As far as weeks go, this has been as up down a week as it gets. Villa went from cup failures to title contenders. The midweek loss to yet another League One outfit has become all too familiar during the Lambert reign but still just as painful. The result was made even worst by the performance, or lack of one. The Villa only managed one measly shot on target at home against a team two divisions below them. Changed team or not this was truly not acceptable.
Fast-forward three days and Villa Park became a different place. The first half was the best 45 minutes I have seen from a claret and blue side in a long time, especially going forward. The team moved the ball with conviction and at a high tempo and looked dangerous throughout the half. Not only this but we pressed high, forced them long and then kept the ball well.
Stat of the Week – In the first 15 minutes Villa had 70% of the possession! This just shows that having the ball for more than 30% of the time could lead to better performances!
The second half saw the team retreat slightly and protect what we had. It was disappointing to see the Villa let Hull back into the game after dominating so much. However, they were still able to see the game out, when in the past would have sacrificed the lead.
Another positive of the week that deserves a mention was the overdue call up of Fabian Delph to the England squad.
Personally, I think England would have won the World Cup with Delph in the team! It would have meant a lot more to Delph if he got into the top three of MOMS Stars of the Week I know, but although he played extremely well he didn’t quite make it this week.
Aston Villa Star Players vs Hull City
3rd Place – Jack Grealish (1pt):
Another very impressive showing from the youngster in first team colours earns him Villa’s third best star of the week.
Grealish got seven bells kicked out of him by those dirty tigers; he certainly now knows what it’s like playing Sunday league football, if he ever wondered. What was refreshing to see was how the senior players stuck up for him and rallied round him like lions around a young cub. Even more encouraging was how even after having chunks kicked out of him, he had a smile on his face and looked up for the fight.
He provided a great outlet for us in the second half and put us on the front foot and gave us control in the game. He reminded me of what Ashley Young used to give us; you know when he was good and he became the most fouled player in the league.
We do need to try to avoid piling too much pressure on Grealish’s young shoulders, however initial signs look very promising.
2nd Place – Andreas Weimann (3pts):
With already two goals this season, Weimann maybe beginning to have his best and most prolific season for Villa. His first touch still goes missing at times and technically he can be lacking but he still knows where the goal is given the chance. His tenacity to and will to win makes him a nuisance for defences too. His link up play with Gabby on Sunday was superb and led to him bagging the assist for the opener. The link up between the pair of them seem to just suddenly click into gear and long may it continue!
1st Place – Gabby Agbonlahor (5pts):
Sunday was the best game Gabby has had in way too long. He terrorised the Hull defence like we all know he can do. At one point I think Dawson actually considered retirement. He harried the back three and ran at them with pace and power throughout the game. He showed great composure in taking his goal which was pleasing to see. This was the Gabby we know and want to see more often.
In my mind he doesn’t run at players and utilise his pace enough and is why his consistency is seriously lacking. He seems to be waiting for that next niggling injury to come along sometimes when he plays. I seriously hope that this is the not the only man of the match performance we see from him this year and he gives us a consistent threat throughout the season. Come on Gabby! Reward our faith!
The Villa Man Who Needs to ‘Pick Themselves Up and Go Again’.
Now, I would like to make it known that I was a big supporter of Bent. I think he was harshly treated by Lambert and some Villa fans forget that his goals were the reason we stayed up in the season he joined. Under a different manager with better support in the team, maybe he might have kicked-on in a Villa shirt.
This season though, he moves around the pitch like an old man and doesn’t seem capable of a sprint anymore. The Hull game supplied him with a big chance. A chance to settle the game and show he still has something to offer. Put through one-on-one with the keeper, it was normally an opportunity he used to score with his eyes closed. I know he hasn’t played too much and would be rusty but his finish to me, suggests he is passed it and can’t supply Villa with what they need anymore. It wasn’t surprising to see him linked with loan moves away.
Follow Ashley on Twitter – @bannyboy95