Aston Villa got there in the end against Wigan, and we managed to learn a few things from the game.
Words by Harry Trend (@HazaTrand)
Birkir Bjarnason’s injury time winner made it two wins from two as Aston Villa overcame a resilient Wigan side. Here’s five talking points from the game;
John McGinn an upgrade on Conor Hourihane?
Villa had three debutants against the Latics, but of the three it was the Scot who stood out. McGinn played a deliciously floated ball allowing James Chester to head home for our first, and almost scored later in the first 45 when he tested Christian Walton with a long-range effort. He didn’t really put a foot wrong with his driving runs through the midfield and pinpoint set-pieces (one which led to our second), but he added to that with tenacity and a willingness to chase down lost causes too.
Nyland has a shaky start
It’s a shame Jed Steer was shafted so suddenly with the incomings of Andre Moreira and Orjan Nyland, and the latter didn’t have the best of starts in a Villa shirt today. The Norwegian international couldn’t do much for Nick Powell’s goal, but most of his kicks were either too long or flew out of play. There a one shaky moment too when he lost the flight of the ball completely after Reece James’ cross was headed up in the air, and thankfully it didn’t cost us. Nyland will have better games at Villa Park for sure.
Jedinak continues to prove he is not a centre-back
Remember when Villa drew 2-2 with Sheffield United last December and Mile Jedinak, who was playing at centre-back at the time, made an error which allowed Clayton Donaldson through and cost us a goal? Well today Nick Powell was the lucky recipient of a Jedinak blunder, pouncing on the Aussie’s under hit back pass to get Wigan’s first of the game. Déjà vu much? Jedinak is a good Championship footballer, but that’s in defensive midfield. Bruce should steer clear of deploying him at centre-back at all costs, especially with Tommy Elphick on the bench.
Not Kodjia’s day
It turned out to be another frustrating day for Johnathan Kodjia, who still doesn’t look fully fit. The Ivorian had chances; one when he turned a defender inside out then inside again prior to seeing his shot blocked, and a header from McGinn’s cross which he couldn’t keep down, but Aston Villa’s top scorer in 2016-17 couldn’t find that elusive goal. Birkir Bjarnason’s quick free-kick where the Icelander played it one side of the defender, and Kodjia jinked the other, resulting in the ball rolling through to Christian Walton, summed his day up. A goal for the big man would do a lot for his confidence.
A good start can get better
Both wins haven’t been pretty (barring Alan Hutton’s goal of course!), but last season it took Villa until mid-September to get two Championship wins on the board. Swansea City are the only other team with a 100% record so far, and the Pride will look to continue their good league form with games against Ipswich, the dreaded Brentford and Reading coming up later this month. Seven points from those three ties and Aston Villa will be making a real statement.