While we Villa fans can sit pretty on six wins in a row, with another coming yesterday against Sheffield Wednesday (led by former Villa boss - the outspoken Steve Bruce), it wasn’t always this rosy.
The scene was set pretty early on at Hillsborough when Wednesday capitalised on some of Villa’s positional arrogance to take an early lead after an unmarked Gary Hooper tapped in. Villa quickly struck back after Andre Green stole a cross and John McGinn hooked in a deft finish.
Woe hit the maximum limit as Kortney Hause was hauled off with injury before Wednesday won a penalty. Jed Steer stopped up to parry the effort before Villa ran riot in the final 5 minutes of play to bag two scrappy goals.
Six in a row? We’ll take it. Here’s everything else that went down on the day that Villa banished Steve Bruce.
The Manager’s Thoughts
Dean Smith was pretty clear that it wasn’t a great performance and that he should have changed things earlier, but also acknowledged that his lads “don’t know when they are beaten,” which is by all accounts a Good Thing. Smith spoke highly of McGinn’s finish which was earned due to his positioning in the tactical setup as an ‘8’.
As Villa head off to face Rotherham and Bristol, Dean remains grounded and will take it one step at a time and was clear as much - the next goal for Villa? It’s simply to recover from the last match and look forward to the next.
Put football right into your veins because the good guys won today (JED AND ALBERT).
Jed Steer saves a penalty after being fucked off to League 1 by Steve Bruce.— Richard Franks (@richardpfranks) April 6, 2019
Adomah scores a 92nd minute winner after being frozen out by Bruce and almost sold.
Villa away though.
The football world will be upset that Villa beat the good’uns.
Pic of the Game:
Bedlam behind him but Albert is wrapped up in the darnce.
ROLL UP ROLL UP
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: 1.0 (3)
Wednesday: 1.8 (1)
Woof. Wednesday’s numbers are boosted by the penalty, and Villa struck twice late on to pad the stats a little, but both teams were fairly even in terms of the quality of chances made. It won’t matter at all, but that’s a good away performance for Villa on the final scoreline.
Goalscorers: Tammy Abraham sealed the deal, but Albert Adomah and John McGinn scored before Abraham got Villa’s third of the day.
Big winners: Andre Green fought his way back into the good books, Albert Adomah came on to energise the team, Tammy got an away game goal and Axel Tuanzebe didn’t put a foot wrong after returning from injury either. Jed Steer is the biggest winner, after coming back from a relatively shakey performance last time out to stop a penalty this time around.
Big losers: It’d be harsh to define a loser, but Tyrone Mings looks slightly less than immortal after giving away a penalty. Does that count? Jonathan Kodjia came on and missed two chances before giving Villa a lifeline - so that won’t count either. Let’s have a rest for this match.
Best moment: Jed Steer’s penalty stop was great, but there was no better feeling than seeing Albert Adomah tap it in after a Kodjia strike to put Villa into the lead. Marvellous
Worst moment: Seeing Steven Fletcher step up to take his penalty knowing that if he scores, Villa’s promotion hopes are well and truly dented.
Man of the Match: Jed Steer came up with the goods to deny Steven Fletcher from the spot. Villa don’t win this match without him stepping up like that. There’s a lot of moments that built up to winning against Wednesday, but none are bigger that Steer’s stop.
The Play-Off Race
Aston Villa are now riding high in the play-off race and seem to have taken control of it after flipping the script and gatecrashing the top six. Bristol City take on West Brom in midweek before heading to Villa Park on Saturday while Derby face Blackburn and Bolton. Sheffield Wednesday’s play-off hopes look to be dead, and this may now be a three-team-tussle for the two remaining play-off places.
Next up? It’s a trip to Rotherham in midweek to take on the relegation threatened Millers who are fresh off of beating Forest. Let’s see what the Villa can do.