Welcome to My Favorite Villa… a new series from the staff at 7500 to Holte! With no sport on as everyone stays at home amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re sharing our favorite Villa teams, moments, players, kits, and anything else we can think of.
I have a few different pictures that rotate through as my computer or phone background. One of them is of Andreas Weimann.
It’s from my favorite Villa goal.
Six-and-a-half years on, I still love everything about this goal. The way I watched it on my phone as I was getting lunch in the dining hall. The beautiful counterattacking football this team could play. The way Villa came back from down a goal twice to win. The optimism this result gave us. The quality of the distribution from Brad Guzan. The perfect touch from Weimann to knock it past a helpless Joe Hart. The way he kept chasing after the ball until it was finally clear the ball had enough to cross the line. The pose in front of the fans after he scored. The limbs. God, the limbs in the Holte End.
Weimann’s goal, and the result it brought, was probably the zenith of Paul Lambert’s tenure at Villa. It’s easy to remember how poorly it started — Lambert won just 5 of his first 28 league matches — and how poorly it ended, but it’s also easy to forget that, for honestly most of 2013, it actually looked like he’d figured this thing out.
Under Lambert, Villa turned the club over to a youth movement they spent little money to support, trying to rebuild the club like an American sports franchise does. It was incredibly reckless, of course — we don’t have relegation in American sports — and in some sense, it’s a miracle Villa survived it in the first place. In Lambert’s first season, 9 of the 12 players who played at least 45 percent of Villa’s league minutes were 23 or younger, yet by springtime, Villa had a strong counterattacking identity and finished the season by going 5-2-3 in their last 10.
Suddenly, there was a reason to believe this reckless youth movement was going to work. That summer, Villa signed Nathan Baker, Christian Benteke, Ciaran Clark, Matt Lowton, Ashley Westwood and Weimann — a sextet of players who grew as young first-teamers a year before — to new contracts. They supplemented this growing core with more young signings, this time from the continent.
When Weimann scored to shock the eventual champions, it meant Villa had won 8 of their last 16 Premier League matches. The club have never come close to a run that strong in the Premier League since.
And it still remains my favorite Villa goal.