Villa Proper Man of the Week
Three minutes into Sunday’s clash with Deliah’s bitter canaries and it looked like it was going to be one of the lowest weeks in this roller coaster season. In January, Wes Hoolahan was hoping he’d score in this fixture, but no doubt would have preferred to have done it wearing a claret and blue shirt.
It then took a moment of jaw-dropping brilliance by a certain number 20, who chested the ball, hung in the air with such grace and beauty, before ruthlessly dispatching it past a helpless Ruddy. It bought a tear to my eye. This finally sparked the players into life and they finally resembled a team that were fit to play at Villa Park.
This week though the prestigious award doesn’t go to the big beautiful Belgian striker, but instead to Holland’s version of Franz Beckenbauer… Mr. Ronnie Vlaar.
The Villa skipper has really flourished this season in the heart of the Villa defence winning header after header, making block after block. His composure with the ball at his feet is second to none (sometimes a bit too comfortable though). It is no surprise that Villa have a much better record when he is playing and that all seven of Villa’s clean sheets this season have come when Vlaar has been present.
Another positive of Vlaar this season is the partnership being formed with king of the last ditch, Nathan Baker. With the no nonsense of Baker and the calmness of Vlaar, they are a becoming a decent match. And with the news that Okore is recovering quicker than expected, our defence is suddenly looking a lot stronger than last season.
In the last couple of games Ron has been close to his best (let’s turn a blind eye to the last few minutes at Newcastle), winning everything and distributing passes out from the back. His Beckham-like cross for the equaliser was sublime especially for a centre back. If one moment sums Ron ‘marauder’ Vlaar up, it was on Sunday, when his sheer desire helped him bulldoze his way past four Norwich players to come away with the ball.
So well done Sir Vlaar you are Villa’s proper man of the week. Now keep off the treatment table please.
Stat of the Week – Villa have not won a league game this season when Vlaar hasn’t played.
The Villa Player That Has to Pick Themselves Up and Go Again
I have found this very difficult this week, as there is no stand out candidate. Unfortunately though, the winner of this award is Karim El Ahmadi. Just for the simple fact that, I still don’t know what he actually does and brings to the team?
He came into the team with the idea that he would be the anchor of the midfield and a deep lying playmaker. However, Ashley Westwood has made that position his own and has really started to blossom into the role. So with this in mind what does El Ahmadi provide?
He works hard, yes, but I have never seen him burst forward to ignite an attack or put through a defence splitting pass. He doesn’t score many goals either and definitely isn’t a physical presence.
Karim ‘no use’ El Ahmadi’s ever presence in the starting eleven really demonstrates how little quality and lack of depth we have in the middle of the park. So please Karim find something you’re good at. You know maybe just try the odd killer pass or put in a big tackle every now and then.
Judging by Hoolahan’s non-celebration for the opening goal, there’s someone who would gladly fill El Ahmadi’s boots, if the Moroccan doesn’t get his act together.
Who was your Aston Villa player of the week? Comment below.
*The column picture features former Villa skipper John ‘Jack’ Devey pictured here in 1895. As well as captaining Villa and being capped for England, he was also a top cricketer for Warwickshire, a decent baseball player, cyclist and runner. An all round proper man!
‘Proper man’ – copyright, Paul Lambert.
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