Tommy Elphick’s first league game as Aston Villa captain was, well, rather dramatic.
A rather sickening clash of heads with Wednesday’s Steven Fletcher opened proceedings and Elphick was quite lucky to continue, showing the resolve that defined his match.
Having led Bournemouth to promotion twice, Elphick clearly has the same goal in mind and is a born-leader. His game was marked with consistent shouts of “Bakes, Bakes!” and “Aly, Aly!” to both Nathan Baker and Aly Cissokho respectively. It’s refreshing to see a captain take charge of his defence like this and you know with Elphick that’d he’d be doing this regardless of if he wore the armband or not. He’s everything we wanted with Micah Richards last year. Sorry Micah.
Richards is an emotion driven player, but Elphick takes that to the next level. As Villa won their first corner of the game, Tommy screamed in the faces of the Villa crowd with a few audible roars of passion that slung spittle across Hillsborough. It was extremely aggressive and shocking to see a Villa player so visibly involved with the game. It’s his mentality that is so much more important than his play.
His play wasn’t bad at all either - he was always there with a thundering header and an all-action tackle. He was always there to cover Nathan Baker or the marauding Alan Hutton. We haven’t see someone take responsibility like that in years.
In fact, Elphick’s only mistake isn’t even on him! Pierluigi was caught up with Villa’s tempo and sliced a kick into the air. Elphick and Baker were both caught pushing a little high and Wednesday’s amazing Fernando Forestieri mopped up. I can’t blame anyone there as Villa were passing the ball around very fast and something hectic was bound to happen. The best part though? You just know Elphick was there, comforting Gollini.
All in all, Elphick was a goal away from a class debut. He’s instantly become the next ‘Holte End Hero’ and I know he is very well liked.
More of the same, Tommy. Just maybe with a little less blood next time?