Midfield miracles, magic bench and a stirring fight back
Shocking defending, dubious starting team selection, potential hammering, it all looked like the clouds of doom were forming over the Hawthorns for the traveling Aston Villa supporters. Then the three amigos were sent on to join in the fray and we now have five reasons to be cheerful as a Villa fan…
1. Wow. Two Aston Villa midfielders scoring in the same game? If that can happen, then there’s a chance that maybe Santa Claus really does exist? In fact, from now on, forget everything you know. Today is the first day of the rest of life, a life where Villa midfielders score for fun.
2. Fight back. Although we came up short in not turning the game round to win, that’s another point added to the wins against Arsenal and Manchester City, where Villa have come back from losing positions. Villa at the moment are the fight back kings of the Premier League possessing the most points gained from losing positions (seven). Last season, the young Villa boys would have folded when 2-0 down (although, judging by when we played the Baggies last season, they also used to fold when they were 2-0 up!), so there’s certainly been a shift in their confidence and belief.
3. It’s very debatable if all three of Villa’s subs should have started from the bench (I’d have at least started with Gabby, since it was a derby), but if you’re recognised as three of the club’s better players, you need to make an impact and that’s just what the guys did. Hats off. Hats off too, to Lambert, for sending all three on at the same time and not farting around.
4. Shane Long didn’t score a hat-trick. To be fair to him, he took both of his goals really well and deserved a third for those finishes, but since there was no hat-trick, it meant also there was no three points for Albion.
5. Tonev got a shot or two on target. Yes, one was a miscued pea roller, but it’s progress…at least for his stats. Hopefully, the Bulgarian will be made to watch Ashley Westwood’s stunning strike on repeat for the rest of the week in order to teach him how to shoot properly. If that fails, maybe Lambert should use the Ludovico technique, as in Clockwork Orange, and force Tonev to watch a compilation of his own shooting from this season. UTV
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