You know times are hard when you get relief from just getting three points against a team like Reading. Still, we’re not complaining. Next week will hopefully come a real reason to be cheerful, with a win against QPR bringing back-to-back league wins; something the last two Villa managers haven’t actually managed. In the meantime, here’s some other reasons to be Cheerful as a Aston Villa fan…
1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is the first time Villa have come back from behind to actually win a game this season. We were bottom of the ‘gaining points from losing positions’ table in the Premiership. Now that points are at a premium, it’s a useful habit to have suddenly developed.
2. Paul Lambert’s man-management. Sometimes Lambert’s tactics, player selections and stubbornness have you scratching your head as a Villa fan, but witness his instant support and rallying of Nathan Baker after the defender’s comical own goal against the Royals. He didn’t wait until half-time to give Baker a pep talk, he reacted instantly. The result was Villa didn’t drop their heads and their response was swift through Benteke’s equaliser. In terms of man management the parallels with Martin O’Neil are clear to see, with Lambert’s encouraging arm around Charles N’Zogbia when he subs him, a contrast to the French forward’s mid-game arguments with Alex McLeish.
3. Those low-key Villa January signings may actually have a contribution to make. Due to the precarious situation Villa were in, in the league, supporters were looking for a more ‘wham bang’ kind of impact from January signings, but Yacouba Sylla has showed he has the potential to make effective contribution to the survival effort. If he starts against QPR, he will have a vital part to play in winning a midfield battle that will determine one of the most important games of the season.
4. This season, when Gabby Agbonlahor scores, Villa don’t lose. OK, so he’s only scored seven times in League and Cups, but a few more goals with the same outcome will mean Villa’s survival will be a routine deal.
5. Villa’s away support won’t let the team get relegated. The travelling faithful were again immense at the Madejski Stadium. Whether you’re at the game or watching on a dodgy stream at home, you will always hear the away Villa fans loud and proud. In the same way the Villa fans turned a cup tie around at Carrow Road on a cold and misty night, they should also influence the relegation battle ahead. UTV.
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After all the wailing and gnashing of teeth from unrealistic fans wanting big name signings Paul Lambert’s eye for a bargain is beginning to show itself. The young talent he has brought to Villa Park may be rough around the edges and as yet the unfinished article but they are better than the overpaid ‘stars’ of previous regimes.
Villa are on the brink of building a really attractive team. I hope the naivety of early season has left them and that they go on to secure a Premier League future. But whatever happens, they have the right man in charge, and as he reshapes the squad into something younger and more vibrant, Villa fans will reap the reward with excellent football of the type Villa Park should expect.
SonLyme Survival is pivotal to the transition. I think Villa will move on in leaps and bounds next season, if they stay up. The league is not that strong – we’re currently only six points off 10th, and we’ve been terrible! It won’t take much to get us back in the top half, just the ironing out of mistakes at the back, which another year’s worth of experience will bring. UTV
The rebuild is under way and it’s starting to show its shoots. Sylla will develop into a great signing. No more has been’s, no more panic buys, no more quick fixes, no more giving in to agents. If this team survives and brings in a couple more young hungry talents looking to develop the squad in our colours then we will be much stronger next season and push on in a nice sustainable way. UTV
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