Date: 18th March 2019 at 7:00am
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Aston Villa registered their fourth win on the spin in Saturday’s Championship clash with fellow promotion hopefuls Middlesbrough.

It was another meeting with the notorious Tony Pulis given his obsession with us and a fantastic performance, backed up by goals from Anwar El Ghazi, John McGinn and Albert Adomah left him even more sour-faced than usual at the fulltime whistle.

Vital Villa member (Boro Forum Thread) McGrath4Pope gives us his thoughts on the performance and the all important player ratings as we push ourselves back into the Play-Off spots at the top end of the table.

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Well, wasn’t that just a pleasure this afternoon!

Fourth win on the bounce and the fourth 90 minute performance on the spin also. Against Blues we made sure we competed throughout but today was like the Derby and Forest games – we were in full control throughout. It’s a pleasure to watch us at the moment – regardless of whether we make it to the playoffs I’d much prefer that than the Pulis play-for-a-draw anti-football every time! It was fantastic to see us winning and playing to increase the winning margin rather than settle.

Ratings:

Steer: 7 – once again a high rating for a keeper who had nothing to do BUT everything he needs to do he does well. Commands the box, wins punches, comes out when required – deserves huge credit for our defensive improvement.
Elmo: 7 – solid, supported the attack well.
Hause: 8 – couple of shaky moments where he conceded possession cheaply. More than made up for by his general dominance.
Mings: 9 – a colossus again. Outstanding defensively and outstanding with the ball at his feet. I don’t say this lightly, but he could be our new Laureen/Southgate/McGrath(?!) Sign at all costs.
Taylor: 7 Solid.
Whelan: 9 – outstanding. Always felt he’s undervalued but that was by far and away his best game for us. Won everything, superb passing – the Irish Pirlo! MOTM.
McGinn: 9 – outstanding also and only narrowly pipped to MOTM by Whelan for me. Pure energy, desire and class. The way he turns and holds off players is a joy to watch.
Grealish: 8 – not as influential as recent games but still drags the opposition all over the shop (to the benefit of his midfield colleagues) and finds time to play killer passes all game.
Green: 7 – did ok, nearly scored him 6 but got the extra point as his endeavour led to the first goal (despite his initial lack of control costing us the throw in) and he worked like a trooper all match. Just a shame things tend to fall apart once the ball lands at his feet.
El Ghazi: 8 – best I’ve seen him live. If you could get this out of him every week we’d have some player on our hands.
Tammy: 7 – worked hard but nothing really came off. Almost too keen to score when he could’ve set up our third earlier in the second half.

Subs:

Adomah: 7 – worked hard, nice to see him score.
Kodjia: 6 – poor touches, wasted a chance he would’ve buried two years ago, looks like the injuries have taken a toll that he won’t recover from.
Davis: 7 – lively.

Smith: 9 – had ‘Boro in the palm of his hand. They had no answer to how we played and we never relented, even after taking the lead. Worth giving credit also for how we utilised short corners/free-kicks rather than playing into Pulis’ hands. I’m not usually a fan of a short set-piece, but we’d clearly worked on them and had a plan rather than just playing short for the sake of it – i.e. we didn’t just play short because we didn’t fancy the aerial battle with no real plan, we’d clearly worked on set pieces to exploit a typical Pulis team of giants.

Delighted.

 
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