Away Ability

By Tom Vickers
Last updated : 17 November 2008

Villa's amazing victory against Arsenal at the Emirates on Saturday may have come as a surprise to many but anyone who is a fan of either side should not have been too shocked.

The Claret and Blue are simply stunning on their travels at times with a counter attacking style that any team would find difficult to combat.

Arsenal, on the other hand, are prone to losing games they are heavily expected to win.

The Gunners destroyed Manchester United at home seven days before the defeat to Villa and were apparently on a high. But the weight of expectation riding on their shoulders after that win proved to be just too much of a burden.

That's not to take anything away from Villa, who dominated from start to finish and could have won by more had Ashley Young not missed from the spot.

So why is it that Martin O'Neill's men perform so brilliantly away from home, yet lack fluency at Villa Park?

This weekend sees the visit of Manchester United and Villa will face a tougher test than they encountered in London.

United see Villa Park as a second home and always seem to claim an impressive victory there.

Villa have struggled for form on their own turf and, although they were unbeaten until Boro stole three points over a week ago, it does not tell the whole story.

Safe

With the emphasis on them to attack Gabby Agbonlahor and co fail to take games by the scruff of the neck.

Away from home Villa enjoy absorbing pressure and hitting teams on the counter but at home the shoe is on the other foot.

And when John Carew doesn't start they seem to completely lack options.

All too often long balls are aimed at Agbonlahor who may be a lot of things but he is no target man.

Villa fail to play to their strengths and sides like Portsmouth, Boro and Liverpool simply sit back safe in the knowledge that their opponents lack the imagination to break them down.

Only once this season have Villa ripped a side apart and dominated a game at Villa Park. They showed against Man City that they are capable of playing flowing football in front of the Holte End.

City simply couldn't cope as Agbonlahor and Gareth Barry contrived to stretch Mark Hughes' back four and Villa claimed a sensational 4-2 win.

But, fans need to see that sort of performance on a regular basis. Otherwise season ticket holders may consider saving their money for away games in future.

Villa are capable of anything and, as they did at Arsenal, they will need to illustrate that against Ferguson's men this weekend.

Aston Villa Match Reports

Sky Bet Championship Tue 21st November 19:45

Aston Villa 2 - 1 Sunderland

Last game - Match Centre


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