Gaps in the stands at Villa Park, Ashley Westwood stretchered off and a poor Leicester team that should have been blasted off the Villa Park turf, but this was one of the more enjoyable Villa games of the season so far. Here’s five reasons to be cheerful as Aston Villa fans
I actually enjoyed a game at Villa Park. Despite a crowd of just 27,692 and the fact we were playing a poor Leicester team, it was a game that entertained with plenty of incident to get the crowd involved. From the occasional dubious decision from referee Craig Pawson, to a decent enough away following from Leicester that provoked the Holte End into action and some cracking saves from Kasper Schmeichel that had us head in hands our heads. If only it had been more like this over the previous three seasons.
2. The Incredible Mr Hutton
Alan Hutton not only broke his four years drought without a goal but became the first Villa player to score in front of the Holte End since Grant Holt last season in April. His winning goal gave the Villa Park a chance to pay tribute to a player who has done an incredible zero to hero transformation.
For once it’s hard to argue with Lambert when the Villa boss said about Hutton after the game: “I’m delighted for Alan because I think he’s playing as well as any right back in the country at the moment.”
3. The Defence Attacks
A lot has been said about the lack of goalscorers in the Villa team, before the Burnley game only two players had found the net for Villa (Gabby and Weimann). Now the spread of goalscorers is finally widening, but the impressive makeshift back four of Hutton, Okores, Clark and Cissokho after impressing at the back in recent weeks decided to impress at the other end by scoring both of Villa’s goals. More please.
4. Run Switch
After six consecutive losses and being winless in nine, Villa find themselves five games unbeaten and with back-to-back wins for the first time since Chelsea & Norwich last season. By the looks of it there will be three worse teams than Villa this season (as long as we have Benteke in the team) so relegation should be a worry (it should never be). But if there is to be any proper progress up the table it may depend on what happens in the January window – both in terms of incoming and outgoing players.
5. Reception for a Returning Son
The ovation granted to the returning Marc Albrighton by Villa fans when he came on as a sub was a nice touch. After coming through the ranks, Albrighton always played with plenty of heart. He was one of the stars of Villa’s Peace Cup win and perhaps if Martin O’Neill had blooded him more in the season that followed, he may have kicked on properly for Villa.
PS – Whatever happens, fight to keep the Holte End the ‘Holte End’. Don’t just shrug your shoulders.
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