First Home Win Relief…
A little bit later than normal in the week, but finally a Five Reasons to be Cheerful after an actual Aston Villa win. For those who braved the cold, it was a fitting reward after weeks and weeks of suffering worse elements – namely, miserable performances and poor results.
David Bowie’s Heroes rang out around Villa Park and the players after 90 minutes became 90-minute heroes to lift spirits on what potentially could have been a very chilly and gloomy night. You just have to listen to me on the Sports bar on Talksport to gage the mood on the day!
One swallow doesn’t make a summer, but Villa were mainlining, so the win is certainly the jolt to help get the pulse going again. Wins against Leicester and West Brom in the upcoming games and then maybe, just maybe, we can start to believe again.
In the meantime, here’s five reasons to be cheerful as Aston Villa fans…
There were plenty of empty seats all around Villa Park and the official attendance of 28,000+ seemed a little fictitious, but this was one of the better atmospheres this season. Of course, the positive result helped, but it was about more than that.
Events at Wycombe received an epilogue at Villa Park as the Holte End booed the names of Brad Guzan (on the bench) and Joleon Lescott for their alleged misdemeanors at Adams Park. It seemed to charge-up the atmosphere from the start and certainly perked up the attitudes of the players.
After an early scare, the Villa players took control of the game and their increased commitment to the cause quickly warmed up the Villa supporters and they were soon back on side. It was a steep contrast from the weekend’s cup game, it was if supporters and players after having it out with each other were now back-to-back fighting their way to three points.
While survival is unlikely, all it will take is a little momentum (say a win against Leicester) to at least give it a real go. With the players and supporters pulling in the right direction, you never know? Villa Park would need to become a fortress, which is the last word you’d use to describe it in reason seasons, but if fans get their believe back from improved effort and performances from players, the ‘Great Escape’ cause my trigger something unexpected.
We already know the Villa motto of ‘It’s the False Hope that Kills You’, so lets see what happens against the Foxes first.
4 CHANGING OF THE GARDE
Rémi Garde proved that he is looking for answers within the limitations of his squad and isn’t afraid to make the changes. Libor Kozak was given a berth. after being unfancied and frozen out (more of him later) and it seems Brad Guzan yet again has fallen from grace (his antics off the pitch against Wycombe wouldn’t have helped) with Mark Bunn given a go.
To be fair Mark Bunn didn’t have much to do. While his kicking isn’t exactly strong, he seemed comfortable enough and certainly enjoyed the clean sheet and win by his reaction on the final whistle. It’ll be interesting to see how he gets on, if he starts against Leicester at the weekend.
While MicaH Richards had a knock and was on the bench, you get the feeling that Garde would have started the Villa captain, if he rated him at the moment. It’s quickly becoming apparent that Villa captain’s best contribution this season has come off the pitch in calming Villa fans down at Adams Park than what he’s done on the pitch with his suspect positioning and marking.
Villa’s record when Jores Okore plays is a marked improvement on Villa playing with other centre-backs (mark my word, don’t have the stats to hand!). Okore over Richards all day long.
With Richards seemingly prone to picking up knocks, maybe his preference for centre-back has been to preserve himself, with the demands of right-back having too much ware on him. Unfortunately for him, it’s the preservation of Aston Villa that comes first.
3 KOZAK TIME
Yes, the Czech Republic international might not be the idea choice as the starting Villa striker, but when it comes to effort and hustle, there’s nothing in the current Villa squad to match him. There was plenty in his first start for years to suggest he could lead the line in an improved team.
Kozak is up for the fight and has the backing of the Holte and Villa away fans. His application matches Jordan Ayew’s, so the two maybe able to forge an unexpected partnership.
The problem is Kozak was very much heading out of the door at Villa Park, so it’s a question of whether both the player and manager will change their minds. if Kozak starts and makes an impression in the next two games, it could go a long way to making up both of their minds as to the short-term future at least.
Watch this space.
2 VILLA FAN ON THE PITCH
Booed onto the pitch Joleon Lescott finally proved he supported the Villa by rising to the occasion. Solid in defence with Jores Okore and coming up trumps with the winning goal, he reacted well to the incident on Saturday and showed the kind of fighting spirit Villa supporters have been crying out for.
Rumours that LA Galaxy have tabled a three-year contract to Lescott, potentially provide another Villa player with a big decision to make. Certainly with the money, lifestyle and length of contract at stake, it will be hard to resist for the Villa centre-back.
If he signs, maybe he can delay his trip out there? As Lescott still has a part to play and if Villa are to perform a miracle, he might just have a hand in it.
The three points against Palace and the fact the other relegation battlers in the league dropped points meant it isn’t over just yet. Obviously, it will need to be followed up sharpish with another three points, but at least the win has given the team the confidence to suggest they can win in this league.
Crystal Palace are one of the better away teams too, so that will also be a massive boost to home confidence with the visit of Leicester City.
Also, we’re still in the cup. If good things happen in the next few weeks – i.e. a string of league wins, knocking out Wycombe and Manchester City out of the FA Cup – we will remember what went down in Wycombe as a big turning point.
It wasn’t nice, it wasn’t clever, but sometimes you need the proverbial kick up the backside to get things going. UTV
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