Villa's teenage sensation put in another impressive display in Saturday's 3-2 defeat at Manchester City.
Jack Grealish couldn’t prevent Aston Villa from succumbing to a late 3-2 defeat at Manchester City in Saturday’s Premier League clash, but the 19-year-old attacker once again underlined his potential with another first-rate performance.
Villa founds themselves 1-0 down within the opening three minutes of the match after goalkeeper Brad Guzan’s sliced clearance allowed Sergio Aguero to open the scoring, before Aleksandar Kolarov's curling free-kick made it 2-0 with 66 minutes gone.
Tom Cleverley pulled one back with a low strike just two minutes later, however, as Villa were arguably the better of the two sides for most of the game, becoming the first team in six-and-a-half years to have the majority of the possession [55 per cent] at the Etihad Stadium.
Tim Sherwood’s men looked to have earned a crucial point towards their relegation battle in the 86th-minute too, when Carlos Sanchez’s first goal for the club made it 2-2, but a last-gasp Fernandinho strike saw them leave Manchester with nothing to show for their efforts.
The result aside, though, there were some clear positives to take from the match, including the performance of Grealish on his fourth consecutive start.
The emerging teenager has been earning rave reviews since coming into the starting line-up in recent weeks and this occasion was no different, as he further proved his talent against one of the top-flight’s toughest opponents.
His direct running and movement gave the home side’s defence all kinds of problems throughout the 90 minutes, and he could have had a first-half assist after a jinxing run and pass to Cleverley resulted in the Manchester United loanee completely fluffing his shot.
He allowed his midfield teammate to make amends after the break, however, showcasing his set-piece skills with a neat free-kick which led to his 68th-minute goal, while also finishing the match with an exceptional 90.9 per cent pass completion rate.
|Total Shots||Key Passes||Total Passes||Passing Accuracy||Total Crosses||Accurate Crosses||Duels Won||Duel Success||Total Dribbles||Successful Dribbles||Dispossessed||Mins Played|
In addition, the fearless Grealish stood out in several other areas, recording a team-leading three key passes, four crosses, 10 won duels and completing a hugely impressive seven of eight dribbles attempted over the course of the evening.
With four league games and the FA Cup final remaining, the Solihull-native looks like he is in the line-up for good now, and a similar showing when Everton visit Villa Park next weekend could be just enough to help secure three crucial points towards survival.
While former boss Paul Lambert proved reluctant to unleash the homegrown prospect, credit has to go to Sherwood for showing such faith in him and, under his new manager's tutelage, a bright future in the West Midlands looks to be ahead.