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Aston Villa Focus - Benteke secures priceless Villa victory


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By Dominic Price

Friday 30 November 2012

It was a must win game for Villa on Tuesday night against promoted side Reading, and they did exactly that; win. It was not a classic by any means, both sides doing very little to warm up the quite low attendance on a bitterly cold night.It may have been due to the freezing conditions that many people stayed away, or even the fact the match was televised on Sky Sports. Or maybe Villa fans were beginning to lose faith in Paul Lambert, having started the season so poorly and being one of the lowest scorers in the league.


Christian Benteke scoring against Reading


It was a must win game for Villa on Tuesday night against promoted side Reading, and they did exactly that; win. It was not a classic by any means, both sides doing very little to warm up the quite low attendance on a bitterly cold night.It may have been due to the freezing conditions that many people stayed away, or even the fact the match was televised on Sky Sports. Or maybe Villa fans were beginning to lose faith in Paul Lambert, having started the season so poorly and being one of the lowest scorers in the league.


Whatever the reason, what the low attendance did see was a determined team performance that on the balance of play really did deserve to win the match. It was a match where anything less than 3 points would have been a disaster and Christian Benteke’s late header to seal the win was a huge relief to every Villa fan inside Villa Park. However, that win alone will not be enough if Villa want to avoid being in a relegation dogfight with a very inexperienced team.


Lambert must now concentrate on their next hugely important match; an away trip to winless QPR. It will be Harry Redknapp’s first home match in charge of the R’s following the sacking of Mark Hughes late last week, so they will certainly be out to impress their new manager. Redknapp has become a fans favourite in recent years, transforming a struggling Spurs side before being tipped as favourite to succeed Fabio Capello as England manager. Indeed, he already seems to have made improvements at Loftus Road, which were clear to see in QPR’s first game under Redknapp, a battling 0-0 at the Stadium of Light against another struggling side Sunderland. It was QPR who looked the better team, and Villa will be fully aware of this fact.


Two successive clean sheets for Villa will also impress manager Paul Lambert, especially as they fielded their youngest side ever in a Premier League match on Tuesday night, with an average age of just 23. Darren Bent was once more left out of the squad on Tuesday night, with Lambert insisting that there was no problem between him and the striker, suggesting that only hard work and effort will earn his way back into the side. Bent is a proven goal-scorer at every club he has played for, and with every game he is out of the team, Lambert will continue to be questioned about his absence.


If Aston Villa continue to impress, and continue to pick up points, then Bent’s absence will not be a major problem. If they lose on Saturday it will almost certainly put them back in the relegation zone, and the questions will not only be asked from the media, they will almost certainly begin to be screamed from the stands as well.



See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on QPR v Aston Villa





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