MOMS 2012/13 Season Review as Told to Dugout Magazine…
Your Club – Aston Villa
Best Aston Villa Starting 11
Formation – 4-3-3
Goalkeeper – Guzan
Defence – Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Baker
Midfield – Westwood, Delph, Sylla/N’Zogbia
Forwards – The ‘Holy Trinity’ of Benteke, Weimann and Agbonlahor
Player of the Season – Christian Benteke (Brad Guzan runner-up)
Young Player of the Season – Matthew Lowton (he’s older than Benteke, but most of our players are ‘young’)
Goal of the Season – Lowton vs Stoke for individual strike and best team goal was Weimann’s at Anfield with 20-odd passes and a Benteke back-heel assist
Performance of the Season – 6-1 vs Sunderland
The 2012 part of the season was one of the worst in the top-flight history of the club, while 2013 has seen top-half form. The season was always going to be about the young players learning and improving, and they seem to have done that.
You have to admire Lambert for sticking to his guns. He took a gamble in the short-term in using young untried players to build a team for the long-term, when most fans are after instant gratification.
Lambert came up short in the semi-final vs Bradford and some of his substitutes have had some fans scratching their heads.
Normally, in building a successful team, managers start with building the defence, Lambert’s focus though has all been about attacking football. It should stand Villa in good stead next season, as long as their frequent defensive errors are ironed out.
When you play a team this young average age 23, you expect to take some beatings along the way, but Villa’s young team have built up confidence to suggest we can expect more performances like the impressive away performances at Liverpool and in cup wins at Man City and Norwich, that were finally replicated at Villa Park in the 6-1 drubbing of Sunderland.
The players are getting increasingly confident in passing forward, after being guilty of crab-like possession passing in the first-half of the season.
With a few quality additions, Villa could set the league on fire next season. The fact that they never dropped their heads when times were hard is also a very good sign indeed.
Looking towards next season – your thoughts
Players leaving – Dunne, Bent, Ireland and Given will be the final huge earners off the wage bill.
Petrov too will be at the end of his contract, but will remain at the club in a coaching capacity. So with a lower wage bill and influx of improved TV money, Villa should have room for a ‘quality’ addition or two.
Players you’d like to see come in – It’s foolish to throw names out there with Lambert in charge, as you have to Google most of the players he’s brought in so far. A decent centre back is a must, as is a leader in midfield. The return of Gary Gardner from injury may lessen that need, if he fulfills his promise as a future Villa captain.
Player to look out for next season – Lowton for England? Weimann to get close to 20 goals for the season and will Gary Gardner begin to blossom?
All Premiership clubs
Player of the Year – Football fans memories are short (sometimes limited to the last week), but Michu at £2 million was a class act. The spearhead focus of Swansea’s total football approach which helped them win the League Cup. He’s also a fellow Real Oviedo share holder.
Young player of the Year – Christian Benteke – simply because he’s been the most important player for a Premiership club. Now 22, he played most of the season as a 21-year-old and has shouldered the team’s fortunes pretty much on his own with his goals. To score over 20 goals in all competitions in a struggling team is a very decent achievement.
Goal of the Season – Matthew Lowton vs Stoke – for a rightback to have the skill to do what he did, at the time he did (a few minutes left in a very important game for his team) was fantastic.
Team of the Season – Swansea City – Played as a proper team and won a trophy, which is what football used to be about. Also, they played football the right way and were able to play superior teams off the park and beat them. All this despite being relatively new to the division. (Note to Villa fans – they also beat Wigan away from home in the run, that pretty much finished off Wigan’s survival hopes.)
Fans of the Season– Aston Villa. Great away support and stuck behind their team and manager despite some horrific moments. Their continuous support of Petrov has also been magnificent. Being bias doesn’t come into it.
Manager of the Season – The honour must go to Sir Alex Ferguson after claiming United’s 20th title, thwarting what should have been City’s title with the players they have and also for his retirement from an immense legacy. Doubt his achievements will ever be matched. Also, notable mentions for Steve Clarke and Michael Laudrup.
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