Aston Villa Focus - Villa eyeing belief ahead of challenging run of fixtures
Winning becomes a habit in football, a habit that Aston Villa have forgotten in the year of 2012. With Villa failing to win in their last 10 Premier League games last campaign, and winning only one of their first 9 this season, losing was the only trick Villa had been practising.
Villa fans may now start to believe that this bad run is finally coming to an end. A last minute victory in the cup against Swindon was followed with a battling display away to Martin O'Neill's Sunderland side, grabbing a deserved 1-0 victory through Gabby Agbonlahor's first goal in the league for almost a year. The back to back victories earned this week in all competitions were the first Villa had achieved since August 23rd 2011, when they beat Hereford in the cup 2-0 after having beaten Blackburn 3-1 in the league a few days previous.
After achieving these two fine results, you would imagine Villa fans to be full of optimism coming into their next fixture this Saturday. Unfortunately, the fixture list has dealt a cruel blow to Villa's optimism, as they face in form Manchester United this weekend followed by a trip to the Etihad to face Champions Manchester City. They then take on Arsenal at Villa Park on the 24th of November, three fixtures that will strike fear into the hearts of the Villa faithful. Villa fans are right to be pessimistic, as last season Villa failed to gain a point from these three fixtures they face in the upcoming weeks, only scoring two and conceding seven. The task will not be made any easier with Darren Bent adding to an injury list that already includes regular centre backs Richard Dunne and Ciaran Clark, as well as captain Stan Petrov still missing as he continues to recover from acute Leukaemia.
Football has always been a story of underdogs, as Celtic heroically proved with their tremendous victory over Spanish giants Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday night. Gabriel Agbonlahor has scored two goals in Villa's recent victories, and he believes Villa have what it takes to cause an upset in the upcoming weeks.
Manager Paul Lambert will share Agbonahor's view, as he must install the rest of his young team with that same belief if they are to get anything from these next three fixtures. It has been a very slow start for Lambert as manager of Villa, as even with the credible victory earned at the Stadium of Light last Saturday, his team still sit just one place above the relegation zone. A victory in any of his next three games may just be the catalyst he needs to kick start his, and Villa's, 2012-2013 Premier League campaign.
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