For the third season, the torment of worrying about the permutations at the bottom end of the table is over. Next year promises much, and for the first time in three years, Villa will start the season with the same manager they finished the previous one with! UTV
1 – No surprises
Last week saw all the likely suspects pick up their gongs at the end of season award show. Congratulations to them all. Brad Guzan has been instrumental and deserves an award just for having the nickname ‘polar bear,’ whilst Christian Benteke’s goals have been vital in keeping our heads above water.
Andi Weimann narrowly missing out on Supporters’ Player of the Year to Guzan, deservedly scooped the Young Player version, a deserving reward for his efforts and great progress this season.
Matty Lowton’s strike has now picked up at least one award; seeing as it’s unlikely the MOTD gang will do the right thing and name it as their goal of the season.
2 – Chicken
Lee Mason, you should be ashamed of yourself. Wrong on so many counts, giving wrong decisions both ways. He crumbled under the pressure of several situations and Chelsea should have ended the game with nine men well before John Terry actually went off.
3 – No surprises (again)
What is it about Villa that give players of other teams what they need? After we got to applaud United securing the title the other week, congratulations this week to Frank Lampard, but those goals shouldn’t have happened. However, in typical Villa fashion it all fell apart and Lampard stole the headlines on a day that never should have been about him.
A real kick in the teeth.
4 – Unbroken record
First of all, Benteke’s second yellow card was ridiculous. His eyes were firmly fixed on the ball and his foot wasn’t even that high. There’s a case for him being dismissed at the time of his first booking, but if anyone saw Dion Dublin’s over the top practical demonstration then a striker’s elbow will go up.
And Christian really can’t help it if Cesar Azpilicueta only comes up to his shoulder!
But the red card now means that he won’t break the 20-goal barrier. A total of 19 league goals is amazing nonetheless but sadly falls short of breaking another record just weeks after Gabby broke one of his own.
5- So long, skip
Everyone at the club can reflect on a truly amazing tribute to not only a wonderful footballer, but a perfect gentleman too.
As a writer you’re sometimes expected to put complicated emotions into words and eulogise on behalf of a group of people you wouldn’t normally have any business in doing so, however, sometimes words will never do someone the justice they deserve, and this is one of those times. We all know what he means to us and what he’s done for us and this is one of those times where memories are stronger than any collection of words can ever be.
Thank you for everything, Stan. Don’t be a stranger, we’d love to see you back anytime.
PS – We also learnt we were safe.
We were pretty sure of it already. Relief? Yes. A reason to celebrate and go over-the-top about supporting the Gunners? Hmmm… With the first half of this season really acting as an extended preseason to bed the new manager and players in, Villa’s form in the second half offers greater potential horizons next term. After the slog of the last three seasons, it’ll be good to start thinking like proper Villans again. UTV
Steven Green is one of the hosts of AVFC Review podcast and writer for Shoot Magazine and In Bed With Maradona. Follow him on Twitter – here
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