We broke down John McGinn’s recent form for Aston Villa – only to find that he’s playing the best football of his career for the Villans.


Words by Mark Jirobe (@VillaMarkPGH)

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Everyone loves an underdog story. Sometimes, when watching an underdog try to rise above certain roadblocks, statistics are thrown out of the window. Sometimes statistics do not add up, and that’s the beauty of them. Presently at face value, John McGinn looks like the kind of footballer who can walk into any football club in the world and steal a shirt off of someones back. He is as offensively responsible as he is defensively. He has an internal motor that seems to never sputter or start to slow down.

McGinn’s technical prowess cannot be undervalued, either. For almost an entire season now, Aston Villa supporters have been treated to a player who can wiggle himself out of danger, protect the ball while doing so, then pinging a oddly accurate ball forward. When McGinn joined Villa from Scottish side Hibernian, his disciplinary record on the pitch came into question. Very quickly, those fears were quelled and Villa supporters would always trade the occasional yellow card for a player who seems to never give up in any situation.

Footballers are human at the end of the day, and they’re are not unlike the everyday person in the ways they must adapt to different situations. McGinn joining Villa was a definite ‘step up’ for him in his career, seemingly at the perfect time. He is loved at Hibs, only needing justified by the out pour of well wishes and regret from supporters on the day he departed. They wished him well in sadness. That is the true testament of leaving your mark, no matter if it is in football or outside of it. “Villa fans, please take care of John!” was not an uncommon thing to read on social media by plenty of Scottish football fans.

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It’s almost as if they knew the young man had blossomed in his career to a point where he had to leave. McGinn featured 139 times for Hibernian, scoring 17 goals and contributing with 29 assists along the way. No matter which league you’re comparing it to, those are impressive statistics. 

Analysing John McGinn’s form as of late is a bit of a head-scratcher, in reality. Yes, he is very good at the moment. And yes, there will most likely be a dip in form at some point if the laws of being an Aston Villa supporter still ring true. 

But it just does not look like that will happen. 

Aston Villa are riding on the crest of a wave right now. They have won five games in a row, team morale is through the roof and the supporters hearts are in their throats. There is a real sense of belief that this specific Aston Villa team has all of the makings of landing into the Championship Playoffs and even win it. The vibe at Villa Park has completely turned around from a mere seven weeks ago, and McGinn has most definitely had a part to play in the transformation.

Aston Villa won every fixture in March while McGinn finished the month with an average match rating of 8.4 and looks as if he has no intention of slowing down. Average match rating statistics don’t just come to be out of thin air and they’re not determined solely on goals and assists. There are a multitude of variables that go into an average match rating that the average armchair neutral wouldn’t believe. Key passes, interceptions, tackles won, tackles lost, percentage of accurate passes, percentage of wayward passes, the list goes on and on.

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But make no mistake, John McGinn is in the form of his career right now. His best season per goals and assists for Hibernian saw McGinn find the back of the net 4 times and assisting on 9 goals in 2015/2016. This season for Aston Villa, with seven games to go in the regular season, McGinn has 5 goals and 10 assists through 33 games. He is also banging the ball around at a 79.5% pass success rate. He is second only to Jack Grealish (albiet Jack has played far less games) with 1.8 key passes per game.

Since McGinn came into the game as a substitute against Birmingham City on March 10th, he has been an absolute terror on the football pitch, completing exactly 100 accurate passes. The masterclass he showed against Middlesborough and Nottingham Forest in March should be shown to young footballers trying to take the next step in their career paths. It is not a common occurrence that a midfielder has consecutive games with more than a 9.0 match rating. All of these examples and more are indicative of how fearful other teams in the Championship must be of Aston Villa at the moment, and this is only dissecting one players form throughout a five game winning streak.

Other clubs in The Championship are definitely on high alert about Villa and John McGinn now. There can be no question about that.

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