Writer: Mike Field
Date:Tuesday December 18 2012
ESPN and the BBC have been positively gushing following our victory at Anfield, and 6 of our players made it into their teams of the week.
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ESPN selected Brad Guzan, Ciaran Clark, Barry Bannan and Christian Benteke.
Paul Lambert was named manager of the week.
And the BBC selected Matthew Lowton, Nathan Baker and Christian Benteke.
ESPN said of their selections:
Benteke - 'A series of barnstorming performances underline what a raw talent the Belgian is. Scoring two and setting up one on your first visit to Anfield is no mean feat.'
Bannan - 'Up against Steven Gerrard, Joe Allen and Lucas, Bannan, alongside partner Ashley Westwood, bossed the midfield for Aston Villa. Prompting and probing from the centre, on this evidence he may well become the first name on Lambert's teamsheet.'
Clark - 'In a fledging Aston Villa side, captain Ciaran Clark was the rock upon which their seismic win at Anfield was based. At 23 years of age, Clark can count himself as something of a veteran in Paul Lambert's side and operating in a back three, he was pivotal in weathering both a first and second half assault on their net. Clark, alongside Chris Herd and Nathan Baker, was magnificent.'
Guzan - 'Brad Guzan's afternoon at Anfield didn't contain a string of stunning saves but with 29 shots on his goal to contend with the Aston Villa stopper had to be on constant alert. Guzan was diligent in all areas of his discipline, dealing with crosses well, rushing out of his area to cut off the supply line to Luis Suarez and repelling several dangerous efforts.'
Lambert - 'Deliberation for manager of the week took all of three seconds. For weeks Paul Lambert has been telling us he has immeasurable faith in his young guns and after their victory at Liverpool made it five Premier League games unbeaten, perhaps a few more people will take notice. Villa are now 14th and looking upwards.'
Garth Crooks said of his selections for the BBC:
Benteke - 'What a performance from the 22 year old! It's taken some courage for Paul Lambert to embrace a style of play that has no room for Darren Bent. I for one thought he was wrong and said so. But credit where credit is due, Benteke is giving Villa options not afforded to the team before.'
Baker - 'The moment I saw Nathan Baker's tackle on Jonjo Shelvey in the opening minutes, I said that Aston Villa were up for this game and, boy, was I right. The Villa backline defended as though their lives depended on it. Baker and Clark looked a fine partnership.'
Lowton - 'Villa's win at Liverpool had a bit of everything - good football and its fair share of missed chances. Matthew Lowton was instrumental in a defensive display the like of which I haven't seen from a Villa side for years.'
Full team selections:
Guzan [Villa], Vertonghen [Tottenham], Williams [Swansea], Clark [Villa], Toure [Man City], Bannan [Villa], Hoolahan [Norwich], Taarabt [QPR], Benteke [Villa], Van Persie [Man Utd]. Manager: Paul Lambert
Lloris [Tottenham], Lowton [Villa], Shawcross [Stoke], Baker [Villa], Gibbs [Arsenal], Cazorla [Arsenal], Toure [Man City], Taarabt [QPR], Pilkington [Norwich], Benteke [Villa], Van Persie [Man Utd].
The BBC also have some interesting 'did you know's' associated with their selections. Matt Lowton has apparently made 47 tackles so far this season, 20 more than any other Villa defender. Nathan Baker's stat is that Villa have conceded an average of one goal a game in the seven matches Baker has played, compared to an average of 1.70 per game in the 10 he has missed. Benteke's stat is simply that he scored two from only three shots on target against Liverpool.
The Forum Thread on Crook's selections makes interesting reading:
BIG LIKE! Pundits seem to be recognising the improvement in our side - tasso10
Noooooooooo!! We don't want our players getting this type of praise. When Young and Milner were here, they often featured in the Garth team and know what happened to them. Keep it quiet and we might keep them longer. - Claret & Blue Blood
Westwood ran over 7 miles in the game, not sure if he touched the ball but that's impressive - Aspinall
It is funny how on the one hand they say Liverpool should have been 3-0 indicating they were the better side, then say that Liverpool played bad so we were luck to get then on an off day, and then praise our players and say we did deserve it - macca1087
Some of the comments that we could've been dead and buried after 20 mins is horse dung - Aspinall
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Date:Tuesday December 18 2012
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