After two years away Aston Villa are back in the big time. It was an incredibly topsy-turvy season for the Villans but rejuvenated under Dean Smith, they peaked at the right time and then beat Derby in thrilling fashion at Wembley to return to the Premier League.
For large parts of the play-off final they were excellent and throughout, they were led by one of their most enigmatic characters in Anwar El Ghazi.
The Dutchman, who signed on loan from Lille at the start of the campaign, has been inconsistent to say the least but when it mattered, he was on hand to open the scoring for his side at the end of the first half.
He ghosted in at the back post from Ahmed Elmohamady’s ball into the box and was able to capitalise on Jayden Bogle’s lapse in concentration to head home.
It was a huge goal from the winger and this may represent his finest moment yet. The 24-year-old has previously scored in the Nou Camp for Ajax but this had far more riding on it, £170m in fact.
But it may also have had a lot riding on it for El Ghazi on a personal level. He admitted at the final whistle that he wanted to stay at Villa, sharing his love for the club after achieving promotion.
Fortunately for him, there is an option to buy this summer. Surely following this performance they’ll look to trigger it? Villa would be foolish not to.
His display wasn’t just typified in the goal, however, but his all-round contribution to the tie was immense.
He gave Bogle a torrid afternoon, completing four dribbles as he ran rampant down the left-hand side. That was again evident when he was allowed to cut inside and fire a deflected shot towards goal which John McGinn found the net from.
Rather surprisingly, El Ghazi was also effective in defence, making two tackles as he showed his commitment to the cause by tracking back.
If there was ever a game that merited signing a player permanently from, this was it. Rated at €5m (£4.5m), per Transfermarkt, Villa may end up not having to pay very much for his services.
Stepping up to the Premier League will be a hard task, but given his technical qualities, there are plenty of reasons to suggest he has what it takes at a higher level.