Watching Villa yesterday evening against Liverpool was like watching a completely different team. We showed character, desire and skill throughout the match, which is promising.
On Monday evening, against Arsenal, we looked like the usual Villa, slow on the ball and a team with few ideas. For the second half, the players came out and caused Arsenal real problems and the drive shown was extremely promising.
A couple of days later, we finally saw some signings come in, which always gets fans talking. The loan deal for Grant Holt was one I was rather negative about. Although he offers the experience we are looking for and it’s great to see Lambert finally realise we do need more experience in the team, Holt was not even playing regularly for Wigan, a team in the league below Villa, and it could be argued he is past his best. After seeing him replace Gabby early in the second half yesterday, it became clear that he still has some quality and is another player who will be able to hold the ball up.
I was also very impressed with left back Bertrand, who seemed calm and collected, always trying to pass the ball out rather than the usual hoof up field we see from Luna.
In the first thirty-five minutes we outplayed Liverpool on their own turf, playing some great attacking football. Our front three of Benteke, Weimann and Gabby looked back to their best and our midfielders passed the ball around on the floor, which worked very well and allowed us to find gaps in Liverpool’s formation. It was a shame to let a two goal lead slip but Liverpool played some good football and were awarded a soft penalty. The Villa team of a few weeks back would have crumbled under pressure and maybe let in another goal to lose the match but the players showed grit and the back four stayed tight, making it difficult for Liverpool’s danger men to get through.
Villa fans, and indeed all those of a claret and blue persuasion, need to look at yesterday’s performance and question why we don’t always put in performances like that. It’s clear to me that pressing the ball and passing it around works brilliantly with our set-up, as we have a young, energetic team. Lambert got the tactics spot on yesterday and it was a breath of fresh air to watch Villa put in a performance to be proud of. For the first time in weeks, the boys in claret and blue did us all proud. If they are able to build on the confidence gained from yesterday’s game and keep scoring, I have no doubt that Villa will be fine this season.
This week could be an exciting one for Villa fans as Lambert may look to make a few new additions after seeing the improvement to the squad so far. The Villa we saw yesterday is the Villa we always want to see.
Today, I have put on my claret and blue shirt and am wearing it with pride.