This was a very satisfying Aston Villa performance. It was clinical, gritty when required but also demonstrated a verve and flair which if maintained, will do very nicely indeed.
It took Dean Smith’s side 720 minutes to reach six Premier League points last season, so reaching the same margin after just 2 games can only be considered progress.
There are also other unwanted traits that wins such as those at Craven Cottage hopefully begin to banish. Prior to the victory, Villa had taken just one point from the last thirty available when playing in the Capital.
FULHAM 0-3 VILLAEmbed from Getty Images
This was shock and awe[some] from Villa, striking early to leave the hosts shell-shocked inside the opening quarter.
Grealish, whose movement and close control Fulham couldn’t deal with all night, expertly finished after a deft John McGinn through ball:
Next was Conor Hourihane on 15 minutes, coolly slotting home to make it 2-0.
Villa were dominant in the first half, as Fulham looked to regain their composure having rocked badly in the opening period.
The second half started well, with Villa seeking to pick up where they’d left off.
Barely 3 minutes after the break, Mings timed a run well, getting onto the end of an inch perfect Hourihane set piece. Game. Over.
With Villa cruising, Fulham enjoyed a positive patch. Mitrovic was a threat, but spurned a number of headed opportunities.
Perhaps more jarring for our collective nerves (we Villa fans can’t be sure even at 3-0) was Reid’s dissallowed goal.
Emi Martinez, who was the penalty saving hero on his Villa Park debut against Sheffield United, failed to hold a Fulham effort from outside the box.
Whilst arguably distracted by Mings’ attempt to head clear, the Argentine ‘keeper will be relieved to see VAR chalk the effort for a foul on Konsa in the build up.Embed from Getty Images
Villa, after a very testing survival fight last season, look a different beast.
Ezri Konsa, still only 22, continues to grow game by game. Whilst considered a rookie back-up to Mings as recently as the turn of the year, his stock continues to rise on these types of showings.
John McGinn looked more like the pre-injury player worthy of the Scottish Football Writer’s Award. The bursts of pace and incessant harrying of the opposition was good to see.
Watkins, although without a goal in the PL as yet, is a nuisance for defences. His movement, interplay and eagerness to threaten underlines why the likes of Samatta were shown the door.
Matty Cash is also beginning to loosen and show the qualities which brought him to B6. The former Forest man was relentless, both in defensive duties but any number of forays down the flank. There are many fans of Frederic Guilbert, but in the spirit of continuous improvement, it’s understandable why Cash is getting the nod.
Though it’s obviously early days, this is refreshingly promising stuff from Villa. As any seasoned Villa supporter can attest, countless squads have travelled to Craven Cottage and not brought home 3 points.
Two wins from two is a great new beginning, and along with our consecutive EFL Cup wins; long may this form continue.
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