2 goals. Allowed myself a wry smile at those who booed him off against Sheffield Utd roaring his name today.
Grealish: 10!!! I believe that’s the first time I’ve ever given a perfect score but that man was incredible today. Seeing a Villa-supporting manager give the captaincy to a Villa-supporting player was great enough but seeing that lad take the responsibility and raise not only his own game but that of all around him, after three months out, made me genuinely proud. The best player in the league set up the first with wonderful vision and scored the best goal I’ve seen at Villa Park since Paul Scholes volleyed in from a corner against us. He terrorised Derby whether when was attacking or defending. Wonderful.
El Ghazi: 7 – felt he was the only one not ‘at the races’ in the first half. Much more influential in the second.
Adomah: 8 – looked like the confident player from last season, should have done much better with a couple of cut-backs though.
Tammy: 8 – excellent. Hold up play is improving. Should have had at least one more goal.
Taylor: 6 – noticeably weakened our left side after a forced change.
Carroll: 7 – tidy in possession.
Green: 6 – I thought he’d relish the chance to run at Derby’s dire defence but never really seemed to get into the game.
Smith: 10 – full marks. Got everything right from team selection to tactics to bestowing the captaincy onto someone who wouldn’t be an obvious candidate for most.
I’m just so happy with what they delivered today!