Well, that was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be.
As soon as we got the first, I knew it was all over, as Pulis doesn’t have a plan B and even if he did, I don’t think his players would be able to implement it, they’re so drilled into playing defensively.
While I think Middlesbrough offered very little, our players had to play their part and they did to such an extent that Dean Smith must have been absolutely delighted. I doubt the manager could have wished things to go any better than they did today.
I’m sure I’ll be saying for a while that I find it difficult to see that Grealish coming back has made such a difference, but the facts are undeniable. We’ve now taken 16 points from 16 since he came back, after an awful five previous games where he was missing.
I’m tempted to think it’s a confidence thing among our side, but it has to be more than that.
The work rate is excellent and we’re actually moving and looking for the ball.
Grealish and McGinn seem to be developing a really good understanding too, as they combined for quite a few one-twos during the game.
On AVTV, the comms were talking about how it was difficult to choose a man of the match.
I had exactly the same problem.
Steer, while he had little to do, was decisive and distributed the ball well.
Taylor. I still think we need to improve LB, but he was hard to fault today and did his defensive role well.
Elmohamady, I thought was excellent and the best I can recall from him for a while.
Hause, got caught out on one occasion, but was all-round solid.
Mings, An absolute powerhouse who did really well in the air. Looks very cool when playing out, too.
Whelan was outstanding, I thought. Passed quickly and accurately.
McGinn played his usual self. Excellent.
Green, a quite game, but by no means poor.
El Ghazi, was that his best game in a Villa shirt? Ran his socks off this time.
Grealish, caused all sorts of problems, as usual.
Abraham, worked his guts out and was unlucky to not score.
Heck, I didn’t see much wrong with the subs either.
If you twist my arm, I think I’m going to give it to Whelan, as the way he anchored the game and passed the ball impressed me.
Which, while I’m wondering what’s happened to Hourihane today, also leaves me wondering where he stands?
It’s hard to see Smith dropping Whelan to bring Hourihane back in.
So if you consider the whole team played really, really well, does that mean we were very good, or Boro were just plain poor?
Well, the cautious side of me always tends to think that the opposition were just poor.
But at the moment I don’t think it’s that.
We’re actually a very good side, who are going on a run at exactly the right time.
I’ve seen talk about how some of us would be worried about meeting the likes of Sheffield Utd in the play-offs.
Do you know something?
As it stands at the minute, I’d take us to beat anyone in this league.
It’s sod’s law that we now go into another international break.
But it’s Blackburn at home next and I’d expect our run to continue.
If I was our future opposition, I really wouldn’t fancy facing us.