Aston Villa Ten Wins in a Row Secure Play-Off Place

 

We detail every win of Aston Villa’s incredible ten game winning streak that has seen the side win every game of competitive football in the last 59 days.

 

Words by Mark Jirobe (@VillaMarkPGH)

It’s been 59 days since Aston Villa played a competitive game of football and didn’t win. 

That incredulous amount of time counts for 16.16% of the entire year. 

We have all now witnessed what can change in 59 days at a football club. In 59 days, you can go from the outside of the play-offs looking in, to being launched in the thick of it and looking like a team that’s feared league-wide. 

Jack Grealish’s return from injury on March 2nd sparked something inside of Aston Villa. Derby County were dispatched 4-0 before the stroke of half-time. Villa came into the game against Derby without winning in five previous fixtures. Conor Hourihane would open the scoring and end the game with two goals to his name and a Man Of The Match performance. Tammy Abraham also made good of a cross from Ahmed Elmohamady to find the back of the net. And then Aston Villa’s talisman Jack Grealish scored a Goal Of The Season worthy screamer before the stroke of half-time. It was a solid win for Aston Villa, for as much as they seemed to be really struggling during this time and found themselves 10th on the Championship table. 

The next game against Birmingham City was not without it’s football drama courtesy of Jack Grealish, as well. Villa would go on to defeat Birmingham City at St. Andrews 1-0, but it was how the teams arrived at that scoreline that will always be remembered. Jack Grealish was attacked on the pitch by a Birmingham City supporter in the contest, but kept a cool head to fire Aston Villa ahead in the 67th minute. Grealish gained a yellow card after jumping into the travelling Villa supporters behind the goal of Birmingham City ‘keeper Lee Camp, but he seemed not to mind. His goal will be remembered for years to come and was a true definition of poetic justice brought to life. 

Image result for jack grealish v birmingham city

Villa would concede early against Nottingham Forest in the next game. Jack Colback put Forest ahead in just the 3rd minute from an assist by Joe Lolley. Dean Smith’s Aston Villa did not let their heads drop at The City Ground, but none more than John McGinn. The Scot would put on a midfield masterclass against Forest, scoring in the 7th and 15th minute to make the Aston Villa comeback complete. Kortney Hause would add to the lead in the 61st minute, but all praises would go to McGinn. A Man Of The Match performance saw Aston Villa’s Number 7 finish with a 9.79 match rating. 

A second consecutive Man Of The Match outing was on the cards for John McGinn against Middlesbrough. An error on a throw-in by Boro allowed McGinn to slot a beautiful ball to Anwar El Ghazi to give Villa the lead on 28 minutes. Facing such a staunch Boro defence, Villa looked to surprise their opposition with pace and counter-attacks. It came up spades as McGinn flashed a ball into the back of the Middlesbrough net in the 44th minute after beautiful link-up play from Tammy Abraham and John McGinn. A third goal from Albert Adomah would solidify all three points for Villa, who found themselves four on the spin for the first time this season. 

Villa were back home to face off against Blackburn Rovers, finding themselves 6th on the table after their then-recent uptick in form. Tammy Abraham would open the scoring with his 22nd league goal of the season in the 8th minute, in a game that would prove to be a gritty affair. Blackburn would commit 15 fouls throughout, but the Villa players seemed to be undeterred. Tyrone Mings, who was quickly becoming a fan favourite at Aston Villa, headed in an insurance goal in the 61st minute. Late drama from Blackburn saw Amari’i Bell find the back of the net in the 74th minute, but the defence of Villa were able to see the game through. The squad in Claret & Blue had a twinkle in their eye at the full-time whistle, and there was a feeling in the air at Villa Park that something special could be happening after winning five games in a row. The team seemed to operate as one, a unit, a collective. It was blatant on and off the pitch. Supporters who were throwing the season out of the window mere weeks ago were now going back into the garden to retrieve it. If those Villans only knew what was in store.

Every Villa supporter knew that Sheffield Wednesday was next at this juncture of the season. Former Villa boss Steve Bruce was now the head coach of Wednesday, and Villa supporters were frothing at the mouth to get one over on him. Wednesday were doing rather well with Steve Bruce at the helm, and he saw his team go up 1-0 by a Gary Cooper goal against the run of play nine minutes into the contest. Dean Smith’s men kept at it and were rewarded in the 22nd minute. Tyrone Mings sprayed a almost unbelievable ball to Andre Green which looked like it was going out of play for a goal kick. Green hunted the ball down and pulled off a cross to a waiting John McGinn. It looked as though the game was destined for a draw until Albert Adomah pounced on a rebound produced from Jonathan Kodjia in the 92nd minute to give Aston Villa the lead. Tammy Abraham would also score in stoppage time. Heartbreak so late into the game for Steve Bruce saw his side lose for the first time since he was appointed Wednesday manager. Villa supporters rejoiced. 

Image result for tammy abraham v sheffield wednesday

A mere four days later, Villa would play a suffering Rotherham side. Many Villa supporters felt that this game had ‘banana peel’ written all over it, and for obvious reasons. Jack Grealish won a penalty for Villa in the 10th minute, but Tammy Abraham was unable to convert from the penalty spot. Tyrone Mings was shown his second yellow card in the 34th minute and conceded a penalty. Will Vaulks would convert his penalty kick, and Rotherham would take a 1-0 lead. This forced Dean Smith to use substitutes to change his tactic now that his team was down to ten men. Rotherham would concede a penalty of their own three minutes into the second half after a Semi Ajayi handball in the penalty area. Jonathan Kodjia blasted the ball in the back of the net and Villa looked very relieved to be back on level terms with time to spare. Villa would execute a stunning team move a mere three minutes later with Jack Grealish at the start and finish of it. The exquisite goal was followed by a real team effort by the ten-men Aston Villa, and they would secure the win for a 7th consecutive victory. It was a statement game by Aston Villa and they showed that they could find a way to win under unfortunate circumstances; a mark of a dangerous team. 

Villa were now looking to pick up as many points as possible but they knew they would have to also take points away from fellow play-off contenders. Bristol City was the next opponent for Aston Villa and had a game in hand so close to the end of the season. To make things more difficult, captain Jack Grealish was unavailable for Aston Villa due to illness. A result against Bristol City would be vital for Villa, and the squad came through when it mattered most. Bristol City goalkeeper Max O’Leary had a blinder of a game, denying Aston Villa on more than a few occasions. Conor Hourihane would draw a penalty in the penalty area in the 55th minute, and Tammy Abraham would redeem himself for his miss against Rotherham. Hourihane would find the back of the net himself in the 65th minute for Villa, after having multiple shots avoid the net. Anwar El Ghazi stole the show with 8 key passes, an assist and a 8.44 match rating. Bristol City found a small bit of hope through a Famara Diedhiou goal in the 74th minute, but Villa showed experience and willingness to see the game out in their favour. 

Image result for conor hourihane v bristol city

Villa travelled to the Macron Stadium to face financially strapped Bolton Wanderers in search of a club-record 9 wins in a row. The travelling Aston Villa supporters were in full voice per usual, but this day had a little something extra on it. You could feel that the supporters wanted to witness history being made, and the Aston Villa squad were happy to oblige. Jack Grealish found the back of the net via a cross from none other than Tammy Abraham two minutes into the second half. Grealish would then assist an Abraham goal in the 57th minute to give Villa a firm 2-0 lead and an official nine games won in the bounce

Aston Villa went on to successfully best Millwall 1-0 to win 10 games in a row, the longest winning streak in the Club’s history. It wasn’t the most exquisite performance of their historic run of games, but at this time of the year, you’ll take three points in any way that you can get them. There have been a few contests almost mirroring the Millwall game during the unbeaten spell, but Villa are proving they can win games in various ways. A lone Jonathan Kodjia goal won it for Aston Villa, with Anwar El Ghazi having another great day on the pitch at Villa Park. 

A short time after the Millwall victory, it was announced that Aston Villa have punched their ticket into the Championship Play-offs for a second year in a row. The grit and determination on display from every single player at Aston Villa has been otherworldly. Villa manager Dean Smith must be very proud of this group, what they have accomplished to this point, and what the future holds. There are still two games left of the regular season to be played for Aston Villa, and they’re not lesser opponents by any stretch. Leeds and Norwich will prove to be very tough opponents for the Villans before the play-offs begin. Dean Smith will be forced to make a decision or two regarding player selection, fitness and tactics. 

It has been a very wild ride for Aston Villa, but it is not over yet. 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.