Aston Villa brushed aside their arch-rivals on Sunday evening to move into ninth place in the Premier League.
Dean Smith’s side planted further misery on West Brom as they thrashed the Baggies 3-0 at the Hawthorns, condemning Sam Allardyce to a defeat in his first match in charge.
Anwar El Ghazi opened the scoring within five minutes and rounded off the victory in the dying embers, converting a spot-kick just minutes after Bertrand Traore had doubled the advantage.
The writing was really on the wall from the 35th minute after the referee upgraded Jake Livermore’s yellow card to a red for a rash challenge on fellow skipper Jack Grealish.
And it was the Villa captain that ran the show as he outshone both goalscorers.
The 25-year-old provided an assist for the second, but that was merely the icing on the cake for his dominant and creative display. He also notched a whopping eight key passes from his 72 accurate attempts, via SofaScore.
Indeed, he drew plaudits from the local press after the match as BirminghamLive rated his performance a seven out of ten, and claimed:
“Wanted so desperately to set Ollie Watkins in the first half, and was slower to get up to scratch while remaining the target of Albion’s ball-winning plans.
“Seemed to be suffocated of room in-and-around the box leading to Villa having to push wide and ask more of their own full-backs.”
Whilst 90min handed him an eight rating, labelling him “impressive” in the ‘free’ role.
Grealish also had more touches (96) than any other player on the pitch, recorded four dribbles, and won three free-kicks, proving to be Albion’s biggest nemesis once again.
Aside from scoring two goals, El Ghazi was particularly wasteful, losing possession 17 times and only delivering one accurate cross from eight attempts, as per SofaScore.
When Villa are on swansong, their £45m-rated skipper is often the protagonist, and that much was proven again on Sunday night.
AND in other news, Lange must offload out-of-favour Suso flop who’s robbing Sawiris blind…