The first half could not have gone much better for Aston Villa in their 2016-17 home debut against Rotherham United. In the early going, Aly Cissokho was able to whip in a shot that got nicely saved by Lee Camp, but that was only the start. From there, shots came pouring in from Cissokho, Ross McCormack, and the hero of the half, Rudy Gestede.
Gestede was able to score a brace, but by all accounts could have had four. In the 20th minute, he managed to put his head on the end of a Cissokho header for Aston Villa’s first goal and a 1-0 lead. Then, he was unable to connect on a cross from Leandro Bacuna and missed another opportunity that could have had his hat trick sewn up. There was an air of inevitability about the missed opportunities and it seemed like Villa was going to go into the half without scoring again and open for another collapse.
But in the 4th minute of first-half stoppage time, Gestede was able to finish a nice team move that saw McCormack send the ball into Jordan Ayew, who used a deft touch to set up the strike. Gestede slotted it in easily and did a cartwheel backflip in celebration.
You read all of this right, by the way. Rudy Gestede led the attack, and Aly Cissokho and Leandro Bacuna were important. Everything seemed to be clicking for Villa and when the second half started, it all continued. The goals didn’t come (though Gestede just missed his hat-trick in the 52nd, and Jack Grealish couldn’t finish a 1v1 with the keeper), but Rotherham had no answer for Villa’s dominance.
The final nail in the coffin came when Jack Grealish took a flick on from Gestede in the 84th minute and converted his second 1v1 with the keeper for the day. The Holte End went wild as our favorite youngster scored in front of them, and Jack just sprinted over to return the love:
Jack scores. Runs straight to crowd. Love. pic.twitter.com/gERiwmRp2d— James Rushton (@Jamorushton) August 13, 2016
In other news, the 74th minute saw the introduction of Adama Traoré, who came on for Jordan Ayew. The radio commentators said that Ayew copped a bit of an attitude when he was asked to come off, which is a bit worrying. Between that, his dumb foul against Luton Town on Wednesday, and a few other things we’ve seen, Ayew seems to have a bit of an attitude problem. Given that he will be such a key for Villa this year, that’s something that needs to be taken care of.
By all accounts, this is a match in which Villa could have have seven or eight goals, but it won’t do for us to get greedy. We got three, we got them at home, and we got a convincing win. It’s about time! Here’s hoping the confidence carries into Tuesday’s match against Huddersfield.