With little to cheer so far this season, Villa’s two points from the last two games is undoubtedly something of an improvement – for context, the club failed to win a single point between 30 August and 8 November. However, such is the gravity of Villa’s predicament that draws are sadly no longer enough. Here’s a look at the good, the bad and the ugly of the 1-1 Boxing Day draw with West Ham United.
It was still hardly classic footballing fare but Villa, having been improved during spells of the draw with Newcastle last week, put in one of their best performances of the season on Saturday. Admittedly, that’s a bit like saying “well, I thought that was one of Paul Lambert’s more charismatic press conferences”, but even so there were genuine positive signs on display from Villa in front of their own fans, an all-too-rare occurrence.
Jordan Ayew not only now has five goals from his last 10 games but he also has been comfortably our most enthusiastic and endearing player over the last few weeks, providing endeavour and quality where others fail on both counts.
In midfield, meanwhile, Jordan Veretout had arguably his best game for the club, finally starting to show the quality at which his billing from France hinted. The former Nantes midfielder was the heartbeat of our side until he was substituted late on, and he offered more in attack than we have usually seen from him thus far, putting in a fine cross from which Rudy Gestede should have headed on target in the first half, before he produced a good save from Adrian in the second half with an angled shot.
The indicators are there that Villa have the capabilities to launch a serious challenge for safety, but we must, must win at least once in the next week to give ourselves any kind of fighting chance. If, in the best case scenario, the upcoming games at Norwich and Sunderland were to yield six points, Villa potentially could be off the bottom of the league and within three points of safety.
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