Here’s a new grim reaper stat for you…Villa have now failed to score in 11 of their 20 games this season (21 if you count the League Cup game) A run that includes four of the last five games, and in 39 of Paul Lambert’s 96 league games at the helm, a 40% failure rate to hit the onion bag that is the worst in the Premier League in that period.
13 teams have scored at least twice the amount of goals Villa have this season, while five teams have scored at least triple the amount of goals Villa have.
It’s makes for pretty depressing reading, but here’s five reasons to be cheerful as Aston Villa fans…
1. Defensive Steel
Outside the current Top four no team has conceded less goals than Villa. It was always a problem under Lambert in his first two seasons, but all seems solid now. This is especially encouraging when factoring the amount of injuries and line-up changes it’s endured at centre-back.
Certainly having stronger defensively-minded full backs in Hutton and Cissokho has helped a great deal, as has the emergence of Carlos Sanchez as a proper defensive midfielder.
The Villa defence has been vital though, as it’s been the only thing keeping the club from being rock bottom in the league. Considering with 11, we’ve scored six less goals than the next lowest scorer in the league Burnley, it’s been certain relegation form the other end of the field.
It’s interesting to compare Villa’s situation with Southampton, the Saints have managed to concede seven less goals than Villa and managed to score over triple the amount of Villa’s goals.
2. Carlos Sanchez
I’ve given him a couple of shout outs before in Five Reasons and he remains perhaps the only player outside the defence that is doing a decent job.
The stats also back this up. Sanchez was villa’s leading passer with 100 successful passes from 117 attempts.
Following him was Bacuna with 79 out of 94. Okore was third with 62 successful from 66. Tom Cleverley was fourth with 46 successful from 53.
The most worrying statistic though was Sanchez was also No.1 for attacking third passes with 14 successful from 21 attempts in total. He’s a defensive midfielder, so what exactly are the rest of the midfield doing?
3. 2015 Records
Villa are unbeaten in 2015 and no team has scored past them in the New Year also.
4. Lambert Spin
As Lambert pointed out in his Palace post-match interview, Villa have now only lost two games in their last 10. Not bad…but what he didn’t say is they have only won two games in their last 16, which is pretty shocking stuff.
5. Villa Daughter does Late Father Proud
As you would have read by now, 16-year-old Emily Jones and her 71-year-old dad Brian both attended the Aston Villa vs Sunderland game on 28th December, but minutes after the game finished, her father suffered a major cardiac arrest after getting into his car, parked off Aston Hall Road.
Emily then organised a 71st minute applause at the following Villa game against Palace which went off very successfully.
Some fans say the minute’s applause is over-used. Nonsense. For such tributes, it stands as a shining demonstration of solidarity and a sense of community amongst supporters at Villa Park. It’s increasingly rare to see people come together like this in the real world, so it should be encouraged.
As someone who also used to make the pilgrimage from Lincoln to Villa Park when I was Emily’s age, I’d like to wish her all the best for the future and also give a shout out to Villa supporter Gary Birch, who came to her assistance when her father had his cardiac arrest.
*The club have invited Emily and her family to be their guests at the weekend’s FA Cup tie. Nice touch.
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