When Ron Vlaar was rested for our last game against Liverpool, you probably thought - 'That's it. Good season fellas, this is where it ends'. After Concrete Ron's form this summer in both the World Cup and the Premier League, you can hardly be blamed, the dutchman has been MASSIVE for us.
So when Nathan Baker steps in, after a disappointing 2014 season where he seemed to smack his head on things more times than he helped keep clean sheets, I can understand the nerves kicking in. Honestly. If you were to tell me in May that Villa were going to play Phillipe Senderos and Nathan Baker up against Mario Ballotelli and Daniel Sturridge, I'd have cried and signed off on the match.
Call me one blown away Villa fan. I would have never expected the 'Goonies never say die', brick wall defence that has helped us grab 10 out of 12 possible points so far to be a part of a team that simply relied on the lucky break in the past.
With Ron Vlaar rested, Nathan Baker stepped up to the plate and gave a resolute performance that is starting to become the trademark of this 2014-15 Aston Villa squad. Baker was even named Man of the Match. Whatever Lambert and Keane are feeding the Villa boys is clearly working, and their confidence is sky high, as evidenced by the Birmingham Mail. Nathan Baker said something, which I believe underlines the spirit of this villa team. A quote that gives us an idea of what goes on in the dressing room under the Trinity Road Stand.
"If we can beat Liverpool, we can beat anyone" - Nathan Baker, speaking to the Birmingham Mail
After spending two seasons watching an Aston Villa team clearly lacking confidence, quality and direction, this simple nine word quote speaks volumes and shows the attitude of the new and improved Aston Villa. A team who will try and give Arsenal a game in the perfect litmus test of how far we have come in the space of a few months.