Jonjo Shelvey scored a stunning goal as Swansea City dragged Aston Villa deeper into relegation trouble with a 4-1 win.
Paul Lambert's side came into the weekend four points above the drop zone, but saw that gap reduced following a defeat in which Shelvey provided a moment of pure quality at the Liberty Stadium. The midfielder capitalised on a poor Ron Vlaar attempted clearance to find the back of the net from the edge of the centre circle to put Swansea back in front, as the hosts recorded their first back-to-back Premier League wins since December 2012 and eased any lingering fears of relegation.
Leading scorer Wilfried Bony had given Swansea a 10th-minute lead, before Gabriel Agbonlahor pulled Villa level from close range 12 minutes later. Pablo Hernandez then fired home from 12 yards in the 73rd minute and just as at Newcastle United, Bony scored from the penalty spot in time added on after Nathan Baker had fouled Marvin Emnes.
Bony scored both goals in Swansea’s victory at Newcastle United last Saturday and wasted no time in adding to his goal tally seven days on. The Ivorian was the grateful recipient of a Shelvey through-ball 10 minutes in, and beat Brad Guzan with a clinical finish to put the hosts in front.
Marc Albrighton, whose future at Villa beyond the end of this season is yet to be resolved, was first to threaten the Swansea goal with a 20-yard effort that drifted wide of the left-hand post. One of the visitor’s brighter sparks, the winger was the architect for team-mate Agbonlahor's leveller, with his cross from the right allowing the striker to tap home in the 22nd minute for his first goal in 12 matches - and his second against Swansea this season.
The visitors' joy was short-lived, though, as Shelvey’s sublime strike restored Swansea's lead four minutes later. The midfielder knocked the ball down from Vlaar's attempt to clear, before beating Guzan with an audacious long-range right-foot strike that swerved into the top corner.
Shelvey clearly had an eye for goal and forced Guzan into a diving save after the break, before Jonathan de Guzman poked just wide of the left-hand upright after being picked out by a Wayne Routledge pass. Swansea then gave themselves some breathing space in the 73rd minute, when Shelvey found an unmarked Hernandez with a cross from the right - the Spaniard cutting inside and smashing home from 12 yards for his first goal since September.
In stoppage time, things went from bad to worse for Villa, as substitute Emnes was felled in the box by Baker and Bony coolly slotted home in a carbon copy of Swansea’s second goal at St James' Park last weekend.
Swansea City head coach Gary Monk: “It was a fantastic result. Four goals and a good team performance is what you want. We started well, got the goal, but Villa came back into it, and for ten or 15 minutes they were the dominant side. They pinned us back a bit and deserved their equaliser.
“But Jonjo’s spectacular goal gave us confidence and that feeling of being back on top. In the second-half, we were totally dominant in every aspect. We’ve been in positions before when we’ve led at half-time but come out and been punished. But today we started well, and there was only one team in that second-half.
“There was some great passing, great movement and some great goals. But we don’t want to rest. I said to the players beforehand that we want at least 40 points. We want to finish strong and finish on a positive – that’s the message we want to send out.”
“He came in shouting goal of the season, which is typical of Jonjo! It was brilliant. He’s got that in his locker – that technique. It was no fluke. To have that vision, not many players can do that. It was a fantastic goal and an important goal at an important time of the match. The goal came at a crucial moment, which gave everyone confidence. You forget he is only 21 because he has so much potential.”
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert: "I am really disappointed to lose. We started the game really well. We lost a goal but we deservedly got back into the match with a really good one ourselves. We got ourselves back into it. We then lost a poor goal. That second was a major turning point. It was a great finish but it was an error on our part. There wasn't much too much in it at that time. The second goal was the turning point though. The third goal took the wind out of our sails. The fourth goal was disappointing.
"We still need one more win. It's a must-win match next week. It's a cup final. We have to win it. They are three really tough games to finish. It's not a position we want to be in. But we are. Next week's is a must-win."
|11 May 2014||v Sunderland (A)|
|03 May 2014||v Southampton (H)|
|26 Dec 2014||v Swansea (H)|
|29 Dec 2014||v Liverpool (A)|
|01 Jan 2015||v QPR (A)|
|10 Jan 2015||v Swansea (H)|