We clocked up a resounding 3-0 win this past weekend as Middlesbrough were defeated.
Check out the ‘5 things’ we learned from the victory below.
1] Whelan renaissance
“Oh, what a feeling - when you start with Glenn Whelan”. So true!
Whelan’s performance in the win over Middlesbrough was simply different class.
His importance to the claret and blue camp cannot be underestimated.
On the pitch, he does the proverbial dirty work and does it superbly well.
Off the field, he’s a role model - training hard, eating right and inspiring all those around him.
Whelan has not always enjoyed the best of times in the claret and blue but his relationship with supporters is now sky-high.
Chants of ‘Whelo, Whelo, Whelo’ echoed around Villa Park time and again as the Irishman provided a midfield masterclass.
It was great to hear – and thoroughly deserved for one of the most likeable men in the dressing room.
2] Tunnel of Love
Watching our players, management and staff filter through the Villa Park tunnel post-game said a lot about the claret and blue morale.
The smiles of a job well done pervaded the scene as we moved further into the upper echelons of the Championship table.
The atmosphere in the dressing room, captured by Tammy Abraham on his Instagram account, also spoke of a buzz around the place – it got Jack up and dancing!
But no-one will get carried away. It’s not in Dean Smith’s DNA. We’re on the up but there’s still a lot of hard work to do.
It was a good result against a rival team. It’s now about refocusing on the task at hand.
However, don’t underestimate our togetherness – it can take us far.
3] Allez Allez Allez
Sing your hearts out for the lads, they said. But there’s so many to choose from!
Villa Park is awash at the moment with some great terrace anthems, including, of course, Kortney Hause’s Madness chant, belted out to the tune of the 1982 smash hit.
But the one that’s soared to the top of the charts in the Holte End is ‘Allez, Allez, Allez’ which not only has a catchy riff but also lyrics that make any Aston Villa heart burst with pride.
They are: “Every week we follow, the boys in claret and blue, we conquered all of Europe - in 1982, the Villa boys from Aston, we travel near and far, you will hear us singing, from the stands of Villa Park…Allez Allez Allez, Allez Allez Allez”.
It was fantastic to drink in the atmosphere on Saturday, look up at the positive scoreboard, hear this chant reverberate around the ground and delight in the journey we’re now on with Dean Smith.
4] Double Trouble
We’ve had some brilliant defensive duos down the years.
McGrath and Teale. Evans and McNaught. Laursen and Mellberg.
It’s way too early to put Mings and Hause in that illustrious bracket but what strikes you is the connection they have as a pairing.
They’re good mates of the pitch and allied warriors on it.
Both are tenacious in the tackle, commanding, vociferous and also supremely elegant when they play out from the back.
They’ve been together now as a centre-back pairing for three games – and clocked up three vital wins.
As if that form isn’t enough to put a smile on Dean Smith’s face, the Head Coach also has Axel Tuanzebe on his way back, with Tommy Elphick and James Chester also working hard on a return.
That’s an abundance of riches when all are fit and available. The competition will be intense.
But, for now, let’s delight in Mings and Hause, who are showing their undoubted class.
5] We're all Part of the Pride
What stuck most about Villa Park this weekend was the strong bond between players and fans.
It’s not been all strawberries and cream this season and times have been tough on the pitch at various periods in the campaign.
But on Saturday, everyone was signing from the same hymn sheet.
Players were roaring on the pitch. Fans were growling off it. Our Pride of Lions!
You could feel the energy, the passion, the positivity, the joy.
There’s that famous conundrum – do the fans have to raise the players or should the players have to inspire the fans?
Well, at the moment, we’re getting plenty of both.