Villans On The Up
So this month saw Aston Villa make a steep climb up the table as they went the month undefeated and it only included one draw from the five games consisting of four Premier League matches and one F.A Cup match. This though was the month of strikers for Villa as manager Gerrard continued with bucking the Premier League trend and played two up front for all five matches and it worked a treat as they bagged 10 of the 14 goals scored this month.
It was Dwight Gayle's month yet again though with the big Jamaican bagging four goals along with Jordan Ayew also getting four too.
So lets start with where it all began this month, Gayle's former club Crystal Palace. Now Palace told everyone they had sold a failing striker to a side who had no chance of finishing ahead of them, which didn't just rile Gayle but it must have pissed Villa off too.
Manager Steven Gerrard has turned round a disastrous start to push Villa up towards the Champions League spots, so he named a side to try and negate the threat of Bolasie and Sako by putting Douglas and Galloway playing right and left back respectively as they were the faster of the options available.
Gayle has been in awesome form this month
Up front was Bendtner and Gayle, wild horses were not going to keep Gayle out of the side but it was Jordan Vertout that was the stand out performer, as Palace kicked off, Vertout nicked the ball off Chamakh and immediately launched one down the field, running onto it was Dwight Gayle, who rounded the keeper and slotted home to score the quickest goal in the league this season after just 28 seconds and it immediately set the tone for the match.
Bendtner, Vertout and Okore went close before Villa and in particular Gayle grabbed the second goal and this was all about the big Jamaican! Galloway made a fantastic run on the left and just played a simple pass to Bendtner who was on the half way line, he beat one defender and megged another with his pass that Gayle had run onto, he was around 25 yards out and keeper was off his line. Gayle hit a pinpoint chip that looped over the keeper and into the net to make it 2-0.
If you thought Villa would ease off then you were wrong and just two minutes later they were 3-0 up after Vertout, who was central for everything hit an early cross that Bendtner connected to, to head home Villa's third and surely put the match to bed already.
Palace got one back in the 38th minute though after a mistake by Leander Dendoncker allowed Chamakh to make it 3-1 and it stayed like that until half time. Traore was replace by new signing Elmohamedy and it was he who got the forth towards the end of the match as Villa had continued there dominance throughout the whole match and when he despatched a free kick to score his second goal in just eight games Villa were in cruise control and even though Chamakh got a second, the result was never in doubt.
On the back of that result, Villa then travelled to Stoke to play the team rooted to the bottom of the table for the whole season. Villa for the first time this season named a unchanged team for the trip with O'Hare still keeping out the likes of Dembele and Sinclair.
It was Villa who flew out of the blocks again in this match when they won a early corner, in which Vertoutwhipped in for centre back Dendoncker to head home like a bullet and shock Stoke from the off. Joselu and Bojan went close afterwards but was both easily saved by keeper Hahn.
Dendoncker scored for Villa against Stoke
It was Villa who retook the lead though through that man again Dwight Gayle. The striker who was put through by O'Hare hit a scuffed shot which was able to wrong foot Butland to get Villa's second goal of the game and they needed it because Shaqiri had equalised with a stunning freekick.
Both teams huffed and puffed in the second half but it ws not until the 90th minute when Villa finally put the game to bed as Ayew capitalised on Stoke going for the win and had the whole of the half to himself as he danced around Butland to make it 3-1.
Villa manager rewarded Ayew with a start against Huddersfield for the F.A Cup match alongside Gayle with Vlaar, Sinclair and Carroll all coming into the side for the match, interestingly it was Vertout and not O'Hare who was rested.
It was Jordan Ayew who stood out as Villa ran out resounding 4-1 victors but the game was over by the 38th minute. The first goal, scored in the 7th minute and Villa 3rd goal in a row where they have scored inside the first 10 minutes. It was great play by Douglas and Traore to get a cross in and Ayew headed home for 1-0.
You can not stop Gayle scoring this season and in the 19th minute he bagged goal number 18 in all competitions with a crisp left footed drive after great play by Jordan Amavi. In the 38th minute though was the best goal of the lot and this was the ultimate team goal. It started with the goal scorer Carroll, who passed it to Traore, under pressure he had to go back to Douglas who then passed it through the defence to Amavi. He gave it back to Carroll, who took 2 touches and gave a simple pas to O'Hare, who played a delightful ball over to Amavi who then vollied in the cross for Carroll to head home!
O'Hare has been awesome since joining up with the first team squad
You will not see a better goal this season and on Soccer Saturday Chis Kamara went bazerk. Villa then scored again through Ayew but Huddersfield scored a consolation goal through Jamie Peterson and Villa progresed to play West Ham United at Wembley in the semi final. It will be Villa's second Wembley trip in two years as last season they defeated Liverpool in the final only to lose to Arsenal in the final.
Villa then went to Norwich and young midfielder Callum O'Hare carried on his amazing rise in the Villa side by claiming another man of the match award although it was not all good news for Villa as Leander Dondecker was dismissed for two bokable offences but still won 2-1.
Jordan Ayew made it 4 goals in just 3 matches with a stunning finish around 25 yards out, Norwich went at Villa though and in the 30th minute Elliott Bennett had what is most probably going to be the miss of the season. He skinned 3 players before passing it to Mbokani, who played it as a 1-2 which tricked Hahn but Bennett scuffed his shot with the goal glaring to hit the ball wide.
Elliott Bennett missed an absolute sitter against Villa
Substitute Mousa Dembele hit his first goal for Villa with a wonderful left footed effort after great work by other sub Elmohamedy, just two minutes later and Dorrans hit a consolation goal for The Canaries but yet again Villa held on for there forth consecutive win.
There then was a boring 1-1 draw against Swansea with the highlight being a goal for target man Rudy Gestede made it 1-0 but Gomis hit the equaliser for Swansea to get a point and it was probably what they deserved out of the game.
Errrr, yeah, this month was awesome! I think now with just 7 or 8 games to go, this Villa side has every chance of the title not just Europe and the Champions League. We are still conceding too many goals, I get that but look at the way we are banging them in! I have not one, not two but four strikers who are scoring at the moment in Rudy, Jordan, Nicklas and Dwight, but what a season Dwight has had. No one gave him a chance but I new I could get the best out of him and duly I have.
I have to mention Callum (O'Hare) too because he claimed THREE man of the match awards this month and I have been impressed with his attitude and work rate this season. I can also reveal that he has been awarded a new contract too.
We have eight, possibly nine if we defeat West Ham this month cup finals left, Man City and Arsenal are two of the teams to play so this is going to get interesting and we will try our best to win the title!
Aston Villa are still the party pooper's as far as the regular top 5 are concerned as they are only 4 points behind leaders Man City and only 2 points behind Chelsea, who are in second and Arsenal are currently 3rd in the table with United and Spurs just behind 5th placed Liverpool.
Norwich, Watford and Bournemouth are all but assured to stay up which mean that it will be the first time in a long, long time that all 3 promoted sides have stayed up.
Sunderland are in 18th place at the moment but with a inferior goal difference and being 4 points behind Everton look doomed along with Leicester and Stoke.
Villa Player Of The Month
Jordan Ayew gets it this month, he went toe to toe with Dwight Gayle, which this season has been very difficult. He has shown great endevour this month and hitting four goals really showed that he belongs in this team.
Callum O'Hare also signed a new deal this month, penning a 4 year, £4,800 per week deal and Villa fans have fallen in love with this 17 year old. O'Hare, who has broken through this season has grabbed two man of the match awards in two matches.
Also Dwight Gayle signed a new deal this month too as he signed a new 5 year deal worth £30,000 per week. The striker has been in red hot form this season and has duly been rewarded.