Things We Sort Of Learned: Aston Villa (H)

Well, that was fun wasn’t it? The sun shone, the only rain was the torrent of goals, everyone was happy and Ipswich lost. The Villains were arrested and the good guys won for a change. Great success. But what happened and what did Zoë Whitford and Rich Jeffery learn from it?

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Jo:Murf

All those who get on Josh’s back on a regular basis should somehow be banned from enjoying his goal, maybe there’s some kind of technology that could see to this. Something to do with blockchains, whatever the fuck they are.

They were at it in the first half. That ever ready guttural, angry groan emerging - as easily as a post-prandial Sunday afternoon guff - on one occasion when Josh was on his heels and couldn’t come to the ball as it was sharply played into him.

He’d been bright when he had the chance to do something in the first half with a few direct runs signalling his intent. But then, the goal.

What a strike it was, one of those that sends you through a 2 second thought process of; Don’t hit it, nope, oh it’s curling back, wait it’s dipping, hang on, YEEEEAAAAAAAAAGGHHHHH!

From then on he was unplayable, faster, more direct and with the decision making and vision of a top player. Josh played a huge part in both our other goals and gave his opponent a roasting on more than one occasion.

Stay off his back and we might see this more often. You know who you are. No, not you. You. Hopefully you haven’t renewed for next season. RJ

That Kiss

You’ve all seen it now; a tender moment between Timm and Josh, a beautiful representation of the good feeling in the team. This season may have been tough in many ways but there has always been an overriding feeling that this is more of a team than that of last season. The players seem to be in it together and fighting as one.

The kiss itself is beautifully continental and should be on an anti-Brexit poster. Indeed, any given picture of Timm should be on an anti-Brexit poster. Isn’t he amazing? ZW

Grabbs

In most cases what Grabban did for us against the Shitland Ponies would be enough for him to always be fondly remembered at Norwich. The man scored a winner away against them, and in the return set up Jonno for his thriker, then scored a match clinching second. Let alone being part of our Wembley play-off triumph.

I am in the ‘shit happens’ camp regarding his no-show at Rotherham, not ideal - obvs - but not something to hold a grudge for, surely?

With the grief he got when he was warming up, and the boos every time he got the ball after he came on, I felt sure that Grabban would score against us like he already has for Sunderland this season.

He didn’t. Haha, piss off you shit-bearded wanker! RJ

Good game, good game. Nice to not see you, to not see you? *NICE*

Good game that wasn’t it? Enjoyable. Delighted that the unfaithful whose empty seats were on show missed out. Reward for sticking with it, supporting through thick and thin. Maybe even a glimpse of what lies in store next season? Who knows? They won’t as they, like the guy next to me, probably haven’t renewed.

Caveats being Villa weren’t great and with us scoring first they had to come at us, leaving gaps for us to exploit on the counter. But still, we played well as a team and as individuals.

After a very quiet first 40 minutes, the home fans woke up. It was embarrassingly quiet prior to that, much as the Villa fans sat down and totally shut up after our second.

Dusting off my cliché folder, Josh’s goal came at a great time to score just before halftime and with us netting again less than ten minutes after the break we really took the wind out of Villa’s sails.

We were clinical where we haven’t been previously, started to get more people forward, and get the ball to them more quickly and all in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable game in the spring sunshine.

We are still very much a work in progress. In particular we have to find a way to break down less adventurous teams at home and also find consistency with our clinicalness.

But this was sweet. RJ

Jacky-Boy

Jack Grealish has been in the gym, hasn’t he? From my privileged position 5 rows back, I got to see Jack’s calves in all their glory. They’re obviously enhanced by his stupidly small socks and even crazier tiny shorts, but he’s certainly stacking on the muscle.

Aside from his physique, Grealish was Villa’s best player. Apparently his behaviour has been helped this year by the presence of John Terry, which seems to me like asking Vladimir Putin for help with your ethics homework, but whatever floats your boat. However, despite all the positive signs, Grealish was involved in a match-long tetch battle with Vrancic and also took on human-battlement Grant Hanley. His temper is clearly teetering on the edge: whether or not he fulfills his potential is clearly down to how he manages his mind. ZW

Sir Benny finally nets

He's got electric boots, shirt number 32

You know he came to us from Germany, oh

Sir Sir Sir Benny finally nets

After gradually improving each time out, and having a good game against Fulham, Sir Benny of Norwich finally got his just desserts in the form of his first goal for us.

He stood up well to the test of playing on his own against the vastly experienced John Twatty and James Chester. His movement for the goal off the back of Twatty was sublime and he deserved the luck he got when his side footed shot hit the ‘keeper’s heel but still went in.

It will be interesting to see what that goal, and the standing ovation he received will do for his confidence. Can he take it on to the next level?

Arise Sir Benny of Norwich. RJ

Mari-oh yeah

You know what? It’s ok if Madders doesn’t have his best ever game of a couple of the others step up! That’s what happened yesterday, and provided a comforting vision of what might be to come should we get our £25 mill. Josh, Dennis and Mario Vrancic were all exceptional.

Vrancic deserves a special mention because he seemed to be absolutely everywhere. He was tackling, passing, winding up Grealish like a dream. He is a proper talent and it’s so great to watch him now he’s adjusted to the rough and tumble of the Championship. A luxury player no more, Mario knows how to mix it with the tough crowd. ZW