In the first half, with passages of slick one and two-touch football, it looked like Aston Villa were going to blow another team away, although Blackburn Rovers did show signs of life to suggest it wouldn’t all be one-way traffic.
Despite having a goal chalked off for off-side on the stroke of half-time, Villa, after Tammy Abraham’s opener, were looking good 1-0 up at half-time. When Tyrone Mings rose to head home to make it 2-0, it seemed Villa were on their way to a routine win.
When Blackburn pulled one back though, Villa seemed to forget the concept of game management and were giving away the ball far too cheaply. In the closing minutes, instead of running down the clock by taking it down to the corner flag, players would cut in and run into traffic. In the end, it took a grand run from the right wing to the left by John McGinn to show his teammates how it should be done, when he also won a corner, after taking a good few seconds off the clock.
Villa got there in the end and the vital three points were bagged, as they now eye wins in back-to-back away encounters.
Until then, here’s five reasons to be cheerful as Villans…
Obvious point – but five wins in a row is just the tonic going into a vital month of April. The two key games in April will be against ex-boss Steve Bruce’s Sheffield Wednesday and the home tie vs Bristol City.
After the 2-1 win over Blackburn coupled with Preston and Sheffield United’s losses, now only Norwich City, who have won their last six games, are above Villa in the form table (based on the last six games). Villa are in second place with five wins and a draw, with 16 points.
Currently there are three teams hovering under Villa with games in hand, which if they got a win they’d move above Villa.
The good news is that two of those teams go head-to-head on Tuesday, when Middlesbrough take on Bristol City. Probably the best result will be a draw that will keep both teams below Villa, although the Robins will still have one remaining game in hand.
If Boro lost what would be their fifth game on the trot (and fourth home game in a row) you’d have to doubt their ability to be in the play-off places at the end of the season.
If Bristol City won back-to-back away games, following Saturday’s notable win against Sheffield United, then you’d definitely say, it’s between them, Villa and Derby for the last two realistically able play-off spots.
Certainly the Villa vs Bristol City game at Villa Park in mid-April will have a lot riding on it.
Mind the Gap
What happened to that team whose fans were telling us to ‘mind the gap’ earlier in the season?
Well, here’s what’s happened…in the period of the last five Championship games, Villa have put an additional 24 points between the two teams.
One team have won their last five games, while another one has lost their last five…and had nine points deducted.
JPA & Friends
It was nice to see Juan Pablo Angel return to Villa Park for the first time since he left the club back in 2007. While he had his troubles at Villa, he was always a favourite of MOMS.Embed from Getty Images
Also at the Blackburn Rovers game, amongst several former players, was Martin Laursen too, another fan favourite.
Both Laursen and Angel ultimately had frustrating times at Villa Park on the whole, which fans largely were sympathetic too at the time.
Angel took a while to settle into both the Birmingham area and team (not helped by the club initially), and he only managed to get into double figures for goals in two of his seven seasons at the club. It could be argued, he could have done with a better Villa team at times.
Laursen was largely struck down by injuries in his five seasons and ultimately retired due to them, but his 2007–08 season was perhaps the best, when he got through the season without any complications and showed his true potential.
Although he only appear in around 90 games in all competitions for Villa, he’ll always be fondly remembered for how he’d whip up the Villa crowd with his commitment and passionate celebrations.
It’s nice to see such overseas players remain part of the Villa family.