If a boost was needed to Aston Villa’s season, supporters got it in the final three minutes at Stoke. From looking like Villa had let another three points slip in the final stages of a match, what had been an endless winter (literally as well), seems to finally be over. There’s work to be done yet, but the spring of Lambert’s management seems to be finally underway. What we learnt this week…
1 – The Bowery Situation
His selection raised a few eyebrows before kick off, but he’s since forced those doubters to think again after a fine performance yesterday. His influence in the first goal was pivotal, showing a determination to keep the ball and the foresight to pick out Matt Lowton and give him the ball.
He proved to be a good physical outlet for those around him against a tough Stoke defence and it’s now three wins out of three from the games he’s started.
2 – Running the show from the middle
They may not be the biggest, strongest or loudest midfield in the country but the combination of Delph and Westwood is really starting to look good. Up against physically domineering Stoke midfielders they ran the show and were instrumental in carving Stoke open. Controlled in the face of provocation, Delph proved that he can keep a cool head when we need him too and his ceaseless energy drives the team forward.
3 – THAT goal
What made this goal so special wasn’t the superb chest control, or the audacity to take a shot from all of 30 yards and hit the target with pinpoint accuracy, it’s that he was able to do all of that whilst being closed down with only a split second to pull it all off. This is his second long-range goal this season and it’s probably safe to assume that he doesn’t score tap ins.
4 – Elements of luck
There were a couple of hair-raising moments, primarily involving Nathan Baker. His handball in the first half may not have been intentional but penalties have been given for less, and considering our issues with referees this season it’s surprising that we got away with it.
Ron Vlaar’s handball in the second half seemed more concrete (no pun intended) if only because of a suspicious arm movement after the incident. However, as we’ve been due a slice of luck this season we can look past those and concentrate on this purple patch we have stumbled upon recently.
5 – Momentum is the key
We’ve now collected 14 points from our last ten games (W4 D2 L4) and for the first time during this campaign we’ve showed a consistency within our good performances that suggest that we won’t have to rely on anyone else to do us a favour.
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