By Graham Hill
ASTON VILLA 3 MIDDLESBROUGH 0
AFTER all of the attention surrounding Jack Grealish in recent days, the Villa skipper must be glad he has someone to take some of the spotlight off him.
And that man is John McGinn.
For the second game running, the Scot has influenced Villa’s display and is proving he is just as valuable as Grealish.
The only argument these two must be having is who is going to take the club’s goal of the season award – Grealish for his strike against Derby, or McGinn for his superbly controlled 25 yarder in the Villa Park clash with Sheffield Wednesday.
No doubt Alan Hutton will have his say after that brilliant solo goal against Blues.
But that is a matter for another day. Hopefully when Villa have come through the play-offs and returned to the Premier Legaue team.
Snith refuses to entertain such talk right now, and he is correct to do so.
There are still almost two months of the season left and Villa are going to have to work hard to keep up these sort of performances.
But there is no doubting that four wins in a row going into a two-week international break could hardly be better.
There is a concern that Derby County – who also expect to have players such as Mason Mount back soon – could overhaul Villa along with Bristol City.
But momentum and form is a huge thing at this stage of the season. Look at 12 months ago when Fulham were virtually unstoppable.
And remember, Villa’s wins have all come against sides who considered themselves play-off challengers at that time. And all have slipped back into the pack with the exception of Derby.
Anwar El Ghazi opened the scoring after being set up by McGinn who then scored his third goal in two games to show he was a bargain buy at £2.7million last year.
Substitute Britt Assombalonga squandered Middlesbrough’s best chance when he put his header wide and ex-Boro winger Albert Adomah scored Villa’s third from close range with a minute to go.
Make no mistake, this was a huge test for Villa in terms of whether they were the real deal in terms of making the play-offs. Now they must set their sights on a return to Wembley to wipe out last year’s agony at the hands of Fulham.