It was a positive evening as we defeated Middlesbrough away in our latest fixture.
Check out what we learned with ‘5 things’ below.
1] El Ghazi settling
We see our star names as robots sometimes – able to come in from another club and turn on the style straight away.
Obviously, when thinking about this logically, it makes sense that time is needed before 100% class and quality is on show.
That’s certainly the case with Anwar El Ghazi, our on-loan winger.
Not only has highly-rated El Ghazi had to come to a new country and a new league – but he’s also seen a change of management soon into his time in B6.
Outgoing was Steve Bruce. Incoming has been Dean Smith.
Smith admitted in his post-match media duties at the Riverside Stadium that he’d spent some quality time with El Ghazi at the training ground, showing him exactly what he’s looking for from players in the wide areas.
El Ghazi has clearly taken that on board. His performance at Middlesbrough was top-class.
He showed intent and invention going forward. But it was his display defensively that impressed most – as he chased back time and again for the good of the team.
Here’s to Anwar continuing his upward progress.
2] Tammy Abraham on fire
I’m not sure there are enough superlatives to sum up Tammy Abraham’s time in claret and blue to date.
He’s settled in superbly and is immensely popular in the dressing room, with his upbeat and friendly nature on show every day.
His scoring feats are there for all to see as he leads the charts for us with 11 goals in 14 games – seven in the last four.
The last player to hit the golden 20 league goals was Peter Withe in 1980/81 – Dwight Yorke, Juan Pablo Angel, Christian Benteke and Jonathan Kodjia going close over the past few years.
It almost seems inevitable that Abraham will reach that illustrious figure now.
But, knowing the fab forward, he won’t take anything for granted.
3] No fuss Elmo
It’s been an Alan Hutton love-in over the past week.
His goal against the Blues will live long in the memory – for the sheer quality of the finish and the opponents, of course.
But the in-form right-back wasn’t available for the Middlesbrough match this past weekend as he served a one-game suspension.
Thankfully, we have one of the most professional and polished performers in our ranks in Ahmed Elmohamady.
Elmohamady, another popular lad at Bodymoor Heath, goes about his work with the minimum of fuss but the maximum of endeavour.
He must be a manager’s dream!
4] 10 points!
Yannick Bolasie is getting right back to his best – and his growing confidence was demonstrated with a move that would have received a ‘10’ on Strictly Come Dancing.
Charging down the left in the second half at the Riverside Stadium, Bolasie showed his pace – but also his grace with a samba swagger move as he danced his way past the right-back.
Add to that his first half 'grass touch', which Bolasie made famous as a signature move at Crystal Palace as he bends down mid-flight to touch the floor before speeding off again, and you realise the belief is starting to flow through the winger.
He’s going to be a vital cog in the team as we eye promotion.
5] Faith in youth
Aston Villa is a club that prides itself on youth development, which is why the game at Middlesbrough will have filled the likes of Sean Kimberley, Kevin MacDonald, Mark Delaney and David Hughes so full of confidence.
Callum O’Hare was in the final 18-man squad, but he was also joined by Dominic Revan.
Revan is an 18-year-old centre-back who’s played 11 times in Premier League 2 for the U23s this season.
Dean Smith said post-game: “If you’re good enough, you’re old enough”.
The whole experience will have a proud moment for the Young Lion and offers further proof that Head Coach Smith is someone with an eye on academy gems.