Garth Crooks has named Ross Barkley in his BBC Sport Team of the Week following Aston Villa’s stunning win over Arsenal on Sunday, but insisted that he also saw masterful performances from Jack Grealish, Tyrone Mings, and Ezri Konsa.
The Villans are back on track after suffering back-to-back defeats. They were outstanding at the Emirates, fully deserving their 3-0 victory.
In fact, they may actually be disappointed that they did not win by more. Mings and Konsa helped ensure that Emiliano Martinez was given little to do in goal.
Meanwhile, the likes Grealish, Barkley, Douglas Luiz and John McGinn dominated the midfield battle with the Gunners.
The really decisive goal came when Villa got their second with just 18 minutes remaining. Arsenal had enjoyed a better spell leading up to that moment, with Mikel Arteta’s substitutions giving the home side a boost.
However, the Villans produced a moment of magic to double their lead. Luiz picked out Barkley with a gorgeous ball into the box. And the Chelsea loanee then proceeded to hit a wonderful first-time volley across the line that left Ollie Watkins with a simple task.
Crooks decided that that moment saw Barkley do enough to make his Team of the Week. But he insisted that several other Villa players can count themselves unlucky to miss out.
“I thought Jack Grealish gave another masterful performance for Aston Villa at Arsenal, along with Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa,” he told BBC Sport.
“However, I decided to select Ross Barkley in my team because of his sensational assist for Ollie Watkins’ second goal. The 30-yard ball from Douglas Luiz to Barkley was pretty brilliant, but what then took place was something quite special.
“Barkley, without taking his eye off the ball, volleyed the most sensational cross from the byeline for Watkins to head home and seal the game for Villa. The level of skill, not to mention technique, required to perform such a pass takes extraordinary talent, but it also characterised the team’s performance.”
It was a huge statement from Villa to brush Arsenal aside so easily. In fairness, in both of their defeats to Leeds and Southampton, they were undone by moments of brilliance. And in spells in both games, Villa were excellent.
This was a reminder of what Villa, and Barkley – who earns £110,000-a-week, according to The Telegraph – are capable of. And the win has left Dean Smith’s back within touching distance of top spot in the Premier League heading into the international break.
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