Busy Month For McGrath!
It has been one hell of a month for Aston Villa & France manager Paul McGrath after Villa losing on Pens to Arsenal in the Capital One Cup final it was imperative that Villa won all there matches in the rest of the month.
It hasn't turned out like that though as Villa had a mixed bag and France suffered a shock defeat, so lets look at the month that concluded after the cup final defeat.
We start in London and the match against Queens Park Rangers which should have been a easy victory for Aston Villa, it was not though as Q.P.R actually played fantastically well and dominated the whole match. Even Zahavi scored the only goal of the game at Crouch Arena to condemn Villa to what must have been a morale destroying defeat.
Even Zahavi scored the only goal of the match as Q.P.R defeated Aston Villa
After Q.P.R had beaten The Villans, Villa had a very important F.A Cup Quarter Final to play against Stoke at Villa Park and it was a former player in Andi Weimann that seemed to have put the nail in the coffin at half time. Stoke were 2-0 up and cruising but McGrath always seems to get the best out of his players eventually and when Jovic hit a stunning 25 yard strike in the comeback looked on.
Raheem Sterling, who had been poor in the last few matches got the equaliser on the 65th minute with a tap in after a lovely Villa move. Villa were all over Stoke after that and when Sterling bagged his second goal, Villa had completed the great escape to book another Wembley Semi Final under Paul Mcgrath.
Villa then travelled to Italy to play Lazio and the fans at home and in the ground were treated to a complete delight of a game as Villa ran out 6-3 victors! Two goals from Rondon and Jovic along with goals from Sterling and Grealish gave Villa SIX away goals to work with in the second leg.
Ryan Gauld scores the equaliser in the Stoke match
They then went back to Villa Park to play Stoke again and yet again fans were treated to a fantastic match were Villa and Stoke drew 3-3. An own goal by Jordan Ayew and also one from Jack Butland helped Villa rescue a draw with Scottish midfielder Ryan Gauld got Villa's third goal but Stoke also got three and deserved there draw.
Villa then hosted Lazio in the second leg of the Europa League with a 6-3 aggregate lead and with Sterling scoring another brace this month making it five in four games gave Villa a 2-1 victory an a 8-4 aggregate victory.
That win gave Villa a Quarter final tie against Spanish giants Real Madrid. We could have had a easier task but we still think we can win this competition and just means we will need our 'A' game said Villa captain Salomon Rondon.
Salomon Rondon speaks out about the Europa League draw
Villa then were up against Wigan and raced into a 3-0 lead through James McCarthy Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish but Wigan pulled it back level. Villa were not to lose ground at the top though as Luka Jovic popped up in the 79th minute to give Villa the victory.
Man Utd are still top by three points with Man City and Spurs just behind. Chelsea, Liverpool and Aston Villa are still in the hunt along with Stoke, who are surprising everyone so far. Brentford, Fulham and Cardiff are in the bottom three but Burnley, Wigan and Everton are also in danger.
Villa Player Of The Month
Raheem Sterling has had a phenomenal month this month. The attacking midfielder has been all over the park this month and scored six times. He was not even challenged for the award.
Manager Paul McGrath had a mixed international break, Remy Cabella was called up due to injury. Karim Benzema got France going in just the third minute with a great low drive. Antoine Griezmann the got France's second just before half time to make it 2-0.
Georgia got one back early in the second half but Clement Grenier an Paul Greorges-Ntep got one each as France ran out comfortable 4-1 winners but midfield superstar Paul Pogba got injured and this allowed Turkey to grab a 1-0 win.
European Qualifiers Table
Turkey are the early leaders with Slovakia in second. Slovenia and France are the only other two sides that are likely to challenge, it is going to be a tight group.