League wins are always welcome, particularly when your last one came 156 days ago. Aston Villa’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace was long overdue and thoroughly deserved, with every player showing the fight and determination that have sadly been lacking all season. Joleon Lescott’s second half header was fumbled over the line by Crystal Palace keeper Wayne Hennessey and was the stroke of luck we needed to end our run without a win. Rémi Garde’s men produced a performance full of desire, energy and commitment and all of this was epitomised by one player in particular, Ghanaian forward Jordan Ayew.
Ayew was signed from Lorient in the summer and, along with Rudy Gestede, he was tasked with scoring the goals the Villans had previously relied heavily . Unfortunately, Ayew’s Aston Villa career began slowly and he struggled to adapt to the rigours of Premier League football during the early part of the season. His first real performance of note came as a second half substitute against Birmingham City in the Capital One Cup, where his pace and trickery troubled the Blues’ defence and helped the Villans through to the next round. His first league goal came at home to Swansea City and he has since gone on to become our most dangerous attacking weapon. He has five league goals to his name this season, including a goal of the season contender in the 1-1 draw with Newcastle United at St. James’ Park.
However, it’s not the goal return that has impressed me over the last few games. Jordan Ayew looks as though he genuinely cares about Aston Villa Football Club and appears to set the standard for the level of performance and effort that he expects from his team-mates. He plays with a never say die attitude and great determination. He also demonstrates great composure and ability on the ball. Supporters want to see the Villans playing with great passion and fight, which Ayew has shown each time he has stepped on to the field. It was clear from his reactions after finding the net against Newcastle and West Ham United that he hasn’t given up hope of avoiding the drop.
Although we were victorious last night against the Eagles, it looks as though we have given ourselves far too much work to do to avoid relegation. However, it is refreshing to see Jordan Ayew playing with such pride and determination considering the dire situation that we find ourselves in. He hasn’t given up – and neither should we.