A View From Below

Sporting debate and opinion

The rise of Aston Villa as a domestic force

Written 14/12/2008 after Aston Villa move into 4th place in the Premiership

Agbonlahor and Young lead charge to ambush the top-four

Villa’s 4-2 home win over Bolton sees O’Neill’s side leapfrog Arsenal into the Champions League spaces. As a gooner myself it is very difficult to laud a club whose every victory further enhances my own club’s difficulties of attaining fourth place, but there is a undeniable homegrown love about the Birmmingham based club.


Aston Villa’s attacking approach has seen them score seven goals in two games as Gabriel Agbonlahor and Ashley Young lead the club towards Europe’s most prestigious tournament. This summer Martin O’Neill had to contend with rumours over Gareth Barry’s impending exit to Liverpool, and although the Hastings born midfielder has since come back into the team, he has been forced to take a back seat to English football’s most exciting attacking duo.


Last week Villa’s 3-2 victory over Everton saw Ashley Young take home the plaudits as his two fantastic strikes helped to seal the three points at Goodison Park and prompted his manager Martin O’Neill to label him amongst the world’s top players and called for his recognition alongside wingers such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Although perhaps too early to tell just yet, Young has an abundance of potential and part of an exciting future at Villa Park.


A week later and a brilliant performance from Gabriel Agbonlahor saw him score two goals and set up another for Young to highlight his ability as a top marksman and take his tally to nine for the season in the Premier League.


On the basis on their recent performances Fabio Capello, the England manager, would be inclined to hand Young and Agbonlahor a run in the side given their remarkable understanding and form that has propelled their club side to fourth in the league with 31 points, only seven behind leaders Liverpool.


It is not just the attacking dimension that represents Aston Villa’s improved fortunes. Their solid base stems from goalkeeper Brad Friedel, defenders Curtis Davies and Martin Laursen and industrious international midfielder Barry. With a small squad invested in during the summer with the acquisitions of Carlos Cuellar, Luke Young, Steve Sidwell, Nicky Shorey and James Milner, now Martin O’Neill has the strength in depth to assault the top four whilst maintaining progress in Europe and the domestic cup competitions.


Aston Villa’s drastic improvements and in part down to O’Neill’s fantastic managerial skills but also due to the backing of Chairman Randy Lerner, and the efforts of Young, Agbonlahor and Co. may well see the side breaking into the top four this season.


February 22, 2009 - Posted by | Football

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