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Villa Post-Mortem: Super Jack Grealish punishes Cardiff

All the highlights as Villa beat Cardiff thanks to a majestic Grealish finish

Aston Villa v Cardiff City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

I’m still not quite sure how Aston Villa pulled that one off yesterday, but here we are. Injuries wrote off Birkir Bjarnason and John Terry from the lineup, and a patchwork Villa managed to get it done against one of the league’s scarier teams. A Cardiff side that can’t pass, can’t hold onto the ball, but will score goals in spades against you.

The match fell to the side instantly, for brutish shoves and thuggish long balls from both teams that never found their mark. After Villa succumbed to a world-class finish against Norwich thanks to Josh Murphy, Jack Grealish was all too happy to one up that effort.

Grealish’s goal came late on and seemed to stun Cardiff. It seemed to stun everyone. The ball hang in the air for an eternity before dropping onto Grealish’s boot and then spinning into the net after bouncing off the post. Glorious in every single sense of the word. A royal finish, in the view of the attending Prince William.

While Villa seem a lock for the play-offs, at the very least they are asking questions of the automatic promotion spot. Questions that need to be answered, and will be by the close of the season.

Aston Villa now must turn everything up quickly, as they take on Leeds United in a game on Friday that could mean everything to their hopes and dreams this season.

We shall see.

Here’s more from yesterday’s game. It’s worth reading about.

Match Thread

A big shout out to those who filled our open thread with comments - Phil Vogel, George Templeton, RusevsStarfish and JSReed. We see you. And we hear you! UTV!

Match Reports

7500 To Holte

BBC

Sky Sports

The Guardian

Aston Villa FC

Highlights

xG

Expected goals can tell us a fair bit about a match. Here’s an explainer. In the long term we can judge how well a team is doing in front of goal. On a match-by-match basis, we can simply judge chances, and how well they are taken.

Villa: 0.83 (1)

Cardiff: 0.95 (0)

Data provided by Infogol

Villa certainly took their chance, but a lot has to be said about Sam Johnstone’s double-save in the face of goal. An even match, decided by two moments of excellence.

The Match

Goalscorers: Jack Grealish smashed in a stonker for Villa. It will have you on your feet.

Big winners: Lewis Grabban and Jonathan Kodjia combined well, but James Bree seemed to make the left-back slot his own, despite a few errors.

Big losers: Birkir Bjarnason will be gutted to miss out through injury, but hell - Neil Taylor shouldn’t be Villa’s first-choice left-back for a while now.

Best moment: Do you have to ask?

Worst moment: Neil Warnock bursting into rage at the sign of the referee.

Man of the Match: Sam Johnstone. Talk about Grealish’s goal all you want, but Big Save Sam came up with the goods. He saved the game for us.