Some strong performances from key players inspired a 4-0 rout at Villa Park this afternoon.
Words by Regan Foy (@FindFoy)
This afternoon saw the return of Jack Grealish, and him captaining his boyhood club for the first time against Derby County.
Aston Villa showed that they meant business, pushing forward and putting a ball into the box, which was unfortunately overhit, before even half a minute had passed.
Conor Hourihane had the chance to make it 1-0 to the Villa early on as Kortney House played a great ball forward to Anwar El Ghazi, who’s cross found Conor Hourihane. His shot was blocked by veteran Ashley Cole and the ball went out for a corner.
But it was the Irishman who gave the home side the leave in the ninth minute of the game, as Jack Grealish played a well weighted ball over the top to Tammy Abraham, who’s attempted chip was saved – but the ball fell to Connor Hourihane who rounded a defender and slotted into an open goal.
It only took 16 minutes for Jack Grealish to be clattered, as Richard Keogh dived into a reckless challenge against the Villa talisman.
Albert Adomah had a chance to make it two in the 21st but chose to square a ball instead of taking a first time shot. The ball eventually fell to him again, but he curled the ball over the bar.
George Evans was the first player to be put in the book, for a bad challenge on Tammy Abraham – but Conor Hourihane shortly followed him for his protests after the challenge.
Tammy Abraham scored his 21st goal of the season in the 38th minute through a wonderful counter-attack from Aston Villa. Glenn Whelan played a strong ball to Conor Hourihane in the middle of the park, who spotted space on the right for Ahmed Elmohamady to run on to. Elmohamady then played a low ball to the far post, where Abraham was running to slot home.
Conor Hourihane scored his second of the game and the third of the half, as Tammy Abraham won a header, kept the ball and charged towards the Derby box alongside the midfielder. Abraham squared it to Hourihane who finished strongly.
And of course. It was Jack Grealish who scored the fourth. A well practiced corner, straight from the training ground floating towards Grealish at the edge of the Derby box, and sat perfectly for Grealish to strike a curling volley into the top left of the Derby County goal.
The second half saw Harry Wilson come on for Derby County, replacing the booked George Evans to attempt to inspire some kind of come-back for the away side. Ashley Cole was also replaced by Malone.
Ten minutes later, Derby made another substitution, as Bogle replaced Bennett.
Kortney Hause was booked in the 60th minute for a foul on Harry Wilson.
The 63rd minute saw Tommy Elphick over-stretch to reach a wayward pass from Tyrone Mings, and injuring himself in the process – an unfortunate injury after the pair had been working so well together – and he was stretchered off and replaced by Neil Taylor. Kortney Hause moved to centre-back. An unfortunate and innocuous end to the game for the centre-back.
In the 70th, Swansea City loanee Tom Carroll replaced Jack Grealish for his Villa Park debut.
Anwar El Ghazi had the chance to make it five with twelve minutes to, finding himself in acres of space after a Hourihane cross – but the ball was saved by Scott Carson.
Aston Villa’s final substitution of the afternoon saw homegrown Andre Green replace Anwar El Ghazi.
Overall, it was a much quieter half than the first, but the Aston Villa performance was strong throughout.