After a Christmas nightmare, the first week of 2013 was an important week for Villa. With a League Cup semi-final on the horizon and a pivotal month of fixtures, it was key to get back on the right track asap. Seconds away from three points against Swansea, but a valuable point nonetheless, and a come-from-behind win vs Ipswich Town to set up a 4th round FA Cup tie away to Millwall, represents a decent week’s work. But what did we learn?
1 – Old habits die hard
The first 30 minutes against Swansea were poor, very poor, and we were lucky not to be three down early on. But a goal out of nothing later and we were the much better side, incredibly unlucky not to come away with all the points. The second half was a vast improvement on what preceded it, but it still highlights that we’re a one half team.
2 – Andi Weimann: Goal machine
There is no doubt in my mind that he is the most natural finisher at this club. We saw glimpses of it last season, and he’s carried on his progression and built on it this term. Next season he’s going to be absolutely deadly.
3 – We’re up for a cup
This week is a vitally important week in our season. If we’d crashed against Ipswich then the generous patience afforded to Paul Lambert would have been spread incredibly thin. Tuesday sees us at Bradford and we’ll be armed with the confidence, and more importantly, the desire to make an appearance at Wembley this season and bring some long overdue silverware back to B6.
4 – Charles N’Zogbia is back?
The Frenchman looked electric yesterday. Ok, it was against lower league opposition, but something seems to have clicked in him after his spell out injured. It’s high time he started to justify his price tag, and there’s no better time than the present. January is a crucial month for us; some positive results and we can pull away from the dogfight. We need everyone available and his return, along with Gabby and Darren Bent, couldn’t come soon enough.
5 – Ron Vlaar isn’t made of concrete
With every game that goes by that his name isn’t on the team sheet questions are being raised over the extent of his injury. He has had his injury problems before, missing large chunks of playing time whilst at Feyenoord with knee problems. The defence is struggling badly without him and the longer he’s out the worse things will get, considering that Richard Dunne is also nowhere near returning, Nathan Baker doesn’t look 100% and Chris Herd is well, being Chris Herd.
Steven Green is one of the hosts of the AVFC Review podcast and writer for Shoot Magazine and a fellow Real Oviedo shareholder.
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