Jack Grealish returned from injury with a bang yesterday, hitting a stunning volley and putting in a dominating midfield display, and he could take Aston Villa right into the play-offs.
Villa beat Derby County 4-0 at Villa Park on Saturday in what many have said to be their best performance all season, and it’s no coincidence that it aligned with the end to Grealish’s 13 games out injured. They’d won just two of those games without the 23-year-old and it was clear to see what they were missing.
The Englishman was handed the captain’s armband for the game, and controlled the tempo of the play well, making for a dominant display for his side, whose win completed a double over Frank Lampard’s men. This showing seemed like a Villa side capable of climbing from 11thback into the play-off places despite having a long way to go.
Only six points split them and sixth-placed Bristol City, but there are four other teams between them so it’s hard to see where all those teams will slip up to give Villa a chance. But if they perform like they did on Saturday and keep winning, then other teams drop points, there’s certainly a chance to make a last-ditch attempt at the play-offs.
The fitness of Jack Grealish will be key to this fight but his absence has made the going much tougher, however, more improbable things have happened and yesterday proved they’re capable of beating anyone. With a fully fit Grealish for a season, Villa fans would certainly fancy themselves for promotion, but is it too late for them to go up this season?