A decent performance and a decent point. Could have been three and perhaps should have been, but after Gabby’s bizarre sending off, it’ll do. Vlaar, Okore and Clark were immense at the back, as were Sanchez and Delph in the Villa midfield. It may be premature to get too excited just yet, but there’s increasingly more reasons for Aston Villa fans to be cheerful about. UTV
Five Reasons to be Cheerful as Aston Villa Fans
1. 12th…11th Man
It’s about time we beat United at Villa Park since the last time was almost 20 years ago, so yesterday’s 2-1 win was very welcome indeed…
What do you mean it was a 1-1 draw? Didn’t you see the Villa scoreboard?
Seriously though, it was good to see Villa as a team and crowd stand strong and up to the United challenge. Too often when Villa have gone down to 10 men, the team has buckled and fans have shrugged their shoulders and expected defeat and accepted it as the outcome. Not so against United.
The 10 men battled and the 12th man, became the 11th as the crowd practically neutralised Ashley Young every time he got the ball, after his involvement in Gabby’s sending off.
The Villa faithful helping their team – it was great to witness. This is what happens when the players give the fans something to believe in and get behind.
The timing of Benteke’s goal helped a lot to get fans back on side. In the first few minutes, from where I was sat in the upper Holte, it was depressing to hear some whingeing and moaning older Villans slagging off pretty much every pass or run made by a Villa player. It got so tedious, the thought of turning around and punching one of them, did cross my mind! Twitter has nothing on some of the folk on the upper left-side of the Holte.
To be fair though, some of Villa’s early movement was poor. When you have a centre-back like Okore needing to dribble out of his half and take the fight to United, without a teammate offering support, it does get frustrating.
Benteke’s early goal though soon altered the atmosphere and Villa supporter’s general outlook changed. Gabby’s sending off further galvanised Villa fans and they certainly helped Villa get over the line and almost win the game.
2. Sanchez Tease
I’ve already noted Carlos Sanchez’s improvement in a previous Five Reasons, but having watched him in the last two home games against Leicester and United, it’s fun to see how some supporters aren’t quite used to his relaxed and effortless style. At first, when Sanchez receives the ball he seems to be half-a-second behind in his thought progress, which frustrates fans, as you think he’s going to be dispossessed or caught out, but he then manages to slow the next half-a-second down to pick the right pass without breaking sweat.
He’s not totally there yet, but he already looks better than Jean Makoun who was a similar type of player
If Lambert is genuine about continuing the newly adopted passing ethos of Villa (which he originally tried to start when he first took over), then Sanchez will be pivotal to its success; literally acting as the team’s pivot as they play it out of the back.
3. Wow Okore
At the start of last season, Jores Okore was the Villa player I was most looking to see play and also the one that could potentially have the most impact on Villa’s season. In the end, his season-long injury was the only impact he made.
Okore actually makes me excited as a Villa fan. If nobody leaves in the January window and Villa get a decent player coming in, then with a spine of Okore, Vlaar, Delph and Benteke, it could make for an interesting second half of the season. Although maybe, I’m being too optimistic?
For example, if I was Delph and Vlaar, even if i wanted to, I wouldn’t be signing new contracts just yet, as it would be good to see further evidence of the recent progress under Lambert.
4. Everyone Loves Villa Park
Due to the amount of times Sir Alex Ferguson won at Villa Park and the continuation of their unbeaten run in B6, it seems United fans have increasingly considered Villa Park their second home, judging by the amount of home tickets they seemed to have brought in the latest game. We’re flattered by their love of Villa Park, but enough is enough.
Many Villans have since reported United fans in every stand and there seems to have been a lot of them.
I was sitting near a United fan who thought it was a good idea to bring his daughter, who must have been about six-years-old, into the Holte End. Sat in their seats all quiet and looking sheepish when Benteke hit his cracker, they stood out like sore thumbs and were spotted by everyone around them. It didn’t go down too well, when the girl was then seen clapping United’s equaliser.
I had to tell one woman to cool her jets, as by the looks of her, she wanted to throw the kid off the upper Holte onto Trinity Road. The dad finally had the sense to leave with his kid after Gabby got sent off (for nothing) as the Holte turned wild and wanted blood.
I don’t know what’s worse, bringing her in the first place into the Holte or not teaching her to at least pretend to be a Villa fan…what a plonker.
Still, the good news is stewards evicted United fans from every stand and a few of the invaders took a few blows of encouragement from Villans to leave.
May I suggest next season the club borrows the big ‘Villa Fans Only’ signs from the Witton Arms.
5. A different kind of Christmas
It’s Christmas and Villa aren’t quite in the relegation zone AND VLAAR IS FIT!
Make sure you all enjoy the festive period this week and get well fed and aled up. Hopefully a decent result from the tricky trip to Swansea will add to our Christmas cheer.
Have a good one. UTV
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