September is a massive month for everyone connected to Aston Villa Football Club, as this month involves three derbies and a visit to Merseyside rounds off the month. However, there is one game in particular that Aston Villa fans are eagerly anticipating and that is the game against Birmingham City on September 22nd. It is a cup fixture many Villa fans have been hoping to see for the past four years.
The vast majority of the first team players haven’t experienced the atmosphere and intensity of a second city derby before and the new boys may be in for shock, as they may not have experienced a derby quite like this. One player who has experienced plenty of games against Birmingham City is Gabriel Agbonlahor, the club captain, who always appears to be pumped up for derby games and more often than not ends up on the score sheet.
Agbonlahor has received what I feel is deserved criticism this season, due to his lack of quality. This was evident against Crystal Palace when the forward fluffed his chances on two occasions during the first half of the match. Faced with his one-on-one chance, he tried to flick the ball with the outside of his boot. The next opportunity came in a dangerous crossing position. However, Agbonlahor tried to use the same technique and got the ball stuck beneath his feet.
Jack Grealish is another player who will be on Villans’ minds in the run up to the Birmingham City game, as he is another local lad who will know the importance of this fixture. It is important that teams contain players who have grown up knowing what it feels like to be a fan watching on against local rivals and that is what the club has got in Jack Grealish. He is a player who likes to commit and isn’t afraid to be kicked about by enticing the opposing defenders into challenges.
Pace may be the Villa team’s biggest strength, with players such as Agbonlahor, Adama and Sinclair capable of causing defenders to have nightmares. It will be interesting to see how Sherwood utilises that weapon, one which only has limited ammunition, as in space of nine days the team will be stretched from playing games against Leicester City, West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham City. Tim Sherwood could prioritise getting more points on the board in the Premier League or decide that he wants another go at leading the club back toWembley.
It would be nice to secure three wins in the derbies and then grab another win at Anfield but that is easier said than done. Over the years, Villa supporters have often been left disappointed by the club but since Tim Sherwood arrived there has been a renewed sense of optimism around the club.
Let’s just hope the positivity can extend beyond the month of September!