Aston Villa Still In Hunt
Good December For The Villans
December is always a hectic month for any club but Aston Villa had a record NINE
matches this month and it all started live on BT Sport against Manchester City and when Daniel Sturridge backed up Aston Villa's fast start by scoring in the 18th minute, Man City had to dig there heels in. Ex-midfielder James Milner was pulling the strings from midfield, Villa couldn't find another goal which they would have deserved.
Fernandinho scored a rare goal against Aston Villa
Now Manchester City do not have two bad halves so it was no surprise when they got a equaliser but it wa sa surprise that it came from Fernandinho, who scores around 3 goals a season and when he does score, he hits fantastic goals. Manchester City were running riot now and just six minutes later Steven Jovetic scored a magnificent solo effort. He got round
Cleverley, Caulker and Stones to drill home from around 24 yards out with a low drive that Sirigu did not move.
Man City could have scored several goals but for Sirigu. First was a quite outstanding point blank save down to his near post for a Jovetic shot, then Toure, Yarmolenko and Konoplyanka also went close and Villa were awful. In one bright spark, Grealish hit a stunning long ball to Sterling who took on three players, got into the box and was bundled down in box and was given a penalty.
Stones celebrates scoring the equaliser against Arsenal
It was dispatched by John Stones and Villa amazingly held on for a 2-2
Then Aston Villa travelled to Southampton for a Tuesday night match and VIlla manager Paul McGrath stuck with the same side and it paid off. Grealish had yet another great game infront of around five scouts from all over Europe. His first goal in 45 seconds was from a rare headed goal. He then double the lead in the 25th minute with a crisp left foot shot but Southampton hit back with two of there own goals.
Javier Hernandez hit two of his own goals, the first from a Schneiderlin corner and the second was a header from a Ward-Prowse cross and that made it 2-2 at half time.
The second half was end to end, Schneiderlin, Mane and Roberto Soldado went close but Aston Villa were the side that got the last gasp winner. Grealish, who had been great all day, fed the ball to Sturridge and he played a great through ball to Roatariu who smashed the ball against the post but it hit bewildered keeper Fraser Forster and bounced into the net for Villa to win 3-2, and a deserved 3-2 victory.
Aston Villa then played Fulham away and that produced a fantastic game of football in which Villa won 4-3. Stones hammered home another penalty, making 5 penalties out of 5 for the English defender this season now. Hughes added Villa's second with a 25 yard culing effort which was out of the top drawer with Sturridge and Sterling adding the other 2 for a 4-3
Sterling scores again for Villa
Villa then smashed Porto 5-0
, which has already been reported on. Villa have found out who they will play in the Europa League 1st knockout round too, which will be reported on in due course.
Villa have had a shocker against an inspired Everton side. Rondon hit Villa's only goal of the game as they crashed to a 3-1 defeat. It was a disappointing result for the Villans at home but they are entitled to a poor performance every now and then.
Rondon has been in red hot form this season
They went to West Ham in the Capital One Cup, which has also been reported on and won 4-2, a great way to bounce back from the defeat to Everton.
They then produced there best performance of the season to keep a rare clean sheet against a injury plagued Leicester City side with a Rondon double securing the points but Villa could have had a hatful with Volland, Grealish, Rakitic and Cleverley missing sitters.
The Arsenal match could prove decive this season however as Danny Welbeck had a very impressive game for the Gunners. Bernard first goal was a messy Arsenal goal for once but they all count. Welbeck threaded the ball through for Bernard to run onto but Stones tried to clear it and hit it against his own post and Bernard scuffed it home for 1-0
Danny Welbeck was absolutely outstanding against Villa
Sterling got the equaliser however and it is one that Villa deserved. Santon moved the ball to Hughes and he lofted the ball over the defence and Sterling hit a stunning volley into the top right hand corner but Danny Welbeck was to have the last laugh. Arsenal and Villa matched each other on the day but Welbeck was a class above everyone else. He moved into the space ahead of the Villa defence and unleashed a great 25 yard shot into the corner that even Sirigu applauded once it went in. Arsenal had a just stunning victory.
Villa bounced back however by smashed SIX
goals past Wigan. Sterling, Santon, Caulker, Rondon with two and Hughes with one gave Villa a stunning way to put the Arsenal match behind them.
Chelsea are still unbeaten, 5 points clear of Manchester United with one game in hand too. Everton, Arsenal and Villa are challenging for the top 4 and Spurs have improved to mid table with Liverpool off the bottom but still disappointing in 15th place.
Villa Player Of the Month
Salomon Rondon was absolutely brilliant this month. He works hard, scores plenty of goals and is liked by most the players and all the fans. The Venezuelan is back to his Villa best and McGrath will be hoping that he can keep it up for the rest of the season with Sturridge out injured.
The Month Ahead
Aston Villa could make inroads this month on the top 4 and with Reading, Palace and Swansea in the Premier League, Norwich in the F.A Cup third round and then at the end of the month they play Chelsea THREE
times in a row at the end of the month in the Capital One Cup and the Premier League at the beginning of February.
The Transfer Window
Could Grealish be on his way out?
Aston Villa will sign James McCarthy in January and with speculation that Grealish will be leaving Villa will have to replace him if he goes. It is certainly going to be a big month in January for the Villans.