What a game! For those of you who were unable to watch the best game hosted at Villa Park since the FA Cup win over West Brom two years ago, you missed out on a spectacular display of attacking football, full blooded commitment, young starlets and thumping headers. For those of you who did watch the match… well, my guess is that you owe a debt of gratitude to Sir Darren Woodley. Here are 5 Things We Learned as Villa picked up their first win of the 2017/18 campaign.
Villa have resigned Benteke.
Okay, maybe this one isn’t exactly true (clickbait), but watching Keinan Davis play today was very much like watching a younger, faster and hungrier version of the Belgian beast. His hold up play was actually more reminiscent of Romelu Lukaku, the £70,000,000 Manchester United man, and his turning, passing and vision were of an unprecedented calibre in a Villa shirt this season. He had some great opportunities to grab a goal, too, but Norwich goalkeeper Angus Gunn was quick off his line on both occasions to deny the teenager. He did pop up with the first assist though, leaving two Norwich defenders back in East Anglia before putting the ball on a plate for hat-trick hero Conor Hourihane. Top marks, Mr Davis.
Conor Hourihane is back in business.
After a slow start to his Villa career, Conor Hourihane grabbed his first senior hat-trick today as he became the Championship’s top scorer with 4 goals. It could have been 6 goals, too – the Irishman slotted narrowly wide inside the first 20 minutes, and had a last-minute effort cleared off of the line after a great run from Bree. The goals that he did score though- the tap in after great work from Davis, the 25 yard howitzer that took a deflection which made it 3-1, and the beautifully placed finish into the bottom corner from the edge of the area – were all of very high quality, and the former Barnsley captain is lighting up the Championship once more.
Andre Green doesn’t do tap ins.
I’ll come onto the stunner in a minute, but first of all we have to look at the fact that yet again the #19 has missed a glorious chance from 6 yards out – heading the ball straight into the arms of the goalkeeper with the goal gaping. The goal that he did score, however, was pure quality – cutting inside from the left wing and bending the ball into the top right hand corner to make it 2-0 on 42 minutes, to score his first senior goal for Villa. Other than that, Green had a decent game, helping Taylor defensively and working hard on the wing.
Alan Hutton left his legs back in Scotland.
… that is how it has seemed this season, anyway. In every single match he has been ripped to pieces since the campaign got underway, and today was no exception. James Bree did a much better job of handling Josh Murphy when the Englishman was brought on, and we have to wonder if this is the beginning of the end for the veteran Right Back.
Bruce got it right.
A lot of the fans were questioning Steve Bruce’s future at the club after Villa took just 1 of 9 potential points in the first three games – but the former Hull City manager got it right today, with an energetic team selection to attack the Canaries, and the right substitutions at the right times to ensure that we saw the game out.
He did well, didn’t he?