The return of Gabriel Agbonlahor & 4 Other Things I Want To See From Villa against Swansea...
I mean this in two ways; the return from injury happened last weekend, now I want the return of the Gabriel Agbonlahor that I know and love. The Gabby Agbonlahor that we don’t see very often but who can tear teams apart with his pace alone. He’s a player, who can infuriate me and inspire me both at the same time. Take, for instance, a few seasons ago against Fulham, Gabby got both goals in a win and looked like a superstar. For his first goal, he collected a pass with a neat first touch, turned Brede Hangeland on the edge of the box, and curled a peach past Mark Schwarzer, straight into the far corner, weak foot and all. His second goal was a great run to lose his marker, and heading home from 6 years. Game changer. Game winner. Not often enough. Many, if not most Aston Villa fans, have given up on the return of that Agbonlahor, but I still have a little faith left yet.
We’ve had a poor start to the season really, one point from three games, however you mask it, isn’t what you want. The signs of promise have been there though, and with the green shoots of recovery evident in Villa’s last game against Newcastle United, another performance like that wouldn’t go a miss. The defence are starting to look more settled after a shaky start, letting in four goals in the two opening games against West Ham United and Everton. The midfield is almost completely different to the one Villa used last year, and the style is completely different. With new signing, marauding midfielder Karim El Ahmadi, we’ve got a player who will take the game by the scruff of its neck and try to dominate in the way all Villa fans begged for last season. Villa fans think we’ve found a superstar in El Ahmadi.
Game changer. Game winner. Not often enough. Many, if not most Aston Villa fans, have given up on the return of that Agbonlahor, but I still have a little faith left yet.
Goes without saying, right? Possession is all well and good, but you have to use it. In our first 3 games, all too often, we haven’t done that. It was widely reported just how many (or few) touches Darren Bent managed to muster in 90 minutes in the season opener against West Ham. He is a goal-scorer, and if we can get the ball to him in the right positions then he will score. Our problem hasn’t been finishing chances though, it has been creating them. Create more, and we will definitely score more. I’m confident Lambert realised that we lacked penetration in the first few games, and has addressed the problem with his new signings, some of whom I’m happy to admit I know nothing about, other than their name.
I want to see him on the pitch, performing well, scoring goals and creating chances. N’Zogbia has, to put it politely, done bugger all since his arrival for almost £10m last summer. This is the player who almost single-handedly dragged Wigan Athletic from the depths of relegation to survival. Where has he been for us? Where are the mazy dribbles, leaving players in his wake before firing home into the back of the net? Villa fans are hoping, and expecting, N’Zogbia to step up to the level we all know he can perform at sooner rather than later.
Crikey, feels strange mentioning the word win in the same sentence as Villa, after last years negative dross under Alex McLeish. We haven’t won in the Premier League for 14 games, an absurd amount for any club. We won on just seven occasions last season, it was one of the worst I’ve endured in my time as a Villa fan; for that, and the defensive, lacklustre play. Paul Lambert has changed the style and now is the time for his first league win. Time for that to change, at home, with rejuvenated support and new players ready to step up to the next level, this is the time to get all three points and start looking up the table rather than over our shoulder. All this talk of positive football and a potential three point haul has got me feeling dizzy, maybe I’m asking for too much after all…
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