LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 31: Stephen Ireland of Aston Villa scores a goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on December 31, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
While the the main proprietors of 7500 to Holte are basking in a very joyous weekend that has nothing to do with football, I'm going to just let all of our fine readers know how delighted we are with today's result and the performance to go with it. While we wait for a full match review that's certain to come later on there are so many positive things to take away from today's effort from the claret and blue that I think all of the Villans around the globe are still walking a few inches above the ground.
The main story today has got to be Stephen Ireland's sudden discovery of his very best form. The man was everywhere today. We've often talked about his penchant for invisibility when he does make his rare appearance in the Villa XI. Given the midweek faux-controversy due to a strange but perfectly harmless photo of him in some unfortunate apparel, it looks like Alex McLeish decided to back the mercurial midfielder by inserting him into the starting lineup and boy did it pay off. Without getting too in depth, he was absolutely brilliant today and showed touch, finish and the ability to find himself in space the entire match.
Have your say below about Ireland, Bent's super sub moment and subsequent badge-thumping, Carlos Cuellar trash talking Juan Mata on Twitter and then owning him on game day with his prediction of #AstonVillaGoals, Stan Petrov's go-ahead goal and all the rest. Hey - Gary Gardner made his debut!
So much to be excited about for a team that's been so dire. Savor this one, friends. Happy New Year.