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Saturday, 18 May 2013

Aston Villa: Who has been our player of the season?

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When a team looks set to finish one place above the relegation zone you would think picking a player of the year would prove difficult.

At Aston Villa that has been exactly the case, but strangely not because individual players have performed poorly. The side, as a whole, have taken time to gel but throughout the team there have been some stand out players who are already been courted by other clubs.

I’ve narrowed it down to five players: Brad Guzan, Matthew Lowton, Ashley Westwood, Andreas Weimann and Christian Benteke.

Brad Guzan

The Amercian goalkeeper was voted player’s player of the year this season, which shows how highly he is thought of at Villa Park. Despite the fact Villa have been haemorrhaging goals all season, he has saved us more times than I care to remember – the two stops in injury time, when we held on to a 2-1 win against West ham United instantly spring to mind.

He started the season as Villa’s number two, with the great Shay Given standing in his way, but he somehow managed to muscle his way through and cement his place in the side. Hopefully he will now go on to become one of the Villa greats in between the sticks.

Matthew Lowton

Again, it might seem bizarre nominating a defender in a team that has conceded 68 goals, but Lowton really has been a revelation. He is one of the new breed of defenders, which means his attacking play sometimes outweighs his defensive skills, but he has missed just one game this season.

Having come in from Sheffield United for a minimal fee, he has made the right back position his own – plus his goal against Stoke was good enough for some sort of award on its own!

Lowton is defintely one to keep tabs on for the future.

Ashley Westwood

The midfield general has just grown in strength and confidence since moving from the Crewe conveyor belt of talented youngsters, straight into the heart of Villa’s side.

He looks a future captain in the making and, although his game is often very unstated, his through ball for Agbonlahor against Norwich was a tantalising peak at what could be in store for Villa.

 He needs to stamp his authority on games more, but he has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water.

Another very promising youngster at the Villa.

Andreas Weimann

His 12 goals in 37 games this season do not exactly show blistering form, but there is much more Weimann’s game than that.

 He was prolific for Villa’s reserves but has been asked to play in a much wider position, as part of a three-pronged attack, since breaking into the first team.

Weimann has come up with the goods on a few vital occasions, particularly away from home, but his effort has been unrivalled this season.

If he can work on his finishing during the close season, and Villa manage to hold on to him, we could be in for quite a season.

Christian Benteke

‘The Beast’, as he is quickly becoming known across the globe, does not really need an introduction.

 The Belgian Benteke, considering the £7.1 million Villa paid for him, must be the signing of the season in the Premiership. He was been an absolute colossus for Villa, leading the attack practically on his own at times, while giving the league’s best defenders an absolute torrid time.

To score 26 goals in your first full season in English football is nothing short of incredible. The fact he’s managed to do it in a team that has struggled for much of the season, is astonishing.

 We can only hope and pray he decides to give us and Lambert a few more seasons, to repay the faith that was placed in him. Selling him at any cost would be completely pointless under Lambert's vision for the future.

My player of the season

Looking at Villa’s top five players a decision has to be made. This may be hugely controversial but my vote would go to Weimann. No-one has battled harder, chased more balls, run the wings for 90 minutes, or put in as much effort on a regular basis.

The Austrian international was yet another product of Villa’s fantastic youth set up, who has gone on to flourish in the first team.

It was difficult to over look Benteke, who really has been a wonderful addition to the squad, but Weimann epitomises everything Villa stands for on his good days - and long may it continue.

Article by James Fisher

Calling all Villa fans: Do you agree with James? Does Weimann deserve the accolade more than Benteke? Does Guzan just beat them to it? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.

Follow me on Twitter at @sqf_illingworth


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