They might not have come away with anything on Wednesday night, but Aston Villa showed once again why they are no flash in the pan this Premier League campaign.
Dean Smith’s side have arguably been the stand-out performers this season, picking up some big results against big teams, and but for an incredibly controversial VAR call against Manchester City, may have earned a huge point at the Etihad Stadium.
The Villans were desperately unlucky to be on the wrong side of a 2-0 score-line, but a number of their players produced superb performances as they more than held their own against the former Premier League champions, none more so perhaps than Matt Targett.
The left-back was given the tough task of trying to deal with the pacey Raheem Sterling, and he more than held his own against the England international.
His five tackles and four interceptions were both game-highs, and a testament of the kind of intensity he brought to the table out on the left-hand side – The Athletic’s Gregg Evans hailed his “immense” performance, and said that he’s been that way all season.
— Gregg Evans (@greggevans40) January 20, 2021
And writing in his post-match ratings, The Birmingham Mail’s Ashley Preece said: “Like those next to him at the back, Targett enjoyed a spirited first half and kept Raheem Sterling at bay. Targett was cool in possession amid pressure on him as well and won his fair share of tackles and headers.
“Villa were far weaker after he went off for Taylor, even though Targett wanted to stay on. Targett was understated this evening and got the better out of Sterling, hence City taking off the England man.”
Dean Smith will desperately be hoping that his left-back’s injury is nothing too serious.