Villa fans can feel vindicated by the recent run of not only points but eye-catching attacking football. It had become boring and predictable under Steve Bruce. We needed to modernise on the pitch and under Dean Smith we are clearly demonstrating we had the players to do it. As Alex highlights it is more than just a new manager bounce and I feel Tammy Abraham is a great example of this.
Initially, I was underwhelmed by Tammy. A player who’s glorious form at Bristol City was widely acknowledged. A young player who had been a part of the England squad, a lot was expected. In recent weeks he has surpassed those expectations. Abraham has become the Talisman for Aston Villa. Scoring in each of his last 4 games and 7 goals in total. Impressive form for any professional football but it has not just been his goal-scoring that has improved. Under Smith, his all-around play and contribution to both our attacking and defensive play have been impressive.
The whole team has been revitalised under Smith as Tammy demonstrates with his work rate. It is a cliché to say he is the first line of defence but it is evident that the philosophy Smith employs on the training pitch has been applied by Abraham. It is not about just pressing for the sake of it but it has meaning and tactical nous behind it. Increasing the likelihood that the ball can be recycled higher up the pitch.
The Chelsea loanee striker can be often be seen gesticulating the message to players behind him. He has high expectations, matching those of the club and fans. He also contributes to the team’s ability to defend set pieces. There is no longer the height in the first 11 Villa have previously utilised so for Abraham to assist in this area is another bonus.
Abrahams heading ability is proving to be effective, especially in the opposition box. The striker has scored 3 headed goals this season – all under Smith’s management. Being blessed with the wingers we have at our disposal is important. They know when to cross and when not to cross to avoid things becoming too predictable. Having Abraham getting on the end of those crosses heightens our attacking impetus.
All 11 of his goals scored this season have come inside the penalty box. In fact, I struggle to recall him even taking a shot from outside the area. He is a clever footballer, demonstrated by his defensive press and his use of the ball in and around the opposition area. It is no real surprise with the education he would have received at Chelsea. That on top of his physical capabilities make him such an effective focal point in attack.
The one thing you may describe as surprising is his desire. Too often in the modern game, talented young players don’t appear to have the desire to match their ability. Especially when they go on loan to another club but he seems to have brought into Villa’s vision. You could say similar to the way Robert Snodgrass did last season.
On the face of it, he has a tremendous desire to win, demonstrated by his expressive nature on the pitch. Whether this is after a miss or even a goal. Fans love to see that and it is what you expect to see from someone playing for your club. Coupled with the goals, this is something that has endeared him so quickly to the fans.
Those points I have mentioned have contributed to him becoming un-droppable from Smith’s side. It also explains the rumours that suggest he could get an early re-call from Chelsea. In my opinion, they are exactly that though, rumours.
For me, I believe that Abraham is very good at this level. With his ability and desire, he will play at the highest level for years to come.