As Aston Villa made it five wins in five games, we’re highlighting some of the key talking points from yesterday’s game against Blackburn Rovers.
Words by Harry Trend (@HazaTrand)
Aston Villa made it five wins from five and six games unbeaten against Blackburn Rovers yesterday afternoon at Villa Park, with a number of players providing incredible performances in front of a home crowd approaching 40,000.
The game provided a number of key talking points, which we cover below:
Villa started off the first-half looking like a team well rested from the international break, both mentally and physically. Midfielders were finding pockets of space between the Blackburn lines while Ahmed Elmohamady and even Neil Taylor were bombing from full-back. Villa had much more first-half possession than Rovers too, and after the game Dean Smith said his side “should’ve been further ahead than the one goal ahead at half time.”
Super John McGinn
Talking of players who looked rested from the international break, John McGinn was full of beans despite featuring in Scotland’s defeat to Kazakhstan. As well as the usual work ethic, McGinn displayed his craft too. The 24-year-old helped create Villa’s first, lofting a delicate through ball to Anwar El Ghazi who squared for Tammy Abraham. The Scotsman hit the post soon after before getting the vital assist for Tyrone Mings’ header late on. Is there anything McGinn can’t do!?
Former players at Villa Park
Juan Pablo Angel and Martin Laursen came entered the pitch at half-time to a rousing reception. It just shows how highly the Villa faithful, who were vocal all game, appreciate past heroes – one of the many reasons to why we’re such an attractive club to sign for. Also in attendance was England manager Gareth Southgate, with the former defender possibly looking at Jack Grealish. Grealish had a steady game in the midfield three and didn’t do his chances of being picked for The Three Lions any harm.
With Villa having such a successful March, it’s hard to pick out many negatives from our performances. However, Jed Steer’s parry from Charlie Mulgrew’s free-kick which allowed Amari’i Bell to score was suspect. To be fair to Steer, his distribution has been good and he has been unlucky with some of the goals he’s conceded since coming in for Lovre Kalinic. However, the former Norwich goalkeeper must not let moments like these recur if he wants to be part of Smith’s long-term plans.
Transferring March’s form into April
Aston Villa’s aggregate score in March reads 13-2. Nevertheless, the Pride must grab the month of April by the horns if they want to sustain their play-off charge. Next up its Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough. Since Steve Bruce has taken over, the Owls haven’t been beaten in the league, so it promises to be a tough test for Smith’s men.