After a lengthy break for Aston Villa, the boys return with a difficult encounter with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
The senior players haven’t played since their 2-1 home victory against West Ham United on the 10th February. Many fans were relieved and there is a newfound belief with a large proportion of the Villa fan base that the club might just get away from the drop zone after all. Many fans have commented saying this is the much needed break Villa needed to work on certain tactics and set pieces whilst out of the limelight.
Manager Paul Lambert called for the senior team to produce results on the pitch rather than performances. This showed at stages against West Ham, some parts of the game were not pretty but it just shows how much Villa have improved since that second half against Newcastle.
Many would feel that second half against The Magpies was the turning point in our season, including myself. Since then, Villa pulled off a 3 all draw away at Goodison and secured 3 points against West Ham at home.
Villa showed they can produce when called upon and, watching the footage back, you can see that players are not only willing to put their bodies on the line but also willing to chase down and get the ball. Villa’s own Dion Dublin pointed out on Match of The Day 2 that the Villa players were always looking to receive the ball and were playing triangles.
The likes of Clarke and Baker played massive parts against The Irons, but the main person who stood out was French midfielder, Charles N’Zogbia. The Frenchman has come of age and the Villa faithful are finally seeing the Charlie who kept his former side Wigan from going down with a superb individual effort. Westwood looks settled in the centre on midfield with Delph and things are slowly but surely coming together at the right time for Lambert.
Lambert, however, is looking at the next 12 games as cup finals. If Villa can pull off 7 points in the next 4 games, this would surely secure Villa’s future in the Premier League for one more season.
“We lost two-goal leads against Manchester United, West Brom and Everton. It’s tough when that happens because those points could have made a major difference.
“But it’s happened and you just have to keep going. There’s no point in looking back and thinking ‘we should have got points here and there’.
“From now on in it’s 12 cup finals and that’s the way we have to view it. We have to be ready for it and win more times than not.”
Lambert has sensed the determination amongst his young squad to win the battle to remain in the top flight.
“The feeling to try to win is there. When you get knocked and knocked at every opportunity…you have to take the game by the scruff of the neck and influence it.
“The last few games we have thought ‘we’ll have some of this’. You can’t go out and play football like it’s a hobby.
“It’s your job to win. The confidence is high at the moment.”
Lambert is hopeful that he will have Charles N’Zogbia and Agbonlahor available to face the Gunners.
Have Villa turned a corner? How do you feel about Paul Lambert? Would 7 points from the next 4 be enough to secure Premier League football next season?
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