Middlesbrough came calling Saturday at a rather important juncture in Villa’s season, and promised a stern test. However, Villa largely brushed Tony Pulis’ men and tactics aside to cruise to a vital 3-0 win that saw us climb back into the promotion places for the first time since something like the sixth week of the campaign. Not a bad day.
Fifth-placed Boro come visiting today, and to say it’s a big game would be an understatement. Going in, it’s our last chance to take points off a team currently sitting where we’d like to be, and leapfrog into the playoff spots going into the break.
Somewhere in the near history of Aston Villa, Grealish became the anointed one—the club’s talisman—providing that magical ingredient that exists in few players. As excited as we are over his skill and ability to alter or control a game, so are the fans of other teams, only at a 180-degree view.
Back-to-back wins, and suddenly Villa have a viable if tenuous path to the playoffs. Whether or not we get there, there’s still nothing more satisfying in a regular-season context than doing the double on the clowns at home. Now a win at The City Ground seems rather important.
Here we are on a Sunday with the second leg of the derby and all to play to for. Really not a lot to be said about that. What we’ll be looking at is which of Dean Smith’s comments were smokescreens or not.