Villa: From The Dumps To The Brink Of Greatness
Improving Villa Go Up The Table
Grealish has played well this month
If Villa were disappointing last month, then this month they were fantastic and really dug themselves out of a hole, although there is still work to be done. Now Aston Villa only had three matches in November but they were big ones.
All were Saturday matches with a 3pm kick off, but they were teams who were all doing well. Southampton were lying in 7th place, Man City were of course top and Everton, under-performing in 13th place but were still playing better than Villa had been.
So the first match Villa played was against The Saints at St. Mary's and Steven Gerrard made a bold decision to name Jordan Vertout as the attacking midfielder and he brought in Idrissa Gueye from the wilderness to take the place that was left by Vertout. Jordan Ayew was given the starting slot ahead of Gestede and Gayle but was tol to perform or he was out.
This was a much better performance by Villa though and with Dondecker and Clark at centre back they held firm all match, Villa attacked down the wings all match and Grealish and Traore were thorns in Southampton's side all match. Villa showed attacking intent right from the start of the match when Vertout hit a fizzing hot just past the post. Grealish and Clark also went close as Southampton had a couple of half chances in the first half.
The only goal of the game came after some amazing trickery on the left by Grealish, who played in the overlapping Amavi who then delivered a pinpoint cross for Ayew to head home. Villa then held on but there was one cause of concern for the Midlanders as they only had two shots of the 12 they took on target.
So buoyed by there victory in Southampton, Aston Villa hosted league leaders Manchester City and it was obvious manager Gerrard had looked into this match intensively and shocked Man City by naming effectively a 4-2-4 with Grealish, Gestede, Gayle and Traore up front with Tom Carroll and sitting in-front of Dendoncker and Richards (against his old club) with Amavi and Bacuna on the wings.
This obviously shocked City and Villa flew out of the blocks again with Bacuna hitting an early free kick wide after Carroll was bought down 20 yards out. Villa then went close again with Gestede heading just over the bar from a Carroll corner. Man City then had a chance of there own in the 17th minute, Kevin De Bruyne got onto the end of a Sterling cross but it was dealt with easily by Hahn.
Traore has been electric on thiswing this month
Just one minute later and Villa were deservedly in front an it was a first goal for new signing Dwight Gayle, if you thought the finish was spectacular it was all about the build up which some papers suggested was Barcelona in disguise. Gestede picked the ball up deep and played it to Vertout, who one touch gave it back to Gestede, then after one touch he chipped it over Mangala onto the running Bacuna who delivered a vollyed firt time early cross into the path of Gayle, who unleashed an amazing overhead kick to make it 1-0, what a way to open your account.
It took the striker just 16 minutes to make it 2-0 but this time it was a more scrappy goal as a corner was not cleared and Gayle was the man in the right place at the right time to send Villa fans into raptures as they made it 2-0.
After half time Villa carried on there assault but Gayle spurned 3 chances for a hat trick then Man City undeservedly got themselves back in the game on the 69th minute when Nasri hit a hit and hope which somehow squeezed through the hands of keeper Hahn but Villa held on for a historic win an two in a row.
Villa then travelled to Everton full of confidence and Gerrard made three changes bringing in Sinclair for Grealish, Nolan for Gueye and Okore for Dondecker, Everton took the lead on the 42nd minute with a well worked goal by Deulofeu, placing it into the top right hand corner. This came after Leighton Baines had missed a penalty in only the second minute after Naismith had been bought down.
Earlier in the season if Villa went 1-0 down they would faulter but Gerrard bought Grealish on for Sinclair and it paid dividends when he ghosted in off the left hand side to drill home and salvage a draw for the Villans and see them go November without losing.
Well, I always new we had the tools to move up the table and I can only congratulate my squad for the improvement and effort they have put in. I have really worked them hard on the training pitch and as you can see we are making our fans believe in us again and when they go home happy, we do too.
Man City, despite the loss to Aston Villa are still top with United, Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea rounding out the top five.
Bournemouth's dream start continues as they are still 6th in the table with Villa moving up to 10th and Stoke, Everton and West Brom are in the bottom three.
Villa Player Of The Month
Dwight Gayle wins this month hands down in our view. He scored his first two goals against Man City and has been a pain in the ass for everyone he has played against.