Dave Woodhall watches Villa’s 2-0 win over Bolton Wanderers.
One of the hardest aspects of watching the Villa during the past God knows how many years has been the difficulty in finding something new to wrote about when you’ve witnessed the same thing many times in succession. There are only so many ways to describe ‘appalling’ and so many insults that can be applied ‘under-achieving waster’.
Before long I hope to have a similar problem, and have to find inventive ways to describe routine wins enlivened by sparking play and outstanding goals. Maybe not yet, but Villa are starting to take the first steps towards something resembling reliability, at least at home.
As with the previous Villa Park match against Swansea we had an early goal, this time from Jack Grealish following a sublime through ball from Tammy Abraham. The on-loan striker put through another couple of chances in an opening ten minutes that hinted at a Friday night spectacular.
Unfortunately he, and the rest of the team, slipped a bit for the next twenty minutes or so, and were grateful that James Chester was on form and Axel Tuanzebe is starting to look an accomplished partner for him.
Just before the hour mark Villa’s two men of the match combined with a free-kick from Grealish headed home by Chester. We could have scored a couple more after that as well as a couple earlier but Jonathan Kodjia in particular is nowhere near the player he once was.
In the end Villa settled for a comfortable 2-0 win. I’d give Chester the man of the match because now only was he assured throughout, but to my mind he as good as scored twice, his first half clearance saving a certain equaliser. Grealish did well, and would have been a lot more effective were it not for a referee who on this showing really shouldn’t be allowed out after dark.
In summing up, Villa are top six going forward. When defending they’re still determined to make life difficult for themselves. None of the back four played poorly tonight, and Neil Taylor deserves praise after coming in for so much criticism lately for the way he got on with the job efficiently and virtually error-free. But as a unit they still seem nervy, which isn’t helped by Orjan Nyland still taking a long time to settle (I’m trying to be optimistic here).
Still, two wins at Villa Park without a goal conceded isn’t a bad way in which to start a managerial career. It is still early days but Villa are now starting to look a more cohesive unit with individual players not afraid to try the unorthodox. it might not always work but when it does, there’ll be plenty to enthuse over.
And to finish, my seat tonight was close to an old bloke definitely in his seventies and maybe older. I have to bow in admiration, because he was possibly the sweariest man I have ever heard. To be able to come out with language like that at his age was a sight to behold, and I hope to be doing it myself should I live that long. Congratulations, good sir.