Such was the cool calm execution of the goals that made up the 4-0 half-time scoreline, you were left wondering what the hell had Lambert been doing for the past few seasons? Lambert himself had enjoyed a 6-1 mauling of Sunderland a couple of seasons ago, that proved earlier that the players he had at his disposal were good enough as MOMS as always maintained.
Sherwood went with an attacking formation at the Stadium of Light, playing Sinclair and N’Zogbia as wide midfielders with two up top, although the way it played out, in the first half it was like a 4-2-4, as Villa simply tore Sunderland apart. What a game and plenty of reasons to be cheerful as Aston Villa fans.
1. Winning margins
It’s two games on the trot now that Villa have beaten their opponents by more than one goal. The first two times in this season it has happened. What a difference actually scoring goals makes! That’s eight in just over a week, after a couple of periods of going over a month without a single one. In fact, against Sunderland it took Villa 28 minutes to score four goals, a stark improvement on the 16 hours it took to previously score the same amount. Finally Villa’s strikers are doing what they get paid for, because they’re actually getting service.
2. Winning ratios
Sherwood’s win ratio jumps up to 60% after this victory. In his own immortal words, it’s second to none. If the Villa boss continues with that momentum, Villa will be more than safe this season and will challenging for Europe, next season. Taking a rational view though, Villa have chalked off two of the six wins that Sherwood pin-pointed for survival. A win against Swansea will see them over the 30 point mark and in the home stretch towards safety with eight games to play. It’ll also allow the team to have more than one eye on the FA Cup, where the aim now should certainly be to try and win it.
3. The CB Combo
I’ve given credit before to the two players that started the season as Lambert’s 4th and 5th choice centre-backs. At the start of the season, after returning from his long-term injury that ruined his first season at the club, Okore was expected to be the main man alongside Vlaar in central defence, but it soon became evident that Lambert for some reason didn’t fancy him anymore despite the Dane being fit. While Clark after last season, was perhaps looking for a new career with a Championship club, if fortunes didn’t change.
When the injuries came to Villa’s backline, the two of them have formed an excellent centre-back unit, and Clark has certainly stepped up his game to become the future Villa captain that was often mooted of him when he was captain of Villa’s academy team.
Even with Sherwood’s front foot attacking approach, the duo have keep consecutive clean sheets in the last two games. Surely they will be our first-choice centre-back partnership for Wembley in April.
Villa’s post match on-pitch celebrations of the club going to Wembley were wrongly labelled a ‘return to the 1980’s’, as in the work of hooligans. It was a bizarre reference by the BBC, considering pitch invasion celebrations have been going on throughout the whole history of football. Why is it now suddenly frowned upon?
Anyway, the good news is, in reality, the only thing about Villa that actually resembles the 1980’s – the early part of the decade at least – is the team winning, optimistic fans and the club being in the hunt for silverware. May these 1980’s vibes continue.
5. Knock Out
Forget that Rooney video of him getting knocked out in his kitchen while messing around sparring, it was nice to see Villa actually knock out a team during a game. Sunderland were despatched in fine style and to be honest, the referee should have called it off as a contest at half-time, rather than letting Sunderland and what remained of their fans suffer on.
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