Villa: From The Dumps To The Brink Of Greatness
Month Of December: Gayle Da Man!
In a month where Aston Villa had six matches in which manager Steven Gerrard wanted a return of about seven points. What happened though was nothing short of special as Villa, who had to play Arsenal, Newcastle, West Brom, Leicester, Bournemouth and Leicester again.
It was Leicester who had the torrid time over the two premier league matches allowing Villa to score a total of ten goals over the two matches, with Dwight Gayle grabbing his second hat-trick in the space of twelve days.
Indeed it was Gayle on form this month as he scored in every game bar two but two of them were hat-tricks which meant he got nine goals in the whole month, meaning he had quickly become a certain fans favourite.
The first match of the month was a home tie against The Gunners of Arsenal and with Gerrard looking relaxed for the first time in his new job, he names Ayew to partner Gayle and with Arsenal slow in defence, named Grealish and Traore on the wings to terrorise the defence and as always Villa came out on fire. Ayew and Vertout went closein the first exchanges of the match and it only took 14 minutes for Villa to take the lead as good play down the Villa left with Traore, allowed Gayle to ghost into the box and connect onto the low cross provided by the Spaniard and drill it into the corner for a 1-0 lead.
Arsenal then looked to get a foothold into the game with Ramsey hitting the post and Paulista heading just over froma corner, and Arsenal were made to pay for there misses as Villa counter attacked at speed but this time Vertout and Gayle combined with a neat one, two pass to then play in Jordan Ayew, who scuffed his shot but sent Cech the wrong way to make it 2-0.
Arsenal, though were back in it just five minutes later when Walcott picked up a through ball from Coquelin to round Hahn and send Arsenal in one down at half time.
The second half was a dull affair, Villa hut up shop but made sure Arsenal could not play, which allowed yet another victory for The Villans.
Villa then traveled to Newcastle to take on a side that they had not won away from home against since 2005, the year that Keiron Dyer and Lee Bowyer were sent off for fighting each other!
This time though, through a Rudy Gestede header, Villa had made it five game without defeat. Gestede was by far and away the man of the match too. The Benin international really put himself about and his goal was a typical target man header from a Scott Sinclair corner.
Next up was the highly anticipated Midlands derby between Villa and West Brom at Villa Park. Villa manager made just one change as Amavi was injured, he bought in Ashley Cole, this game was one of the absolute classics.
West Brom started the brighter but it was Villa's Adama Traore who had the first shot on goal,a wasted attempt it was too but West Brom's Salomon Rondon made no mistake at all on the 11th minute when he was gifted far too much space and from about 16 yards out, hit the back of the net.
Villa were short of options but when that happens you just want to see a player take the match by the scruff of the neck and do something magical. Step up Dwight Gayle, who didnt just do something magical he single handedly won Aston Villa the match with a quite stunning hat-trick. His first was classic Gayle, running off the shoulder of the last man, racing onto a through ball from Dendoncker no less and sliding the ball home from about 10 yards out. His second came from a corner and although West equalised, Gayle was not going to be denied his first hat-trick since March 2nd 2013 for Peterborough when he punished sloppy play to hammer home a poor back pass and give Villa a great win.
Gil celebrates scoring goal against Arsenal
Then on Sky Sports Aston Villa produced there best performance of the season so far with a 5-1 hammering of Leicester, the match saw manager Claudio Ranieri first afterward when goals from Carles Gil (x2), Gestede (x2) and Traore meant that Leicester were plunged deep into the relegation fight.
Next up came a Bournemouth side, who if they were to win would go into the top four signalling they obviously had a great start but Villa, finally firing on all cylinders were not going t let that happen so in the 15th minute Traore smashed home a free kick to give Villa 1-0 lead and 15 minutes later, it was 3-0 as Dwight Gayle grabbed a 7 minute brace, his first from a header from a early Carroll cross and then after good link play between Amavi and Grealish, allowed Gayle to again get in behind the last man and score, there was a suspicion of offside but replay show him onside by half a yard.
Bournemouth made it interesting in time added on when Pugh made it 3-1 but with Villa in great form, early in the second half Villa killed the game off through Jordan Ayew, then Bournemouth grabbed a second but Villa had already won this match.
Then came Leicester again, the second time in a month and this time it was almost the most the scoreline as Villa, through a hat-trick from Dwight Gayle, first time he has two hat-trick's for this club in the same week, with Dendoncker and Traore also getting onto the scoresheet to give Villa 6 out of 6 for the month and a goal ratio to 20 goals for and 8 gols against and also 6 out of 6 for the month.
Errrr, I am as pleased as punch to how we are doing, I can look at January and think, I have money for new players but I think there is enough quality already. I think a right back could help Bacuna out though.
I thought we were excellent against Arsenal and both times against Leicester too but it is still a long season ahead, but one I am looking forward too.
Aston Villa are the big movers, up into the Champions League places with 18 games left to play and January window up coming, Man City are top with Chelsea and Man Utd just behind.
Bournemouth have slipped down the table whereas Stoke still remain bottom 13 points adrift from Swansea in 17th place, Leicester and West Ham finish the relegation zone off.
Villa Player Of The Month
Gayle has 9 goals this month which includes two hat-tricks and a brace. When he signed from Palace to Villa there were a few eye brows but it shows that Steven Gerrard know what he is trying to do and will continue to do it.
Gayle has put himself around and also scored the winning goals this month including two excellent hat-trick.