Momentum is the key word for this weekend.

Several of our players and staff had fruitful international breaks and if that success can be replicated for Villa then we have a chance to build some league momentum after a tough run of games.

Fabian Delph played an hour on Sunday against Estonia and contributed to a professional, if uninspiring, victory. He was tidy in possession and didn’t really put a foot wrong. He combined well with Wilshere and Henderson to provide the team with a solid midfield base upon which to build and was unlucky to be chosen as the player to make way in the second half.

Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland side drew with world champions Germany in dramatic circumstances, having previously smashed Gibraltar 7-0. Roy Keane helped to ensure that his Irish players matched the best team in the world so let’s hope he can do the same for the Villans this Saturday as they travel to Goodison Park.

Alan Hutton also had a great break, helping Scotland to beat Georgia and unluckily drawing with Poland, while Jores Okore managed ninety minutes in an U21 qualifier.

Our representatives, on the whole, did us proud while playing for their countries. There is now the chance for these players to bring their confidence and good form back to Aston Villa Football Club. Those who stayed behind have had the opportunity to regain fitness and energy after a brutal few fixtures so, on paper, the squad is in good shape before the big Everton match.

With players like Guzan, Given, Hutton, Vlaar, Senderos, Delph, Cleverley, Benteke, Bent, Agbonlahor, Cole and Sanchez, the squad currently has a nice balance of experienced internationals and exciting younger players like Westwood, Weimann, Grealish and Bacuna.

The squad is going to need that balance and depth if we are going to hold our own against teams like Everton that, in recent years, we have struggled against.

Perhaps the only downside to the international break is the injury that Senderos picked up. If Vlaar is not back by the weekend then there could potentially be some problems. I argued a few weeks ago that I thought, if fit, it was nearing the time to play Okore. I think that, having played the whole game against Iceland on Tuesday, the young Dane is ready. Clark is simply not up to it and if Okore is to be the long term partner for Vlaar so why not get him started now?

It will be interesting to see how we do against Everton on Saturday. I hope to see an accomplished and confident performance from players slowly regaining their feet and hoping to make Aston Villa a top half side once more.


  1. How can we possibly build any momentum when we are constantly losing our key players to injury? I know it’s part and parcel of the game, but we have had already, not even 10 games, in some really bad luck with injury. We don’t have the resources squad-wise to cope without a player like Delph – our midfield is average with him in it, without him unbalanced and poor. Sorry to sound so negative just can’t expect to compete with any team at this level without our better players – that’s a fact. If we had the squad of say a team like Spurs then we would have a fighting chance but we don’t. Best we will get against Everton is a draw and that’s if they continue to defend badly and we play well. There is a lot of pressure on Benteke to score the goals and what people have to realise is this is a bad injury he is coming back from and he may never be the same again. It would not surprise me if it’s a narrow defeat tomorrow. We used to be equals, Villa and Everton. Those days have gone.

  2. I know where you are coming from. The Everton game acted like a barometer. It was an opportunity to see how far we have come in the last three years. Are we slowly clawing our way back to the dizzy heights of upper mid-table or are we having to be content with only just being better than the likes of Stoke and Hull? There is no doubting our squad is better than when Lambert first joined but with costly training ground injuries the team is always going to be held back. What I was getting at by talking about momentum is whether the strong start to the season we had can be replicated after a torrid few matches which will have knocked the players’ confidence. We had a chance to hit back after those games against Everton who have not had the best start to the season but I am now worried those three matches, coming consecutively could have a disatrous impact on the rest of the season and our good start feels like years ago. It seems we are still no where near the quality of Everton but anything other than a win against QPR next week who have been nothing short of awful this year (written before today’s Liverpool match so lets hope they don’t have the game of their lives) will be a real worry.


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