What a brilliant week it has been for Albion fans! We followed up our 2-0 victory over Wolves with a 2-1 triumph at Villa Park – the first time we had won there in 32 years.
Despite falling behind to a Darren Bent penalty midway through the first half, the admittedly harsh sending off of Chris Herd helped us find a way back into the game soon after.
It looked as though we would be going into the half-time break 1-0 down after Chris Brunt had sent a penalty woefully wide and into the Holte End, but Jonas Olsson scored from a Brunt corner in the last minute of the half to bring us back on level terms.
Paul Scharner scored what proved to be the winner 12 minutes into the second half, when he sent an outstanding left-footed effort from another Brunt corner past Shay Given and in off the underside of the crossbar to give Albion a deserved lead. Unfortunately, Scharner was then shown a booking for revealing the now famous shirt containing a drawing of the Albion crest as he celebrated with the euphoric travelling support.
We enjoyed most of the possession in the closing stages, but were unable to wrap the game up and consequently ensured that it would be a nervous last few minutes.
Thankfully, we were able to see out the last few minutes comfortably and end yet another poor run against a particular side or at a particular ground.
Even though we dominated most of the game, some Aston Villa supporters have used the harsh sending off of Herd as an excuse for our victory. They have obviously forgotten how well we played with ten men for most of the second half when we beat them at The Hawthorns last season!
Herd was adjudged to have stamped on Olsson, although I did not see this from the away end and replays also appear to suggest that there was nothing even resembling a stamp.
However, I believe that Phil Dowd may have been looking for a reason to make up for the fact that he had failed to send off Alan Hutton for a disgraceful challenge on Shane Long, which has left the striker facing up to six weeks on the sidelines. Hutton’s challenge was so high that it has chipped some of the bone on Long’s knee but, for whatever reason, Dowd did not deem this dangerous enough to warrant a red card.
Ignoring the controversy surrounding our victory, it also saw some brilliant performances from several of our players. Olsson and Scharner were our stand-out performers, with their respective goals capping off outstanding individual displays.
Gareth McAuley was also very impressive at the back, as was Billy Jones, who has now undoubtedly made the left-back spot his own.
Three in a row
This weekend sees us take on Roy Hodgson’s former club Liverpool at The Hawthorns, as we look to secure our third successive Premier League victory.
Thinking about this fixture immediately takes me back to last season, when we beat Liverpool in dramatic fashion at The Hawthorns thanks to two penalties from Brunt, the second of which came after 89 minutes! A similar result again would be brilliant, although I acknowledge that Liverpool are a totally different proposition this season and will be desperate to win after drawing their previous two league games.
The only decision I think Hodgson has to make regarding team selection is who to replace the injured Long with, as the rest of the players have been too impressive recently to be dropped. I would start with Somen Tchoyi and Peter Odemwingie up front on Saturday, with Simon Cox coming on with around 20 minutes remaining if needed.
Hopefully we can produce another impressive performance and if we play well, maybe follow up our two derby victories with another positive result!
Can Albion continue their winning run against Liverpool on Saturday? Have your say here at Baggies Banter.