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Thursday, 10 October 2013

Aston Villa Finish Regular Season on a High


Aston Villa ended their regular season on a high last night as they emerged victorious against the Champions of Division 2 - Arsenal in what was a very close encounter at Villa Park.

The Villians were already assured of a play-off spot and the 2 automatic-promotion spots were already confirmed so there was really nothing to play though that was not what manager Hancock believed. Here is a part of his pre-match press conference when he answered this question:

"I certainly don't believe that there is nothing to play for tonight even though we are guaranteed of a play-off spot and it is impossible for us to get automatic promotion. Arsenal are the champions of Division 2 and were easily the best team in the Division as well as the strongest. They have a star-studded team with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Carles Puyol, Vincent Kompany, Dani Alves, David Villa and many more. They won the title easily and I want to show that we have what it takes to beat them. We came very close to beating them the first time around but only managed to get a 1-1 draw but I'm determined to get a win tonight which is we're not fielding a weak team in anticipation of the play-offs but in fact most of our first-team players will be starting tonight."

 Aston Villa lined up in a 5-4-1 formation:

Jagielka - Sakho (C) - Zambrano
M. Suarez
S. Sam - A. Radu

Hancock couldn't have hoped for a better start against the Division 2 Champions as German midfielder Sidney Sam opened the scoring for the Villians in just the 4th minute of play, Max Kruse crossing it into the box and Sam finishing. After the opener, the match was pretty even with both sides having some good opportunities to score but Villa had a slight upper hand which might have been due to the early goal which proved to be a great confidence booster. Hancock's men were unlucky though as the Gunners showed just why they had cruised to the Division 2 title, David Villa equalising just before the half-time break in the 44th minute.

After the half-time break, it only took Aston Villa as long as they'd taken for the first goal as they scored 4 minutes after the restart, the goal coming from the unlikeliest of sources, 17 year old defender Andrei Radu scoring in the 49th minute, Max Kruse with the assist again. Hancock's controversial decision to start Radu against Arsenal and if it wasn't enough to start a 17 year old, Hancock also chose to play the young defender in midfield but his choice paid off as Radu's goal turned out to be the goal that separated the two teams and it was his goal in the end that got Villa the 3 points.

Hancock had Max Kruse to thank for the win as the 25 year old who joined the club on loan at the beginning of the season from Huddersfield, set up both the goals. Kruse has had a very successful loan spell at Villa Park and fans are hoping that his loan spell will be extended and he will stay at the club for one more season.

Villa finish 3rd in the table with 67 points and have qualified for the Play-offs. Hancock's men face Burnley on the 11th of October in their play-off semifinal. The other semi-final will be between Bolton Wanderers and Walsall. Villa have had a great finish to the season with 9 wins and 2 draws from 11 matches and the Aston Villa faithful will be hoping that they continue their form and emerge victorious against Burnley tomorrow night.


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