“You never win anything with kids,” but there’s plenty of time for that at Villa
The relinquishment of a two goal lead is usually a cause of sadness and negative reflection, but there is much to be positive about if you’re a Villa fan, despite Houllier’s men shipping two late goals against United on Saturday.
This season has seen more disappointing and turgid displays lacking excitement and attacking ingenuity than Villa fans would have cared for and has left them with little to shout about.
An unusually tedious and defensive Birmingham derby, a thumping at Newcastle and a management bruhah-hah have all contributed to a tepid start to the season.
Excluding the opening day hammering of West Ham, wins have been hard to come by and have been hard fought, even against Burnley and Blackpool’s second string, with seemingly little to prompt jubilation and optimism for the remainder of the season.
However, glimpses of promise shown in even the darkest of performances have seemingly begun to be realised at Villa.
The talent of Marc Albrighton has been evident since his first touch of the ball on his full debut this season and his positive attacking performances have served as a reminder to fans what attacking wing play looks like.
Having been touted for many years as a rising star for the future, Alrbrighton has been confined to the reserve team under Martin O’Neill, who was seemingly afraid to tinker with his consistent performers.
Having finished as runners-up last season in the reserve league and won the competition the year before, Villa’s team of youthful prospects have clearly punched way above their weight against the all-star reserves of those at the top of the league and with $uper rich $heikh owners.
After repeated seasons of witnessing the same 14 players turn out for Villa, irrelevant of physical fitness and their preferred position. An O’Neill favourite was marooning Reo-Coker at right-back.
The emergence then of little Barry Bannan from the shadows of his reserve success then is a sight to behold and thankfully he’s not alone in his progression into the first team.
His recent assured and elegant performances that saw him stylishly assist Albrighton for Villa’s goal against Fulham and hold his own against the might of Manchester United have been complimented by other rising stars making the step up from Wednesday nights playing in front of family and friends to the alliterative hype and pressure of Sky Sport’s Super Sunday.
Unless he finds himself lost on either wing, Ciaran Clark has also performed confidently and has shown little sign of his inexperience against opposition of far greater maturity.
In his absence though and with injury to established midfielders, an opportunity was given to Jonathon Hogg to express himself against the might of United.
Having previously started against Rapid Vienna, Hogg overcame the nerves which seemed to blight his full-debut in the Other European Cup and in the face of the permanently shouty Darren Fletcher and twinkle tows Carrick, the youngster hid his inexperience and his combative display subdued the midfield dynamism of the visitors for large parts of the second half.
Whilst this season might well be a disappointment in comparison to the consistent league finishes of the past three years and the excellent cup runs tasted last term, the building blocks for an exciting future have been lain and more importantly have been given an opportunity to grow.
A lack of international stars is something that will be on most fans Christmas list this season, but with the promise of youth is cause alone for excitement at Villa, despite what has been said about the level success that can be achieved with kids.
Thankfully Alan Hansen isn’t anywhere to be seen.Tags: Aston Villa, Premier League
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