Finally, Villa put in a convincing performance away from home! To add to that, there was some really classy performances all over the pitch.
Unsurprisingly, Jonathan Kodjia strolled back into the team. The starting XI as a whole was much more attacking, a 4-4-2 with Whelan being the only midfielder you could call defensive minded.
It was a lively start from ball sides. In typical Championship fashion, the ball spent a lot of time up in the air.
But when Villa did attack, they attacked with verve, pace and intent. For once I didn’t feel like I was watching 11 players kicking a football about because it was just their job.
Robert Snodgrass nearly opened the scoring early on, cutting inside prior to hitting a shot which was destined for the bottom corner until Adam Davies got across to make the save.
But it was Albert Adomah, who was starting his first game of the season, who got things going. The Ghanian winger chased down Elmohamady’s long ball, before taking advantage of Davies failure to collect the ball and poked in to open his account for the season.
And although Harvey Barnes would’ve probably equalized were it not for his heavy first touch in the box, our lead was doubled before the break.
Davis got to Elmohamady’s ball before Adam Jackson, resulting in the latter sliding in and tripping the former. Penalty? Penalty. Albert Adomah put the spot kick high out of Davies’ reach, and with that it was 2-0.
So the second half mission? To get a third and kill the game off.
Barnsley went from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 in the at the break. Nevertheless, Villa did get their third while the second half was still young. Or so Kodjia thought, as it turned out the Ivorian was offside when Keinan Davis played it through.
But Davis, who was having an almost faultless game upfront alongside Kodjia, got goal twa after 54 minutes.
An excellent early delivery by Elmohamedy was met by the former Biggleswade Town striker who headed the ball downward past the clutches of Barnsley’s Davies.
It took over an hour for Barnsley to muster their first shot on target, with Ike Ugbo heading the ball straight in the hands of Johnstone. That’s testament to how well John Terry and James Chester played.
Barnsley had a much better chance before final orders, Johnstone stuck out a leg to prevent Ugbo finding the net from close range.
It really positive performance today. Yes, that might have been helped by a Barnsley side playing their own expansive, attacking football, and we were able to exploit that, but it’s not like Barnsley are a poor side. Far from it. Now is the time for Villa to really push on as the Championship table starts to take shape!
Keinan Davis – The nineteen year old was part of everything good Villa did today. He took his goal like Christian Benteke and held the ball up like John Carew. Is he now Bruce’s second choice striker? Or does that title still lie with Scott Hogan?