Tiny Steps

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Before yesterday, the last time the Villans scored two goals was in mid-December against Leicester City. Since that victory, Paul Lambert’s side has gone on a rotten run, failing to win other than in the last round of the FA Cup. In fact, the only goal came in the third round of the FA Cup as well. The faltering form and scary scoring record have left some fans questioning why they even bother to watch Villa. This feeling is understandable considering that the most entertaining thing to happen at Villa Park in the past few weeks was the appearance of a new flag in the Holte End!

When Aston Villa Football Club was first linked with the Spaniard Carles Gil, fans wondered who he was. Former team-mate Carlos Sanchez gave him a glowing report. Since joining, he has settled in rather well. Against Liverpool, he appeared as a second-half substitute. Gil troubled the opposition and his set piece delivery was spot on. Against Bournemouth, he started. Gil caused massive problems for the Cherries, the side with the best goal-scoring record in England. In the fifty-first minute, he lit up Villa Park. 27,415 fans were treated to a world-class finish when the wizard went to work. He came off to rapturous applause. Maybe he could be just what the team needed.

Another pleasing aspect of the game against Bournemouth was the clinical nature of the finishing by Gil and Weimann, who is now our top scorer; a mighty total of four goals gives him that crown. The goal of the season – Gil’s – was decided in this game but both goals were worthy of an award. Weimann looked like the sort of player we saw when he first burst onto the scene. His astute, clinical finish amazed some fans, as Weimann showed that something had clicked for him.

Benteke is still a concern, however. Goals are not coming easily to him and he needs a real pick-me-up. Some difficult games lie ahead but that challenge could be exactly what the big Belgian needs.

The news that Delph has signed a new four-and-a-half year deal, keeping him at Villa until 2019, was heartening. Injuries plagued him but fans and Lambert stuck by the Bradford-born midfielder, who is now an England international. Delph’s loyalty will be appreciated by fans. I personally applaud him. We all moan that there is no loyalty in football but Delph has shown true loyalty. We can now look forward to seeing him play and fight for the club.

Paul Lambert was dangling on a ledge before the Bournemouth game. He is still hanging on that ledge. The performance yesterday was typical of Paul Lambert, who manages to pull out a result when one is most needed. He set the team up in a way fans have craved and it paid dividends. In the post-match interview,  his favourite words “brilliant” and “excellent” could have been used. He didn’t use them. Is that another positive? I think so.

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