Aston Villa got back to winning ways this weekend in a thrilling encounter with Everton as we picked up a 2-1 victory at Goodison Park.
After battling back with a late equaliser to claim a point against West Bromwich Albion, the signs were there last week that our confidence was slowly returning.
Combined with a much-improved attacking display from the team as a whole, it led to an excellent performance for the most part on Merseyside and a return to the style of play that we enjoyed in the first half of the Premier League campaign.
Time will tell if we can maintain that between now and the end of the season, but it was certainly refreshing and highly enjoyable to watch Villa click back into gear.
Villa rediscovering entertaining style of play
It’s been a struggle for a few months now for Villa, both in terms of our results and the level of performance that we’ve been producing.
Our play has been nowhere near as good as it was in the first half of the campaign, but we’re showing signs that we’re perhaps getting back to that as we played at a quicker tempo, with more fluidity and aggression on Saturday and that is when we’re at our best.
With Jack Grealish still sidelined, we showed that we can produce without him too. However, we have to maintain it between now and the end of the season with or without our influential captain.
Our leading goalscorer has been superb this season, and he is finding goals regularly as we edge towards the end of the campaign.
His movement and runs in behind are a real headache for the opposition defence, while his link-up play and strength to hold up the ball and involve others is of high quality.
His goal summed him up perfectly with his pressing to win possession back and composed finish to break the deadlock, and it was a brilliant performance overall from the England international.
Mings leading by example
Handed the captain’s armband in Grealish’s absence and having received his fair share of stick from some fans this season, Mings is showing his character and quality week in and week out recently.
The clean sheets have dried up and so that will hopefully come, but his desire to put his body on the line to keep Emiliano Martinez less busy, his aerial dominance at times and his general leadership in marshalling the backline are pivotal attributes.
He’s showing his class, and it’s hoped it leads to more positive results in the coming weeks.
Cash return shows importance
After serving his suspension last weekend, Cash returned to the starting XI and this game showed why he’s become such a pivotal figure in the side and has turned out to be a great signing.
Defensively sound and aggressive coupled with bags of energy to get forward up the right flank to offer an attacking threat too, he offers a bit of everything.
Adding squad depth behind him will be important this summer, but he’s already become an integral part of the XI this year.
Europe still possible?
With this win, Villa moved back up to 9th place in the Premier League table, seven points adrift of West Ham Utd in fifth spot with five games to go.
Given we play Everton and Tottenham before the season ends, the two sides directly above us, we have a chance to cut into the deficit further and climb above them if they drop points in other games.
That then leaves Liverpool and West Ham ahead of them, and it’s hoped that we’re finding our rhythm, consistency and momentum just in time to try and finish as high as possible and still give ourselves a shot at the Europa League.