The midfielder bagged a brilliant goal, while Wilfried Bony and Pablo Hernandez were also on the scoreline as Paul Lambert's side slumped to a potentially damaging defeatSwansea City recorded a vital 4-1 win over Aston Villa on Saturday to move further clear of the relegation zone as the season draws to a close.
A Wilfried Bony brace and goals from Jonjo Shelvey and Pablo Hernandez gave Garry Monk's men victory, with Shelvey netting the pick of the goals.
|By Alex Moretto
Raucous applause rained down on Garry Monk’s team as the final whistle sounded, having picked up a vital three points that all but assured they will be playing Premier League football next season.
Jonjo Shelvey’s goal of the year candidate put Swansea in front for good and Wilfried Bony continued his brilliant form with a brace of his own, as the Welsh outfit secured a deserved victory thanks to a dominating performance in front of their home fans.
The loss for Aston Villa was their fifth in six matches, leaving Paul Lambert’s side with work still to do as they enter the final three weeks of the season. The absence of Christian Benteke loomed large once again as the Villains failed to muster much of anything in attack, often stading around in awe, watching Jonjo Shelvey single handily push them closer to the drop.
Swansea can relax now through their final league matches while Aston Villa will need to pick up another victory before all is said and done, with next week’s visit from Hull City seemingly their best chance, with trips to Old Trafford and White Hart Lane still to come in the season’s final two weeks. We will see what sort of fight Lambert’s men have left in them, as they laid down without so much as a whimper this afternoon 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 give Swansea a 2-1 lead, 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 advantage, 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, Bony scored from the penalty spot in time added on after Nathan Baker had fouled Marvin Emnes.
The result lifts Swansea eight points clear of the relegation zone, while Villa boss Lambert may now be a little more concerned over his future, with speculation mounting that chairman Randy Lerner is looking to sell the club.
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 precise 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.
But 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 games - 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 bad attempt to clear, before beating Guzan with an audacious long-range right-foot strike - a sure-fire goal-of-the-season contender.
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.
And things went from bad to worse Villa in stoppage time, 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.