“I know it will come. I have belief that we will create and that we will score” – Paul Lambert
With David Michael
If you bet on this match and put your money on anything else than a draw, then you’re a bit of a fool. In fact, with Stoke’s defensive steel and Villa’s bluntness in attack, even 0-0 was always likely. Still this was a formidable enough test for Villa, especially for the young Villa defence. Three tough games coming up in the league (Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs), so one point is not ideal, but still, there were reasons to be cheerful…
1. Villa’s next game is in the League Cup; in which they’ve won every game they’ve played in it this year.
2. Ashley Westwood is getting better and better as his confidence builds. Judging by a backheeled flick he attempted in the Stoke box in the second-half (that didn’t quite come off), there is much more to come from him. Hopefully, Lambert will buy him a proper partner in January to anchor the midfield.
3. While I mentioned the young defence last week, this week they had to repel the attack of the hoof. Despite Stoke’s physical threat, again Baker, Lowton and Clarke came up aces with a clean sheet. Lowton must be one of the first names on the teamsheet now. The rightback position is finally sorted.
4. Villa’s proper left-backs will be fit next week. While it’s not Lichaj’s position, he has no left-foot whatsoever, as he showed against Stoke. Legally, Villa as a team would be classed as 5% disabled due to Lichaj’s left foot. Back to being an 100% football team next week is good news.
5. Lambert wasn’t making any statements about Bent and not (hopefully) holding him back to save the board a few bob. Lambert’s stance on Bent is purely a footballing one. Bent for the time being at least, is an active weapon at Villa’s disposal. Lets hoped he fires when called on.