Aston Villa could only manage a draw against lowly Reading in a frustrating Championship match for Dean Smith’s men.
The Villans created chances but Reading held firm thanks to some stout defending, some good saves from Emi Martinez and the woodwork.
But there were positives to take from this performance, including the defending. Aston Villa picked up a rare clean sheet and finally stemmed the flow of goals conceded.
After 29 games, Aston Villa had already conceded a staggering 46 goals, which ranked them among the leakiest teams in the league.
But with a new central defensive partnership, Aston Villa finally managed to keep their opposition at bay.
Tommy Elphick, who spent the first half of the season at Hull City, was paired with new signing Tyrone Mings.
Aston Villa signed Mings from Bournemouth just before the January transfer window deadline and he immediately impressed.
Elphick and Mings were dominant in the air and did not give Reading a sniff, ensuring Aston Villa were able to keep a clean sheet.
Here are some things Aston Villa fans are saying about their new defensive partnership.
Thoughts on #avfc yesterday. Looked a whole lot better in defence, Mings & Elphick look like they could be a decent partnership while Chester is out. Kalinic had his best game in goal for us.
— Simon Lines (@simonlines) February 3, 2019
Back in North Wales from Reading. So disappointed. Taylor, Anwar, Adomah, Whelan & Hutton awful. Hurrihane pedestrian. Only McGinn – as ever – Tammy, Elphick & Mings, who looked brilliant, deserve any credit. Kalinic was excellent, two great saves. Another 2 points lost. #AVFC
— Kevin Hughes (@kevinhughes348) February 2, 2019
Thought Mings & Elphick looked a pretty good partnership today, really solid. If you take Jedinak's nightmare CB performances away, we know he's a solid CDM. So, positives there ???
Our wingers are a concern. Just look void of ideas. Need to feed Tammy more, & better #AVFC
— Villabone (@villabone) February 2, 2019
Thought Elphick was class today, and Mings had a great debut. Taylor still a huge weakness though.
— Michael (@mcartlidge275) February 2, 2019
Good performances from Kalinic, Mings and particularly Elphick. Super John great and AEG also good. The rest? Bang average at best. Midfield of Super Jack, Super John and Mile might be quite exciting. #indeanwetrust #avfc
— DeanSmith4King (@smith4_dean) February 2, 2019
How much better did Elphick look today next to Mings? Mings is quality
— Andrew Stone (@andrewstone85) February 2, 2019
We played well, Elphick and Mings looked solid, just a shame we couldn’t get the ball in the net! Other than that all good ??
— georgie green (@geovilla77) February 2, 2019
Disappointing with the result today, Elphick and Mings absolutely fantastic
— MB (@MattyAVFC_) February 2, 2019