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
    Badger123 March 17, 2019 at 5:17 pm .

    Bill, we have the option to match any fee for Mings.
    Of course, we’d struggle to match any Prem club for wages, but let’s see.

    As for Tammy, that’s all about the money too, but I suspect a lot depends on how happy he is at the club.
    Same with Tuanzebe, I reckon.
    As it stands, we MIGHT reach the Prem and we’d then push the boat out for wages, no problem.

    Nath, I think Smith likes to stick with players until they give him a reason to drop them, which is the right way, imo.
    Agreed that Tuanzebe is the natural choice for the right side though.
    But you’d have to be pretty ruthless to drop anyone atm.

    It’s interesting to think that Hourihane probably would have played instead of Whelan yesterday if he was available.

  2. Avatar
    Bill Pearson March 17, 2019 at 7:19 pm .

    It’s all in the lap of god then Badger, with luck we might get that chance to be back in the premiership and keep our loans, and your right Smith would stick with the winning team, he’ll have the knowledge to use as he see fit imo,

  3. Avatar
    Hitchens60 March 18, 2019 at 7:42 am .

    With 8 games to go having Tuanzebe, Chester and Lansbury back to full fitness gives Smith options and cover for key positions. It also increases competition for places which, we’ve already seen has improved Villa’s team play. Smith has highlighted this particular point and, irrespective of who he selects, I think we’ll see Villa’s intensity on the pitch and all round performance improve even more.

    For instance can anyone see Whelan being dropped for the Blackburn game and who would have thought that a few weeks ago?

    Going to be an exciting few weeks and, given our position in the table, would rather be chasing, on the shoulder of the pack, than nervously looking over our shoulder (like Middlesbrough) at this point in the season,

    1. Avatar
      Pat 57 March 18, 2019 at 12:32 pm .

      Agree Hitch with what you said about rather be chasing the pack. I saw a couple of Boro vlogs (I was looking for a Villa one) and watched them out of curiosity. Boro fans seem to be quite fearful of dropping out of the top six altogether.

      With eight games to go momentum is everything and we’ve got it in shedloads. I’m hoping that the break will help, especially with Tammy, and we come back with plenty of fire in our bellies.

      BTW with regard to the defence I can’t help thinking that JT might be the key to our success there. If you were a young defender like Mings or Hause wouldn’t it be your dream to work with one of the best CBs in English football?

  4. Avatar
    Pat 57 March 20, 2019 at 5:52 pm .

    Seems like our fears for Tammy were unfounded. In fact he might even make the U-21s for their game against Poland.

    Really looking forward to the Blackburn game.

    BTW Villa and the noses both fined £5000 for failing to control their players in the derby game. Not even a slap on the wrist, is it?

    1. Avatar
      Hitchens60 March 21, 2019 at 7:17 am .

      The FA got that totally wrong; in the context of the assault on JG, charging the clubs for something that didn’t even amount to handbags at 50 paces said more about their behaviour than that of the clubs.

  5. Avatar
    Pat 57 March 21, 2019 at 4:25 pm .

    Just watching Scotland playing like headless chickens against Kazakhstan. They’re 3-0 down and McGinn is trying to play them on his own.

    Just hope he doesn’t get himself injured.

    1. Avatar
      Pat 57 March 21, 2019 at 4:35 pm .

      McTominay on for McGinn. Thanks Alex

  6. Avatar
    Big Fat Ron March 21, 2019 at 9:55 pm .

    Does anyone else think it’s a disgrace that Hudson Odoi walks into the England squad after doing next to nothing, while Jack doesn’t get a sniff? Please don’t give me the PL vs Championship excuse; I’m allergic to bullshit…

    1. Avatar
      Pat 57 March 22, 2019 at 10:10 am .

      Like you BFR I’m puzzled at all the hype around Hudson Odoi. Anyone would think he was a young Leo Messi or something. I’ve seen him come on as a sub in a couple of games and can’t see what all the fuss is about.

    2. Avatar
      Bill Pearson March 22, 2019 at 12:23 pm .

      Looks like Southgate holding a grudge against the Villa some swine upset him.

  7. Avatar
    David Buckley March 22, 2019 at 10:41 am .

    Talksport sources say bluenoses scum to be immediately deducted 9 points, not 12!

  8. Avatar
    Bill Pearson March 22, 2019 at 12:27 pm .

    Only nine points David? Got out of it cheaply then .£5000 and that deduction, means nothing in my eyes.

    1. Avatar
      David Buckley March 22, 2019 at 1:37 pm .

      The points deduction is for FFP apparently

  9. Avatar
    Bill Pearson March 22, 2019 at 12:28 pm .

    Off…bloody pre text again.

  10. Avatar
    Pat 57 March 22, 2019 at 2:43 pm .

    So we’re now 16 points above the noses! Sounds just about right to me.

    Although being in a different division would be even better 🙂

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