A stunning volley from local boy Jack Grealish saw Villa defeat Cardiff City 1-0 at Villa Park on Tuesday evening.
While this much needed win might not be enough to help Villa secure automatic promotion come the end of the season, you’d imagine that it has gone an awful long way to sealing a coveted play-off place.
Villa have now amassed 76 points from 42 matches and are 5 points behind Fulham in second with just 4 games remaining. With the form that Fulham are in at the moment, it’s hard to see Villa being able to make up the ground, but one saving grace is that they are 10 points above Middlesbrough in 7th place. It would take a catastrophic collapse to finish outside the top 6 now.
Next up for Villa is a home match against Leeds on Friday. The Yorkshire-based team have had a very poor season, and the home side will be quietly confident about being able to pick up another three points to keep the pressure on Fulham and Cardiff.
Here are our Villa player ratings for Tuesday’s match against Cardiff City.
GK: Sam Johnstone - 8
Made two fine saves at the end of the first half and made a number of cracking saves in the second to ensure that Villa took home all three points.
RB: Ahmed Elmohamady - 7
Dealt with Hoilett with ease and was in the right place at the right time to clear the ball off the line.
CB: James Chester - 8
Yet again, Chester put in a very fine performance and dealt with everything that came his way.
CB: Mile Jedinak - 7
Played instead of the injured Terry and put in a very assured performance. He was commanding and distributed the ball well.
Axel Tuanzebe - 4
Hasn’t had any luck at Villa and didn’t even make it past the half hour mark before he needed to be replaced.
RM: Robert Snodgrass - 6
He plugged away all game, but found little reward until the 85th minute when his free-kick eventually led to Grealish’s stunning goal.
CM: Glenn Whelan - 6
Was a late replacement for Bjarnason and put in a solid and industrious display.
CM: Conor Hourihane - 6
Ran himself into the ground and fought for every ball. Missed a sitter at 0-0.
CM: Jack Grealish - 9
Grealish was Villa’s best attacking player by a mile. The only way the Cardiff defence could cope with him was to hack him down. Scored an absolute peach of a volley!
LM: Albert Adomah - 5
Adomah has been off the boil lately and it was no different against Cardiff. Bruce might consider giving him a rest now.
ST: Lewis Grabban - 6
Showed some good hold up play and put in a solid performance against the tough Cardiff defenders.
SUB: James Bree - 6
Came on for Tuanzebe in the 27th minute and put in a solid performance that will do his confidence the world of good.
SUB: Jonathan Kodjia - 6.5
Came on and added a spark to the match with some flamboyant skill to bamboozle the Cardiff defence.