Something For The Weekend (592)
Villa's third win on the trot took them to the dizzying heights of fourth in the table, with a six point cushion between themselves and Middlesbrough in seventh place. It wasn't a spectacular performance which got them there but there were a few periods when Villa showed some of their real quality. The finish for Albert Adomah's second goal was as cool and assured as many a Villa legend down the decades, whether it be Brian Little, David Platt or Dwight Yorke.
Villa had an early scare when Ipswich put the ball in the net from a corner but the obvious shove on Villa goalkeeper Johnson meant it was disallowed. Things were more or less balanced between the two sides in the first thirty minutes, with Davis creating an opportunity for himself with a typical powerful run, but his left-foot shoot didn't demand much from goalkeeper Bialkowski. Ipswich's Wolves loanee Iorfa then stretched his long legs and did a fair impression of Usain Bolt, as he raided down Ipswich's right, from just outside his own penalty area, and left just about every one for dead. Timely interventions by Hourihane and Neil Taylor prevented him shooting but the ball fell to Ipswich's Ward who blasted over. A tidy combination of passes between Whelan, Hourihane and Adomah, ended with a cross which Davis headed over. Villa then won a corner and the clearing header fell to Whelan whose shot was returned by a skied clearance, which the Ipswich players misread. Villa's number-six headed it through a little gap in the Ipswich backline and Adomah nipped in, sent the Ipswich goalkeeper the wrong way, and tapped in for one-nil to Villa. Ipswich came very close from a corner and Villa mounted a terrific counter-attack, which ended with Adomah firing high, wide and not too handsomely, over the Ipswich bar.
Villa started the second-half in lively fashion and Snodgrass put in Adomah on Villa's right but his shot on goal was easily dealt with by the Ipswich 'keeper. Things got a bit scrappy with both teams giving the ball away, but then, just past the hour Snodgrass came infield and sent a straight ball through the narrow gap between the defenders, for Adomah on the left. Iorfa didn't get much contact with his header and Villa's top-scorer was through on goal. He stylishly sent Bialkowski the wrong way, with something between a shimmy and what we used to call a body-swerve, and hit a perfectly paced shot in off the near-post. Two-nil and Villa looked home and dry. A Villa romp then ensued and Ipswich were left chasing shadows as Villa unleashed their slick passing game to assert their dominance. Ipswich almost created themselves a chance with a great ball over the top but it proved a yard too long and Johnson mopped up easily. Bruce brought on El Mohamady and Jack Grealish for a late taste and the take-home emotions for the Villa faithful were pride, pleasure and satisfaction.
Predictably, Albert Adomah got most of the plaudits, which he thoroughly deserved, but many fans thought Glenn Whelan had one of his best performances in a Villa shirt. Snodgrass made an outstanding contribution from midfield and Hourihane had a tidy game. The loss of Jedinak so early in the game was a bit of a blow but Samba fitted in seamlessly and added to another solid defensive performance. Keinan Davis made yet another vital contribution and it is getting to the stage where he's being taken for granted, which is always a sign that a young player is establishing themself.
Villa were better than Ipswich on Saturday but the Tractor Boy's win over Derby in the week put them in ninth place in the table, with the same 29pts as Leeds, who are one place above them. For some reason Villa's trip to Elland Road on Friday night seems rather more daunting than the prospect of the Ipswich game did. Leeds were pretty good last season but finished five points short of the play-offs. They drew at Villa Park and won 2-0 on their patch. One of the more surprising bits of news over the summer was that Leeds had sold their Kiwi 27-goal top-scorer Chris Wood to Burnley. It will be interesting to see how well they spent the reported £15m fee. Their form is up and down with four losses and two wins in their last six games. They have scored a goal more (29) than Villa but have conceded seven more (24). They had a comfortable away win at Barnsley in midweek. The short recovery time will test resources of both squads but home advantage should give Leeds the edge. A substantial test for Villa but they certainly look capable of getting something out of the game. It is on the telly but I am sure there will be plenty of villans on board Villa's magic bus.
Keep the faith!