Two wins on the trot… while admittedly against the bottom two teams in the Premiership, no two wins have been as important to the Villa cause this season. The spirit in the team is good, the fight is on, and Premiership survival is realistic.What we’ve learnt this week…
1 – Three ain’t a crowd – it’s a party
Darren Bent may disagree, but in Benteke, Weimann and Gabby we have a potent attacking trio that pose every threat you could possibly hope for. Benteke is the powerhouse that can involve others as well as score, Gabby is the speed demon and Andi has the tenacity of a pit pull.
They’re such a threat that there is no real way to deal with them and keep them quiet over 90 minutes; their goals will keep us up as we struggle to find them elsewhere.
2 – A victory for football?
Without getting too self-righteous, we taught QPR a lesson this weekend. It may have taken us a while to put some sort of form together, but we’ve done it on a minimal budget, unlike our West London counterparts who seem to think that throwing silly money at a situation will fix it.
Hopefully this season will expose ‘‘Arry Houdini’ for what he really is (a bit like MON,) and QPR’s failure will provide a wake up call for all money bags owners who can’t wait to cultivate a system that will actually work.
3 – My kingdom for a set of competent referees
I’ve spouted off about referee’s so many times this season I’ve lost count. This week it’s Kevin Friend who has got my back up. A generally incompetent performance saw him give a number of wrong decisions, both for and against us.
Mark Halsey is another one that seems to court controversy wherever he goes. He handed Wigan a boost on Sunday when he failed to send off Callum MaManaman for a horror tackle on Massadio Haidara before somehow failing to miss a blatant handball in the build up to Wigan’s winner.
I’m not one to advocate all of this new technology as it takes the game further away from what it is, but on current evidence, there may not be much choice.
4 – Heart and soul
He may have got things wrong during the season, but one thing you can’t level at Paul Lambert is his lack of commitment. The sight of him and Ian Culverhouse celebrating like schoolboys as the goals flew in only highlighted how much he cares about the job he’s in. His tinkering with the squad is starting to pay off and if anyone doubted him before then now is the time to have a rethink.
5 – The home stretch
A quick scan at the remaining fixtures of those around the bottom six suggests that we have the kindest run in.
Realistically we can look at a minimum of two wins and two draws in the last nine games, to clinch our safety. Of course, saying that is easier than doing it, but the confidence is there now that we seem to have figured out how to fight back from behind and hold on in the dying moments.
It’s time to believe.
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