BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: Christian Benteke of Aston Villa scores the second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Swansea City at Villa Park on September 15, 2012 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Two weeks ago, this feature came on the heels of an exciting draw at Newcastle. We all had hope that Villa were onto something. But we'd have to wait, as the international break was here to make us all miserable. Now that we've seen what happened, I think we can all agree that the win was worth it. Paul Lambert got his first Villa victory, Matthew Lowton and Christian Benteke got their first Villa goals, and Aston Villa got its first win since March.
Below, you'll find the usual assortment of recaps and news highlights to get your Villa week off on the right foot. Think of this as your claret and blue coffee: you can't start your Monday without it.
Just The Facts, Please
Form (Last 5): - L L D W
Results Last Week: Aston Villa 2-0 Swansea City (EPL)
at Southampton - Saturday, September 22, 1500 GMT, 1000 Eastern
Celtic (NextGen Series) - Wednesday, September 19, 1900 GMT, 1400 Eastern
New Injuries Last Week:
Returned from Injury
- Karim El Ahmadi - calf/shin
The Week That Was
- There really wasn't too much in the way of Villa news over the past week, as most of the world was still focused on international football.
- The one big story - that, oddly, hasn't seemed to have any legs - was the news that Christian Benteke may have been involved with a car-jacking and assault. Given the paucity of follow-up, I think this really isn't a huge deal. Nevertheless, we'll keep an eye on it.
- The team banned a group of supporters from unfurling a "One Stan Petrov" banner because it apparently obstructed the view of some people for whom I do not have appropriate words.
Aston Villa 2-0 Swansea City (EPL)
Matthew Lowton (16'), Christian Benteke (88')
- This match was everything that Villa supporters hoped we'd see out of a Paul Lambert side. The team faced a red-hot Swansea and managed to better them at their own game. At no point did it feel as if the Swans were in control of the match, and the final line doesn't reflect the couple of opportunities that Villa likely should have finished.
- Brad Guzan continued to show why he's got the starter's position, making two superb saves in the 10th minute and playing exceptionally well for the rest of the match.
- The goal by Lowton was one of the best we've seen from a Villa player in quite some time. A left-footed strike from just beyond the box (off of a corner!) that had the keeper utterly fooled.
- Benteke's goal wasn't as pretty, but it was impossible not to see the change he impacted on the team when he came on the pitch. He has the ability to hold up play - and be a taget - like Emile Heskey did, but he's already clearly got more deftness and finishing skill. Watching Benteke is going to be an absolute joy, and though the depth isn't staggering, you could do worse than have Agbonlahor, Weimann, Bent, and Benteke as your strikeforce.
- If you'd like to see the goals or Guzan's amazing saves, we've got them right here in our gif recap of the match. Careful, they will take some time to load.
- I found it very interesting that Ron Vlaar got the captain's armband this week. But in the match, he more than proved he was up to the task, anchoring one of the most impressive Aston Villa defensive performances we've seen in a while.
- Matthew Lowton and Brett Holman look to be exceptionally good signings. Both worked as hard as I've ever seen a Villa player work, and both did so with wonderful results.
- The WhoScored recap of the match is here. I love the point made that Villa had "a high number of chances relative to their possession." Remember, it's not just how much you have the ball, it's what you do with that time.
- The Birmingham Mail match report is here.
- Aaron's totally-devoid-of-hyperbole recap is here.
- Villa travel to Southampton this week. Away matches are never easy, but Southampton have looked downright terrible through their first four league tilts. They've got a -9 goal differential after losing 6-1 to Arsenal in London this weekend. Adding insult to injury, two of those 6 goals came off of Southampton players. Woof.
Look for Villa to get in another good match. They'll need the confidence, as they play Manchester City a few days later in the League Cup.
- The reserves' match against Celtic in the NextGen Series will be a vitally important one. Through their first two matches, Villa have yet to pick up a win in the group, so getting three points at home will be of paramount importance.
It feels wonderful to be writing about a team that got three points again, and it feels even better to be watching them. I'm really looking forward to Saturday's match to see if the club can keep up the great work they've already begun. It's too early to think this team is completed, but boy is it nice to know that's close.