As we edge closer to to the New Year and the half-way point of the 2017/18 Sky Bet Championship season, there have been a number of stand-out players within Villa’s squad. Some, like Keinan Davis, Albert Adomah, Sam Johnstone and Robert Snodgrass have been applauded for their commitment to the promotion cause and their performances week in, week out – or near enough.
Even Alan Hutton, who looked to be an outcast from the squad in the early stages of the season due to the arrival of Ahmed Elmohamady, the return of Ritchie de Laet from a year long injury, and the impending blossoming of James Bree, has received praise in recent weeks.
But there are a number of players that are perhaps the unsung heroes of the Villa squad, those who do their duty with little praise, or have done things that have bettered us in games to come.
The Welsh international has been a stalwart at left-back all season, making very few mistakes. The only games he has missed have been due to suspension, which allowed Alan Hutton to reclaim his place amongst the first XI.
Taylor provides ample defensive cover, but also has provided cover for Adomah when he was wandered more centrally. Knowing that his area is covered by Taylor has given Adomah more free reign and could be attributed to the winger’s current confidence in front of goal.
Everyone at the start of the season probably looked at the signing of Samba and the sale of Baker and thought “huh?!” – but Samba has deputised well for the injured Terry. There have been times this season, such as the Sheffield Wednesday game, where Samba has looked a liability – but the lovable brute has performed adequately next to Chester.
He uses his large frame to block balls and commands the area whether he’s attacking or defending a set-piece.
He’s like a rabid dog on the pitch at times, constantly chasing after the ball. If you watched the game on the weekend, you’ve have seen him home in at the ball and get absolutely clattered whilst attempting to win it.
This is the kind of player Villa need. He may be quiet on the pitch at times, but he gets the job done and does the dirty things that the likes of Onomah, Hourihane or Lansbury might be too scared to do.
Whilst he’s suffering with a bit of poor form at the moment, Hourihane’s hero status remains intact due to his hat-trick against Norwich earlier in the season.
This instilled hope in the Villa faithful, and probably even the players, and we’ve really pushed on since there.
Who’s your unsung hero so far this season? Let us know.