TalkSPORT pundit Adrian Durham argued that Aston Villa are incredibly dependent on Jack Grealish – before the Villans stormed to a rousing comeback win against Watford that boosted their hopes of Premier League survival.
In labelling Villa a one-man team, Durham was made to look a little bit silly as goals from Douglas Luiz and Tyrone Mings sealed a superb three points after Dean Smith’s side went behind to Troy Deeney’s first-half header. Speaking on TalkSPORT prior to the game, Durham insisted that there would be no hope for Villa if Grealish was injured, before the team’s supporting stars came to the fore to seal a dramatic victory.
Durham said: “Have they turned into Aston Grealish? Because of all those sides down there, this is a one-man team. No-one would wish an injury on any player, but if Jack Grealish got injured in the game tonight and was out for the rest of the season, Aston Villa are down.
“I don’t think I can remember seeing a side so dependent on one player as this Aston Villa side and that’s not healthy.”
Will Jack Grealish leave Aston Villa in 2020?
In fairness to Durham, there is little doubting the effect that Grealish has had on the side given his contribution of goals and assists from midfield this season. That said, Tuesday’s performance saw Villa demonstrate both their range of individual talents as well as their collective character in coming from behind to win without the direct assistance of Grealish.
Indeed, six players (including Grealish) received a match rating from WhoScored of over 7/10 as defender Kortney Hause topped the rankings, thanks in part perhaps to winning a huge 11 aerials throughout the game. In fact, four of Villa’s back five achieved as high a rating (while Ezri Konsa earned a respectable 6.96/10) – so much for a team that finished the game as the Premier League’s joint-worst defence.
But what they proved is that Grealish can only do so much on his own, while it seems their chances of survival are far greater when the backline pitches in to the extent that they did yesterday.
So while Villa may not fare too well as a one-man team, it would be extremely difficult for them to maintain that label off the back of such a well-rounded performance.
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