Who Are Ya? Norwich 1-4 Aston Villa

Clarks Call

Paul Lambert’s much-anticipated return to Carrow Road started well for his former side, but then went wrong in a cracker of a cup tie that seemed to say Villa aren’t as hopeless as some might have thought.

Going down 1-0 on a Morrison goal at 19 minutes, Villa responded immediately, with Brett Holman banging in the equalizer right after the re-start, pouncing after Benteke and Bassong battled for a long ball. From there, it was end-to-end action, and could’ve gone anywhere. Given had a world-class save to keep Villa alive at 1-1 following some really nervy stuff, Bunn did his part for Norwich, and goals at each end were disallowed for offside.

But as the game wore on and extra time loomed, it was Villa who broke the deadlock—and Norwich. Andreas Weimann (who came on for an injured Darren Bent at 35 minutes) scored at 79 minutes, and then again at 85 to seal the deal. As the traveling support enjoyed Villa’s now certain victory, Christian Benteke finished things off in style with a very well-deserved goal at the end to make it 4-1.

And the whole thing could’ve been 6-6.

So what did we learn, besides being reminded how much fun cup football can be? Well, if cup ties are any indication, Villa aren’t a bad side…14 goals in four games, four each against EPL sides Manchester City and Norwich, and coming from behind as well. It’s clear Villa are a side feeling a lot of pressure in the league. Take that pressure away, and there’s a lot of spirit and endeavour. And there are goals.

This is a side coming of age before our eyes. Finished article? No, not at all. But I’m enjoying this. I like these players, I like this team.

What else did we learn? Darren Bent got his start, was denied in a one-on-one by Bunn, went off hurt, and then Villa scored three more without him. Christian Benteke was immense and invaluable, involved in virtually everything up front. This signing was a coup.

So, there aren’t any points, but we’re in a semifinal in Lambert’s first season, and our second in four seasons, and have taken a famous scalp along the way. Swansea, Middlesbrough, Chelsea, Leeds, Bradford and Villa remain standing. We’re in with more than a shout.

And well done, Bradford. Again, what cup football is all about, knocking out Wigan and then Arsenal, both on penalties.

Ryan’s got a good piece coming up just a little later at 9:30am, but I wanted to put something up about the result last night because it was so much fun listening in.

Like the City game, it was stirring and full-blooded stuff, a slice of why we love football, and a reminder of how good it feels to see Villa rampant and putting the knife in. More of the same, please, lads. Nice job.

About the Author

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John ClarkJohn has followed Aston Villa since the 1970s. He got his start in journalism writing about professional cycling, and is currently at work on his first novel, which has nothing to do with football. He is, by most accounts, a very nice person.View all posts by John Clark →

  1. J.P. WilsonJ.P. Wilson12-12-2012

    I too am happy over the result, and i think it goes to show that this season will have a lot of ups and downs, and that we really should not judge it, or any season, till the end. thats like judging a book half way through, what if u love the ending more than any book youve ever read, of all time.

  2. J.P. WilsonJ.P. Wilson12-12-2012

    will that said, I wish to appeal to the blog to have frem punished,

    punished for his post earlier, replaying to our league position he says its not nice and brings doom, while everyone, and i mean everyone on the blog, were thinking and happy about the Cup game. He has no sense of topic, and is the definition of a doom monger.

    i ask for a punishment.

  3. John ClarkJohn Clark12-12-2012

    Well, all I can say is that I know Frem gets concerned.

    So don’t be too hard on him. He suffered through McLeish with the rest of us, most would say that’s punishment enough.

  4. gordonsidneygordonsidney12-12-2012

    Villa fan who lives in Norwich here. This was a tremendous cup tie. It had everything: great goals, terrific saves, end to end football, the return of the prodigal son, offside goals, and not a little skill. I was immensly proud of the team and the Villa fans were bloody marvellous giving unceasing support for 90 minutes. Until our second goal this could have gone either way and Given’s reaction save in the second half was absolutely crucial.
    During the time he was on I thought Bent impressed in running the channels and our defence, after looking shaky early on, grew in stature with our two young CBs getting to grips with Holt. Man of the match for me was Benteke, an absolute handful all night, and it is now clear that Weimann should always start.
    Now, lets transfer the confidence from this win to the premiership, and with a couple of Lambert’s astute signings in January aim for mid-table and a cup.

  5. TrinityTrinity12-12-2012

    Thanks, John.
    It’s good to see most fans sticking with PL and the team through both thick and thin, even though, as chiefy said once it’s been mostly thin n thin in recent years. Me thinks the club is going through a period of trials and some tribulation and I’m starting to like what I see. There’s some character being developed. The players really appreciated the away support. so doff of the hat to them.
    We need someone like Frem on here. How’s the fitness training going Frem? Are you good at swimming? and see if you can get someone to teach you how to do a kit muster and strip, clean and reassemble an SA 80. That’ll make RM basic training easier. Be prepared.

  6. James PriorJames Prior12-12-2012

    Hello everyone.
    I believe that this game is going to be a big turn around. The bets were on Norwich to win that game, and for Villa to win by 4 goals to 1 says that the young team we have are starting to get together and working as a ONE. I would like to see Weimann and Benteke up front against Liverpool as i see a great partnership coming together. And who ever we get in the Semi-final, i have great hope that we can beat them and go to the final with a great chance of silverware.

  7. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman12-12-2012

    Good post John! Give Lambo time and he’ll slowly make us great again!

    Fastbackace, the lack of respect and reaction to ill founded fear and negativity is hopefully enough of a punishment. Everyone likes debate and different perspectives, but not outright negativity with no sense of perspective. It’s enough to make you want to leave the discussion entirely.

    There are always fluctuations but over time everything returns to the mean. Our mean is being improved by the day, as we we improve so will the league position and results. UTV

  8. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman12-12-2012

    Also, to anyone that has wanted Lambert sacked! You are entitled to your opinions, but you are wrong and your opinion deserves no respect.

    Rome wasn’t built in a day! Show some support infidels

  9. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey12-12-2012

    Infidels Gav?

    Do you have your own sabre to rattle too? ;)

    Excellent result though and proof progress is being made. Well done Villa.

  10. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman12-12-2012

    Granted i’m being a argumentative dick, but it’s still true! Anyone that is a none believer, those that don’t buy into the plan and philosophy, is an infidel that should be stoned to death by the holte end :)

  11. The DroydThe Droyd12-12-2012

    Well that was a scoreline that no-one predicted. Before the game I thought about having a bet on there being under 2.5 goals. Fortunately I didn’t do it.

    This is about as exciting as it gets for a Villa fan currently – the chance of actually winning something and qualifying for Europe.

    I’m not saying we will do it but at least there is hope, whereas even before the Premiership season starts, we know that we have no chance of finishing in the top 6.

    The Premiership will give us nothing but the jitters this season but we can have some genuinely great days in the cups. The prospect of going to Wembley is very exciting. Please let us draw Bradford next…

    The two finishes from Weimann were signs of a class finisher. I know his footballing skills are generally of the class of someone in the division below but this kid works his arse off and can finish. Benteke continues to improve and impress. It’s hard to make a case for Gabby to be starting in our next Premiership game.

  12. RobRob12-12-2012

    I keep saying the same to all who will listen and have done since about three games in … watching this young side develop is an almost once in a lifetime opportunity. If you can’t enjoy that now, you don’t deserve to enjoy it when it really does blossom.

    I hope too many don’t get carried away by this result though. They’ve achieved nothing yet except perhaps my respect for the way they are going about the job, but it is by no means the beginnings of a false dawn either.

  13. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey12-12-2012

    Welcome to the site Rob by the way – I hope you enjoy your time on here.