A matter of routine for Villa

Aston Villa beat Middlesbrough 3-0 and Dave Woodhall is feeling pleased.

There’s been a lot to talk about this season – ten-goal thrillers, controversial equalisers, magnificent away performances and also a fair bit of Worst Performance Evers. One thing that the Villa haven’t done much of is routine wins but we came as close as we could get with Saturday’s performance against Middlesbrough.

Score reasonably early, kill the game off with another goal before half-time, coast through the second half then make doubly sure with a third towards the end. Ruthless efficiency is another way of putting it. We’ve seen quiet a bit of that over the years, although lately most of it was by the opposition. It’s nice to see it happening the right way round for a change.

As is usually the way when Villa are doing well the first goal was a long way from being the first chance. John McGinn picked out Anwar El Ghazi with an inch-perfect ball, the winger timing his run on the blindside of the Boro defence perfectly to to put Villa one up. McGinn then came bursting powerfully from midfield to pick up the ball and score from the edge of the area. It’s been a long time since we had a central midfielder who can do that, and the best of the lot also played in a 3-0 win at home to Middlesbrough although the rain was a lot worse on that day.

It’s often said that a two goal lead is the most difficult to defend, although anyone who does say that has probably never seen a Tony Pulis side in action. Boro seemed as though they’d be happy if the score at half-time was the same at the final whistle.

Villa did their best to make sure that would happen, missing more than a few opportunities to improve the goal difference, until a Keinan Davis shot was spilled by the keeper for Albert Adomah to tap in the third with a couple of minutes left.

It might have seemed a routine win, but it was also against a team that were looking at automatic promotion a month ago and although they’ve slipped since then they were still capable of getting a result. Instead, Villa put in what might have been the best home display of the season, and although the bigger names might get the headlines, the past couple of weeks have seen Glenn Whelan putting in a couple of the best performances of his Villa career and I don’t really have to highlight Tyrone Mings – saying “same as usual” is enough.

Three points and somehow, Villa have climbed into the top six. Other clubs have games in hand but Villa are the form team. I’d say that we’ve sneaked up unnoticed, but this season it’s impossible not to notice anything the Villa have done. It’s been a horrible few days off the pitch so let’s think about the football, because going into the international break there’s more than enough there to be going on with.

One thought on “A matter of routine for Villa

  1. Saturday’s game was interesting in another respect – the results this week mean that we can now be looking forward as we stride purposefully into a play-off place at the ‘business end of the season’ having just dispatched the side in the place directly above us.
    I might be tempting fate, but after a long and often painful campaign, to have nabbed a play-off place at this stage with a couple of fixtures left against rivals for that berth, in the form that we’re in and with the squad at our disposal, it looks like it is in our hands to make the play-off.
    Looking at ‘Boro – their recent form and the 2 matches against us – i would even go as far as to say that getting a coveted 5th spot is not above us!
    Finishing 5th or 6th will make a big difference – it looks extremely unlikely that anyone other than a Yorkshire club will finish third, and the Blades have already comprehensively outplayed us twice this season.
    Wether their self-belief would be so imperious in a one-off on the big-stage at Wembley, or wether recent momentum as Fulham showed last year, counts for far more…. whatever, but we’d all see a Villa versus Leeds or Sheff. Utd as effectively a 50-50…. but to get either over 2 legs in the first knock-out phase and i’d be a damn sight less confident….!
    Getting ahead of ourselves before the winter is out….? Well, maybe, but that’s the human condition of football fans, looking at fixtures and performing perplexing calculations and scenarios….
    Above all, isn’t is nice to finally be dreaming after a frustrating season which even a couple of weeks back, threatened to fizzle out into nothingness….?

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