Season 2021/2022, Villa managed by Gerrard, exactly what the doctor ordered!

What most of us Villa fans would have happily accepted was a shutout that stopped the losing streak at five – even a 0-0 shutout.  Instead, Ollie Watkins lifted the roof off Villa Park and sent our new “gaffer” into an animated response that said it all – we achieved lift-off!  See how: Watkins goal

For eighty minutes, our Villans had played a disciplined game and, thanks to a well-organized 4-3-3 formation, and steely determination, had limited Brighton to just two shots on goal that Martinez handled confidently.

What we lacked was commitment going forward and we, also, had only counted two shots on goal, headers by Cash and Mings.  That started to change with the introduction of Bailey for Ings, Young for Buendia, and El Ghazi for Ramsey.  BHA also brought on three substitutes, suggesting that they also thought a win was there for the taking.  In fact, the visitors had more reason for confidence as they were dominating possession.

Such is soccer, that when you least expect it, lightning strikes.  With Brighton pressing, Nakamba seized possession in our penalty area and found Ashley Young breaking forward.  The sprightly 36-year-old carried the ball 30 yards before feeding Ollie Watkins who had found space down the inside-left channel, a fresh El Ghazi to his right.  With Duffy backing up and Bissouma catching up, El Ghazi cut across to the left, giving the defenders something else to worry about.  As our striker reached the penalty area he turned sharply to his right, behind Bissouma and beyond Dunk, who had cut across to cover, and as soon as he could see the far post, Ollie hit a magnificent, powerful, curling shot well wide of the diving goalie and into the upper corner of the net after 84 minutes.  Alleluia!

After the melt-down against Wolves, that was not enough to celebrate.  Thankfully this rejuvenated Villa did not take their foot off the gas and were rewarded with another exciting goal as Tyrone Mings smashed home a loose ball after a passage of play that reflects what we expect of a Gerrard team: total commitment and clinical finishing. Aston Villa 2, Brighton 0after 89 minutes. 

While beating a well-managed team with few stars like Brighton does not appear that significant, the contrast between the play on Saturday compared to most performances this season was dramatic.

Our Villans will continue to improve as our quality players begin to play to their potential.  Expect much improved Douglas Luiz, Danny Ings, Emi Buendia, and Leon Bailey performances.  At their best, each can be world class.

Improving upon our 11th position of last year should not be a problem though we cannot afford to let our focus slip.  When we faced Crystal Palace last year at Selhurst Park, we led them 2-1, only to allow them to come back and beat us 3-2. 

We have turned last season’s loss at home to Brighton into a win and we can achieve a similar reversal against Palace, but it won’t be easy.

UTV.

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