As Dave Beaston rightly says on his VillaFan blog: "Since that amazing second half performance against Newcastle, Aston Villa have pushed on as a team. The young lads such as Westwood, Lowton, Benteke & Weimann have improved with every game."
He goes on: "But, massive credit has to go to Brad Guzan. The American was re-signed by Lambert in the summer & has been nothing short of breathtaking so far in this campaign. I will go on record by saying this, if it wasn’t for Guzan’s amazing performances this season, we surely would be going down. Brad has to be fans player of the season for sure." Perhaps also the player's player?
Dave further says: "The players have improved because of one person, Paul Lambert. He went in with a vision, which has seen the old guard hardly see any playing time at all. A risky view to some, but to others it was the right choice. Players such as Bent, Ireland & Given (just to name a few) should be looked upon by these young lads for guidance & leadership. Instead, their lacklustre performances have just frustrated Lambert & the fans."
Dave, I applaud you for these comments. I totally endorse them. There have been quite a few who have moaned about Lambert, but I have always felt that he has a strong mind and knows what he wants. That he left those experienced players out had to have a reason behind it, and that reason has to do with the words 'commitment' and 'compatibility' (to fit in with Lambert's playing style).
But the situation is not yet sorted. Wigan are still picking up points, and if they win their game in hand then it is Villa that will go back into the bottom 3. Villa have to get 3 wins and a draw from their last 8 games in my opinion.
We seem to have a decent keeper, an OK midfield (needing Delph i.m.o.) and a decent attack. Most of the others are there to lull the opposition into the notion that they have a chance!
Survival is do-able. But it's going to be a nervous ride.