Flashback 1992-93: Saunders wondergoal sees off Ipswich
Paper: Sunday Mercury
Villa produced a performance of true championship quality, topped by a stunning goal from Dean Saunders, as they swept aside Ipswich at Villa Park.
This was vintage Villa, stamping their class on every pass and every pulsating move as Ipswich crumbled before them.
As Villa exacted sweet revenge for the Coca Cola Cup defeat in December, the only saving grace for Ipswich was that they avoided a beating by five or six goals.
As it was the damage was limited to two stunning, first-half strikes.
Stephen Froggatt's instinctive pass out of defence released Garry Parker who, in turn, deceived Ipswich's rearguard with a ball wide to Steve Staunton.
Villa's left-back measured his pass to the far post with slide rule accuracy and Yorke headed powerfully past Clive Baker for his fourth goal of the season and his third in seven games.
Nine minutes later the Holte End saluted a goal to be treasured long after his championship race has run its course.
Ray Houghton's angled pass picked out Saunders and the Villa striker volleyed the ball over Baker from 35 yards for his 16th goal of the season.
And there was no stopping Villa as they sought to build on their 2-0 lead.
With half-time looming, Yorke was desperately unlucky when his 12-yard shot from a Houghton pass struck the foot of Baker's right post.
It was Yorke again who had a drive deflected just wide by Baker from another Houghton set-up after 49 minutes.
And when the Villa striker was finally substituted after 85 minutes, he knew he should have departed with a hat-trick.
Saunders, too, could have had three or four on a day when Villa were ruthlessly efficient in switching defence into incisive attack.
Paper: Sunday Mercury
They'll keep a welcome on the Holte End for Dean Saunders after the Welsh wizard's 35-yard stunner kept Villa's title pot boiling over.
"Sensational" was Ron Atkinson's verdict after the 2-0 win over Ipswich.
"Worth the admission alone" said Ipswich boss Mick McGivern.
And the man himself: "Of course I meant it! I looked up and spotted the keeper was off his line."
Paper: The Independent on Sunday
Both clubs had suffered setbacks but Aston Villa settled back much the more impressively.
Yet, with Manchester United also winning, Villa's journey remains one in which they run in another's footprints. United will hear the tread.
If this was a game Villa expected to be a problem, it was made all the more comfortable by a goal from Dean Saunders that will rank with the best seen at this ground.
A 35-yard shot that was so obviously pre-prepared that there was never any doubt that it would end where it was intended to go.
Villa's attempt to maintain their challenge for the title is being restricted by the continued absence of Dalian Atkinson, but, with Saunders in such breathtaking form, there is no cause to doubt their ability to bring another season of league frustration to Old Trafford.
Winning potentially awkward matches such as these is the trademark of likely champions.
Paper: The Daily Telegraph
Goal of the decade? Steady on, John Motson.
Dean Saunders's spectacular 35-yard volley was a bit special, right enough; but there had to be some doubt whether it was even goal of the day, never mind of a decade that has only just begun.
To be fair, BBC TV's most distinguished commentator did appear to be indulging in a spot of intentional hyperbole.
Earlier he had lavished fully deserved praise on Villa's first goal, scored with a diving header by Dwight Yorke after the ball had been passed from one end of the field to the other.
Ron Atkinson, Villa's manager, neatly defined the difference between the two strikes by calling the second one "a crowd's goal."
The first, he pointed out, had been the product of excellent teamwork and a devastating final ball from Steve Staunton.
The two goals exemplified the skill and confidence of the team Mr Atkinson has built since 1991 with the help of the £5.5m from the sale of David Platt.
On this evidence, they are far ahead of promoted Ipswich in terms of development.
Paper: The Birmingham Post
When Aston Villa are on song and the midfield is in full creative flow, it is as if the music of a whole symphony rings out from Villa Park.
This was like a classic overture to the final championship march, a triumph of grace, style and supreme craftsmanship.
It was a victory conjured with the eloquence and beauty which illiterates could never begin to understand.
Ipswich were simply overwhelmed by the majesty of Villa's performance, not least the execution of two goals worthy of any title contenders.
While the season has yet to deliver its spoils, one 35-yard volley from Dean Saunders was almost deserving of a championship medal on its own.
Paper: Daily Express
Aston Villa shrugged off their league lapse at Southampton and FA shoot-out exit at Wimbledon to roar back to joint leadership of the Premier League.
And if champagne is the antidote for Ron Atkinson's Villa hangover, Dwight Yorke and Dean Saunders are the brilliant, bubbly ingredients.
Their stunning first-half strikes led formidable Ipswich a merry dance and Atkinson said: "Dean's goal was simply superb, it wasn't a fluke.
"If a Brazilian had scored it, nobody would have stopped talking about it."
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