Villa 3 – 0 Boro; All very comfortable and we go 6TH!

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.


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  1. Avatar
    Bill Pearson March 16, 2019 at 7:28 pm .

    Good luck to you and your new baby Conor, mine 59 this year, boy almost got arrested looking for a phone box that worked in the early hours off the morning, now that what stress was for me.

  2. Avatar
    Holte66 March 16, 2019 at 7:53 pm .

    Congratulations to Connor and his partner. A really good day all round. Pity we have an international break although every game should be treated as a cup final now. Derby and Bristol City have games in hand but that will make their run in more congested and will have an affect. The teams that worry me most are Preston and Sheffield Wednesday.

    1. Avatar
      Hitchens60 March 16, 2019 at 10:03 pm .

      Agree Holte – just like Villa to have Bruce pip us to the play offs and then win the sodding thing 🙂

  3. Avatar
    Pat 57 March 17, 2019 at 12:31 pm .

    Was that our best eleven on Saturday? On paper I wouldn’t have thought so but they certainly played like it.

    With Tuanzebe and others coming back Smith will have a selection headache. For me I wouldn’t muck about with the defence for now, they’re just playing too well.

    1. Avatar
      Badger123 March 17, 2019 at 1:47 pm .

      I’m certainly a believer in not changing a winning team, but I wonder if moving Hause to LB, with Mings and Tuanzebe in the middle might strengthen us even more?
      Or maybe even just the 3 at the back against the “lesser” teams?
      You’re right, it’s going to be a headache for Smith and I agree, I don’t think I’d mess with it.

      1. Avatar
        Pat 57 March 17, 2019 at 2:44 pm .

        Yes I could certainly understand Hause replacing Taylor. We’d then have two CBs who can both pass the ball forward.

        Considering how ramshackle the defence was earlier on in the season it’s a nice situation to be in.

  4. Avatar
    Badger123 March 17, 2019 at 2:25 pm .

    It’s been confirmed that Jordan Lyden will be released at the end of the season.

  5. Avatar
    Bill Pearson March 17, 2019 at 3:19 pm .

    I’m with you Badger, changing team ? I’m not so sure as Taylor played his part over that last 3 games, even though we have two likely player in Chester,and Tuanzebe it might throw that back five. Big head ache for Smith and he would know what’s what on the day. I’m more worried about holding on to our loan players after 8 more matches to go.

  6. Avatar
    nath March 17, 2019 at 4:29 pm .

    the conundrum of which defenders will play when all fit is a nice problem for the manager. he knows who he prefers now. if i was to second guess him i think chester may not be first choice anymore. this might make me more unpopular lol like i care. to me smith likes a centre back to be able to play out and chester needs help in that department and that means a midfielder dropping back to help him out, chester is the best out and out defender, he still has this going for him.

    tuanzebe certainly has a better chance off claiming the right side of the central pair. that means breaking up hause and mings which will be controversial. taylor also has been very good in this mini revival. he and elmo both seem to have finally got their roles sorted, both have been solid defensively and added to our attacking play aswell

    these problems are great problems to have, but that said who would want to make them and hand out the bad news of who misses out

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