Lets be honest here. Albion looked very, very ordinary. Even if Villa didn’t turn up it would have ended 0-0 at worst. I’m not going to throw Richardson under the bus for the game’s turning point, as it was a challenge born out of enthusiasm rather than any intent, and you’ll see 50% of players making the same challenge receiving just a yellow. If the Villa strikers had been on song we’d have still got something out of the game, so they are as much to blame as Richardson.
Craig Gardner may have taunted us with his Blues and Baggie love but there are still reasons to be cheerful as Aston Villa fans…
1. Benefits of Injuries and Suspensions
It seems at the best of times Lambert plays it conservative with team selections. It took three centre-back injuries for Jores Okore to finally get a start (he was impressive once again against the Baggies). With Villa’s midfield injury crisis it was obvious (I’d called it in midweek) that Richardson would get the nod in Westwood’s place. Grealish looked good against Leicester and would have been the more progressive choice (and perhaps lasted longer than 22 minutes).
Anyway, at least now the Richardson option is no more for the next three-matches with his suspension. For the forthcoming Manchester United game Tom Cleverley is not eligible, although it will probably take an injury or suspension to the under performing Charles N’Zogbia for Grealish to see a start.
2. The Dutch Santa is Back
I’d always had my suspicions about Ron Vlaar. Like an African football player who disappears during January for the African Nations Cup, Vlaar has gone AWOL in December for Villa every season. Maybe he had a contract as a Santa Claus in some Dutch Christmas Grotto that he’s been duty bound up until now to fulfill?
Now though, it seems that Vlaar’s contract as Santa is up and he will finally play for Villa during a Christmas period. They may be his final games for Villa, as he then might consider the January window his own Christmas present, with the opportunity to leave a club that has been very much threading water since he joined.
3. Delph’s Timing
Most estimates had predicted Delph to be back at the end of December, so it was a pleasant surprise to hear the news this week that Villa’s England midfielder would feature this weekend. With Cleverley being unavailable against United, the timing couldn’t be better.
Now though it’s the time for Delph to really step up as a leader for Villa on the pitch and drive Villa on to better things. With a more solid looking defence behind him and Sanchez sitting deep, he should certainly make a contribution in terms of improving Villa’s fortunes going forward. He’ll have to, because at the moment with 10 goals, Villa are the lowest scoring team out of the 92 teams in the football league.
4. Villa Fans Join Jeff for Justice Campaign.
The Astle family personally reached out to Villa fans with a polite request to join in their request, which was honoured to the man in the away end at the Hawthorns, for which we received great credit for from our hosts.
Some fans who didn’t go to the game had suggested we shouldn’t be bothered about it because West Brom fans hadn’t respected the Petrov applause at the Hawthorns. That was an unnecessary spin, as this was in the early days of the applause and most fans at the Hawthorns weren’t aware of it.
No one had communicated it to them, so you can’t blame any fan who didn’t know. Also, it was on their manor, so you can’t simply expect them to do anything. Their away fans honoured the Petrov applause perfectly at the corresponding Villa Park fixture.
The first away game for the Petrov applause was at Anfield and I remember personally spending many hours on the Friday night and Saturday morning before the game raising awareness to Liverpool supporters by contacting their various supporter groups and websites. It did the trick.
Unfortunately, MOMS doesn’t have the time to do things like this all the time and it is up to other Villa groups and supporters (and the club) to also communicate to other fans, if there is such a request.
It’s no good not raising awareness, then accusing folk for not knowing afterwards.
Anyway, a hearty thumbs up to all Villans at the Hawthorns at the weekend.
5. Gary Rowett Aston Villa Fan…
Ironically after all the hubbub about Craig Gardner’s constant changing of allegiances and Kieron Richardon being an Albion agent, as you may have seen on social media in the past week, Blue’s new boss Gary Rowett is an Aston Villa fan. No wonder the Blues are much improved under him and won 6-1 yesterday.
It was always going to take something special to raise their fortunes and it seems they finally had to give in to the fact that perhaps only a Villa fan was man enough to do the job. Or is there more to this than meets the eye?
Is Agent Rowett simply leading them into a short-term false sense of security, before executing his orders from Villa HQ?
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