Heading into this weekend, it was apparent that if Aston Villa were able to take all three points from Norwich City at Carrow Road, they would put themselves in excellent condition to survive the 2012-13 EPL season. After a dreadfully boring first half, the team lifted the hearts of Villa fans everywhere by somehow converting a bit of absolute nothing into a Gabriel Agbonlahor goal to make it Norwich 0-1 Aston Villa.
The first gif here is incredibly long (and thus a large file), but I wanted to showcase how this goal came out of nowhere. The set up was almost nonexistent. One second there was some standard midfield action, and the next Gabby was celebrating his first goal of the day. Look for yourself:
And because the absolute beauty of a shot is a bit hard to see from that angle, here's a better look at the finish:
The angle that he had to hit there is just amazing. From that position there is literally only one direction in which he can hit the ball and score, and he actually does it. A clinical strike if ever there was one.
But while we were all elated, Joe Bennett was off having himself a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day. After having already gotten a yellow earlier in the match, Joe decided he'd like to try his hands - literally - at a dunderheaded tackle. This was the result:
Great job, Joe! Wrap up the guy who doesn't have anything, and do so in the box! Of course, Norwich's Grant Holt easily converted the penalty:
Soon after that, Wigan decided to take the lead from West Brom. In the course of a few minutes, Aston Villa had gone from an 8-point lead on Wigan to a 3-point lead. Worse still, Norwich looked revived and were pressing hard to get all three points. But Villa settled and did what they do best: counter. Ashley Westwood had the days most perfectly placed pass to get Gabby the ball so that he could score for the second time on the day.
The goal came with 70 seconds left in regulation and would be enough to seal the deal.
Villa now sit at 40 points and are in 13th (!?) place. In two matches they have shaved 6 goals off of their negative goal differential and are now one better than Wigan and Norwich and two better than Newcastle. Things are looking up for the Claret and Blue. Nevertheless, a point or three from Chelsea would make the final match against Wigan much more bearable.