We started the season strongly against Arsenal: it was very impressive to see how tight the Villa unit is, showing great spirit to come from behind to break Arsenal’s record to ensure their first home defeat on the opening weekend of the season in 20 years and give Villa only their sixth victory in 28 visits to the Gunners. Paul Lambert has assembled the side to be strong mentally from the start of the game, with the players lining up seriously with barely a laugh or smile in sight and the now usual team huddle showing the unit started by Lambert. Furthermore, Lambert has always kept to his ethos of a high tempo game with quick interchanging to launch various attacks, as shown in the game against Arsenal.
Gabby Agbonlahor has looked a changed player since the turn of the year with his lightning pace being used effectively for once. Also, he has started to produce assists, showing amazing skill to dribble into the Arsenal box to win the first penalty of two then providing the cross which set up the thumping Christian Benteke goal last night against Chelsea.
Furthermore, we have shown we can hold our own: Chelsea dominated in the first half last night and only once we conceded from the pressure and the goal was a fluke! Despite conceding from a set-piece last night, the defence is arguably much improved this term. In addition, in the second half we deserved to win as we had more attempts on goal and had more desire to go out and win. Sadly, the cutting edge of Chelsea showed, even though it’s arguable that Ivanovic should have been sent off by the point when he scored.
The Villa should now be taken seriously and not be seen as a joke of a team under Lambert because of the new policy he has brought in. The team is much improved on last season and the start we have made shows the fans have many reasons to be optimistic as the side has shown glimpses that a top ten finish could be on the horizon.
The starting 11 in sense of the team sheet is not much different to last season but the attitude has changed and the experience is now appearing to help Villa develop. The side have the personnel to hurt any team on the counter-attack. This will be vital to the side picking up more points away from home this season. Also, there is surely desire for more this season from Lambert than just a comfortable finishing position. It is obvious we can have a excellent season and we hope that is the case. There are many more positives than negatives as we head into the weekend clash against Liverpool.
As always, feel free to respond to this article with a comment showing your views on what I’ve discussed as I know many may disagree with my words. UTV!
I think the biggest thing we have to thank PL for is giving Gabby a chance to get fit for the first time in over 2 years he’s playing without any niggles and without carrying injuries. PL had the balls to drop him and tell him to get fit rather than following the MON GH and AM line of we need him at all costs so even if he’s not 100% he still plays.
we were robbed by a ref in a Chelsea shirt who should have gone to specsavers UTV
To come away from Stamford Bridge and be disappointed we got nothing show how far we have come.
I agree with you villa in Spain. We have got one of the best attacking line ups in the prem. we can hurt anybody. As long as the midfield and defence do their job properly this squad can be our best in many many years. Also we have numerous options to change things now thanks to PL an his staff. 2 things stand out for me 1- Delph is looking awesome 2-Bentekes all round threat is troubling the best defences which is giving Gabby the space to flourish.
I think the most improvement so far is our mid and defence. Chelsea could hardly pass it through our midfield yesterday (much better than last season), and the defence were tight, compact, held their shape, and marked really well. With Vlaar, Baker, Clark, and Okore it seems we have 4 solid CB’s and with Luna adding a little more grit at the left back and Matty down the right I don’t see us conceding nearly as many this season.
For me what we can expect for this season would be that in recent times playing away from home we are one of the best counter attacking teams in the league.
Our home form last season wasn’t great, it’ll be interesting to see how Lambert addresses this and turn Villa Park into a fortress again. A change in formation? the introduction of Tonev or Helenius? or perhaps a new Mersonesque type player will be recruited before the transfer window closes, my shout would be Yoann Gourcuff. Now this may sound ambitious to some but the fact that reports say Newcastle are in for him suggests we could compete with that offer. He was recently quoted in saying that he would take a pay cut for an Arsenal switch too.
Anyway ramble over, I think Lamberts doing a smashing job and we should offer him a new contract ASAP!