The first half of the match was the story of Ciaran Clark. Yes, there was the pesky 13th minute goal by Leandro Ulloa that put Leicester City up 0-1. A goal that took a deflection and wrong-footed Brad Guzan, but one that he still should have fallen on. Instead the ball rebounded and Ulloa hammered it home. Yes it stunk. But whatever, Guzan is having some trouble holding onto shots lately, but he's still unquestionably the best option in goal that Villa have.
But in the 17th minute, Clark started turning the narrative his way. Ashley Westwood lined up over a free kick and sent it unmarked into the box. Clark came sprinting in, contorted his body, nearly lay down, and headed in the equalizer. It was a beautiful goal, and it gave Villa their third new goalscorer in as many matches after only having had two in their first twelve.
Things were pretty uneventful until towards the end of the half. Carlos Sanchez sent a pass back to Ashley Westwood and Jamie Vardy came charging from behind, missed the ball, and scissor tackled Westwood. It looks like the tackle badly twisted Westwood's ankle, and it should have absolutely been a red. Instead it was a yellow and Vardy is an ass. This is where Ciaran Clark comes back in. Moments later, he laid out Ulloa with a perfect tackle that was clean and laid him flat. Now, I never want to cheer for an injury, but the attitude shown from Clark (tough but smart) is exactly what Villa need to see more of.
In the second half, we saw Villa playing the way we've wanted all season. They were attacking every chance they got, and it seemed inevitable that they would score. But they didn't for quite a while. And eventually Jack Grealish came on for an injured Tom Cleverley. He brightened things up a bit, and in the 71st minute Villa finally broke through when Benteke found a wide-open Alan Hutton in the Leicester box. The Scot calmly collected the ball and put it past Schmeichel to give Villa the 2-1 lead.
A few minutes later, Hutton became the center of attention again when he and Paul Konchesky got into a bit of a fight. Konchesky hit Hutton hard and stood over him, Hutton bounced up and shoved back. I was expecting a red for both, but it was only Konchesky who got one while Hutton had a yellow.
And up a man, Villa managed to hold on, despite the fact that they didn't seem to want to keep possession. We're now back up to 11th, six points above the drop.
But whatever you can say about today, the best part was Villa playing the way we'd like. Yes, I never want to see Charles N'Zogbia again, but given the injury situation his presence made some sense. And Lambert used his subs very well. He wasn't content to sit back in the second half. It wasn't a perfect match, but it was a huge step up towards what we want. And I'll take that and the points thank you very much.