Aston Villa Vs Liverpool: Benteke Is The Hero, But Ashley Westwood Has Filled The Creative Void Left By Petrov
Easy peasey lemon squeezy, what a fantastic performance by the Aston Villa boys. Beating Liverpool was the result of the weekend in the Premier League and what makes it even more special is it was done with the youngest team fielded in the league this year. Paul Lambert and the Academy need a pat on the back for bucking the big bucks trend and building a team which will not bankrupt us.
But you can’t rely on the kids and quality has to be brought in on the cheap and in £7m Christian Benteke we have a new hero in the Holte End. He's big, powerful and scores for fun and has probably doubled his value in the last ten games. Defenders bounce off him: Skrtel, like Smalling from Manchester Utd, will wake in the middle of the night in a cold sweat thinking about The Beast. This being the Premiership some club with a multi-billionaire will come and poach him at the end of the season and all we will be left with are the memories.
What I like about him is that he is a big game player, whoever we get in the semi-finals will not be able to contain him for two games, and he'll probably score in the final too. He was 9-1 to score first at Liverpool, easy money. He obviously gets the headlines but the other new faces Lambert has brought to the club are coming into their own. It is no surprise our upward turn in form has coincided with Ashley Westwood getting into the first team.
Brought from Crewe for a snip at £2 million, a price luckily that Swansea baulked at, he can often go unnoticed in a game, but he is vital to the team because he keeps play ticking over. Our midfield has never performed since Petrov was struck down, he very rarely gave the ball away and did not treat it like a hand grenade. But Westwood has got our midfield working again – he, like Petrov, always wants the ball and does the simple things well.
Cantona sneered at Didier Deschamps for being a water carrier, well every team needs one, and out of the French pair who ended up with a World Cup medal, not Cantona that's for sure. Westwood reminds me of Kevin Richardson, another unsung player who never got the recognition but a player who still won the league with Arsenal and Everton and nearly with us.
He is what football should be about, top tier clubs taking chances on lower league players instead of buying from abroad. I reckon Westwood will be a mainstay of our team for years to come; he's only 22 but plays like a 30-year-old. The last great midfielder we bought from Crewe was David Platt, I just hope Westwood has the same impact but stays around a bit longer.
After a season of pulling our hair out watching Warnock and Hutton hack around on the pitch it is a joy to see Lowton bedding into the defence, he has played every game so far this season in the league, and is settling in nicely after playing in the Championship, hopefully Bennett will have the same impact too.
All in all Lambert is doing what we all wanted him to do, transforming the squad and the way we play. Don't be surprised to see Aston Villa win the cup this season and, for me, safety is a cert.