It’s the sign of the times that Aston Villa drawing 1-1 at Premier League title contenders Chelsea just doesn’t even seem that much of a surprise.
Dean Smith’s side have been a breath of fresh air this season, playing fantastic attacking football – they’ve already scored 28 goals in the top-flight – and picking up some big results against the division’s elite.
And whilst they may not have claimed all three points at Stamford Bridge on Monday night, they can be hugely proud of their efforts given they were in action just over 48 hours ago.
One man who put in an incredible shift for Smith, was John McGinn. The Scotland international hasn’t scored since early October when he netted in that famous 7-2 rout of Liverpool, and whilst he didn’t get on the score-sheet again against Chelsea, he looked in supreme touch in every other aspect.
Playing in that slightly deeper role, the 26-year-old went to war with the likes of N’golo Kante and Jorginho in the middle of the park, and came out on top.
As per Sofascore, he won a mammoth 13 of his 19 total duels on the night, by far the most of any Villa player on the pitch. As well as that, he also made three tackles and provided two key passes, whilst he was so unlucky not to be rewarded with a goal when he saw his thunderous long-range strike cannon off the crossbar.
His display led to Villa podcaster Ty Bracey to suggest that McGinn appears to be “back to his best“, and that’s surely something that could be a game-changer for the side going forward.
The likes of Ollie Watkins and Jack Grealish have carried a lot of the goal-scoring and creative burden this season, but if McGinn gets back to his usual self, then Smith will have another formidable weapon in his ranks.
The Scot’s display against Chelsea would surely have left his manager purring.