It was a game that resembled the Villa Park clash with Liverpool a few weeks back in many ways. Villa 1-0 up at half-time with a Benteke opener, against one of the league’s stronger teams. Again, Villa failed to hold out, but there was a performance to suggest, good things were ahead next season. If Benteke’s rashness hadn’t seen him sent off, making it 10 vs 10, the result probably would have been different. With both teams missing a player, it was always going to then be a matter of which defence buckled first… and there was only going to be one contender there. Still enough reasons to be cheerful though…
1. The Young Lions traded toe-to-toe with the European Champions, and had a very decent first half. Again the seeds for the future were there for all to see, making it essential Villa don’t go down this season. With a couple of quality additions, the growing confidence shown, next season every game should be winnable.
2. The midfield trio on a whole had very good games. From looking light-weight earlier in the season, Villa’s midfield is definitely showing its mettle now. No small part has been the revelation in the last few games of Benteke’s buddy Yacouba Sylla, who was considered by some fans as a pointless buy, because he hailed from a Second Division French team. It starting to seem that Lambert knows a bit more about potential talent than some moaning smart-ass fans.
3. A full house at Villa Park. Of course, it was the last home game of the season and many were there to bid Petrov a fond farewell, but there’s definitely been progress in the overall Villa Park atmosphere, compared to the last couple of years. It’s something to build on next season for sure, when we need to take it up another notch.
4. Gary Gardner was on the bench against Chelsea, signally heis comeback from his latest long-term injury. Next season will be massive for a player for whom much is hoped. If Villa are safe come the weekend, hopefully he’ll get to play a few minutes against Wigan to give him a lift for the season ahead.
5. Did you think we were going to forget the supporter’s tribute to Stan? An emotional occasion, but a fitting tribute, as it has been throughout the season. For those going to the Wigan game, Petrov’s career will be the theme of the last away day in ‘Petrov Day’. So get your Bulgarian flags, balloons, fancy dress ready; they’ll also be 3000 Petrov masks given out free to fans. Don’t forget to raise a glass to Stan during the day too.
Please leave your own reasons to be cheerful in the comments below! UTV
Follow MOMS on Twitter