Villa park is one of “those” grounds. It’s old school but without every seat placed behind a post (take note Everton) but modern enough to feel like a perfectly functional Premier League ground. It’s also a ground where we have some history with cup semi finals and some epic clashes over the years. I don’t however think I’ve ever been sun-kissed there in mid March! You can keep your Costa del Sol.
Leaving when I did for an early kick off there was a chill in the air as I rolled into Euston. As always on a Saturday morning it was a sea of scarves, shirts and the infamous Sainsbury’s bags. The journey up was as pain free as always and we before we knew it we were in New Street. After a few jars in one of the local establishments we headed towards Witton station. Entry as pain free and as we reconvened with some of the group who traveled up to sample our second city’s Friday night, it was clear some were a little worse for wear!
Whilst ruing my decision not to bring sunglasses I was very thankful I had decided to wear a flatcap because the away end was absolutely bathed in sun. As layers came off, the match kicked off. From the off we were on the front foot and our rapid, dynamic play had the hosts at sixes and sevens. Eventually a move started by Saka was finished by him. Villa failed to clear their lines following a Cedric cross, the ball fell to Bakuyo and he fizzed it low under Martinez, sending the away end into raptures.
From then on, we should have added to our lead and the scoreline made it look a lot closer than it actually was. Villa rarely threatened but right at the death Coutinho swung a free kick in and Leno (who deputised brilliantly) pulled off a great stop through a sea of bodies. At the full time whistle, the manager, the players at the fans all celebrated together with Mikel Arteta’s new chant ringing around Villa Park.
The Bottom Line
So 5 out of 5 on the road then. We’ll take that all day long. And after the monotony of the international break we have another tricky away trip, this time at Patrick Viera’s new look Crystal Palace. It’s very much one game at a time at the moment but we must be looking at that as a must win. We sit fourth, it’s in our hands. But we need to keep it that way.