For some reason the lasting image of the Villa win over Chelsea is Fabian Delph, just after making contact with the ball that would prove to be the game winner, stopping and freezing, as if someone aimed a remote control at him and thumbed the pause button, to see where his shot would end up. It's hilarious to watch and it stands out in the whole of a pretty excellent break toward goal. Delph stops and stares like he's in his own world. Go to your home. Sure enough it did and Villa fans everywhere lost their collective minds.
All the talk after the disgusting 1-0 loss to Newcastle was about Paul Lambert's final stretch of games as Villa manager. All of the underachievement. Everything was bleak and terrible like a summer's day in Glasgow. Now back to back home wins at Villa Park, recently thought of as the worst place Aston Villa could play, have everyone buzzing. Are there still real problems at Villa? Yes. Let's forget about them for at least one more day and take a few things away from the weekend that was.
- For once Aston Villa had the entire fan base of the Premier League watching them play and for once they didn't disappoint. It's not an understatement that almost every non-Chelsea fan in the world were hoping for a Villa win. It was nice to have fans of Arsenal and Liverpool say they were rooting for Villa even if it was wholly self-serving, Villa made a lot of people happy with their victory.
- Fabian Delph has made about the best possible case for Aston Villa's player of the year hasn't he? I think you can argue that Ron Vlaar should be considered as well but for me, it's Delph. It's hard to believe the promise he carried when he came in, quite expensively, from Leeds United. Many injuries and managers later he's driving Villa forward. Is it enough to get into the England squad? Probably not and if that bothers you, I certainly understand it. At long last, however, maybe people are starting to come around.
- Leandro Bacuna has been an absolute steal. On the one hand you talk about Delph and his coming good on long ago promise when he arrived for big money, on the other you have Bacuna. He arrived without a real position (and still doesn't really have one) but has shown versatility and natural talent that belies his age and price tag. There was a moment on Saturday when a ball ran free and Bacuna latched on to it. The way he drove it forward from Villa's end almost blew my pants off my body. I imagine the Groningen CEO lit up a few expensive cigars after yet another impressive Bacuna performance.
- I have to wonder where the conversation goes from here about Lambert's future. If he steers the side to a mid-table finish, it's hard to see him leaving. There's a lot to be said about where Villa have come from, financially speaking, since the Martin O'Neill days. A decent finish in the league will get them prize money and another year of Premier League TV revenues. While some of the purchases from last summer's strange window have yet to deliver, it has to be said that none of them are going to be straining the books for years to come.
- Also, for all the questions about Lambert's in-game tactics he got it absolutely right on Saturday, didn't he? Lambert put out the best lineup he had available and the Albrighton sub worked to perfection.Villa looked dangerous on the counter and never looked out of their depth.
- A tip of the cap to Karim El Ahmadi. He rarely gets mentioned and that's because he's so quietly dependable in his role. Honestly, you'd have a hard time convincing me he's not the 2nd most important midfielder on the club behind Delph. There's no question if Villa are to show ambition beyond what they are he's not a long term answer. However, he's been of great value for the 2 million pounds he came over for.
- Every weekend the pundits give their focus to the rich clubs. If two rich clubs play each other, the winner of that match is the best in the league (see: Liverpool beating a pretty mediocre Manchester United team). If a rich club plays any other club, the analysis of the result is focused on the rich club. You'll see a lot of "Nine man Chelsea loses to Unknown Club". Sure, Ramires was sent off deep into stoppage time but don't let that get in the way of a garbage headline. The only thing more satisfying than the win over Chelsea is the inability of Blues fans to look past the officiating. It sucks to be on the other end of it, doesn't it? I won't make a single apology for that match as the calls have gone against Villa countless times in just this season alone. More importantly, Villa were slighted in the reverse fixture when Branislav Ivanovic scored the winner after somehow avoiding an obvious red card. It was a small measure of payback to a team that may yet go on to win the league - but it was payback nevertheless.
- Here on SBN's soccer page the takeaways on the big matches of the weekend focused on the officiating. Chris Foy had a bad day. Of course he did - he made decisions against Chelsea. How anyone can argue Nemanja Matic's goal should have counted is beyond me - not to mention he handled the ball in the box and didn't receive a card. Again, a megarich club feels hard done by and the world is crumbling down. When anyone outside the Super Friends Alliance gets screwed over, which happens on a regular basis, no one makes a sound. The reaction of pampered Chelsea fans to perceived slights from an official are hilarious and should sustain me well into next season.
- Back to Delph for a second, I enjoyed some of the comments from United fans on Delph's goal. He couldn't have meant it. He's obviously terrible and hasn't scored stunning goals before. Meanwhile, you know.
- Jose Mourinho's "What did I say?" face as he was told to hit the showers was priceless. He's done an expert job at making sure the entire narrative around the match is centered around Foy's decisions and not his team's inability to score a legal goal against a generally leaky Aston Villa side. We'll accept the grudging "I guess Villa played ok" stuff from the match of the day punditry.
- It's been a very up and down season but this is a match we'll remember vividly once the curtain closes on 2013-14. We'll see just how Chelsea's title aspirations hold up after this one - I'm guessing they'll get back on track rather quickly. But for Villa this is three points closer to safety and perhaps closer to a new season where safety isn't the only thing Villa fans are hoping for.