Aston Villa Emerge As the Real Deal, Look to Shake English Football to Its Core

M KavehContributor IDecember 23, 2008

If somebody had stopped following the Premiership since its dramatic conclusion in May and then was to look at the Premiership table this Christmas day, they would be surprised by a number of things.

Liverpool leading the way, United off the pace, City in the relegation places, Tottenham so low down and Fulham so high up. Yet there are two events that would shock them to the core.

Promoted Hull City lying in sixth and Aston Villa in third.

Both would shake this man to the core but if he were to look again in May, would either still be in the upper echelons of the world's most competitive league? Chances are Hull will slip to a more modest position in the bottom half but what about Villa?

They are an exciting, young and skillful side who should be in the mix come the finish line. In Gabby Agbonlahor, Steve Sidwell, Nigel Reo-Coker, Curtis Davies, Martin Laursen, John Carew, Curtis Davies and Brad Friedel they posses one of the league's most solid spines.

There is one man in their team who without, you feel they would struggle to compete. Ashley Young. A player who I rate on par with Messi and Ronaldo has been nothing short of sensational this year.

Be it his lightening pace, deft touch, pin-point passing, stunning free-kicks, confident cross or his powerful strike, Young has excelled in all fields. He has reached a level so high that when Villa score a goal, it is almost guaranteed he had a hand in it.

A game to pin-point is Villa's recent fixture against Everton at Goodison Park. The game was level at 1-1 when Young reacted to a poor pass back and slotted the ball past Tim Howard, one chance and one goal.

Everton pushed on and in the last minuted found their equaliser but Villa weren't quite finished. A long hopeful ball from the kick off found Agbonlahor who fed Young. The 23 year old turned Lescott inside out and smashed the ball home once again to complete a stunning comeback.

Villa have rarely been as sensational as that but they are beating sides around them with ease and they're reward is a place in the Top Four for Christmas. It's refreshing to see a side built up over a few years by the excellent Martin O'Neill reach the top while mega rich City flounder in the relegation zone.

Can they continue this rich vein of form? Of course! Barring injuries to their top players, then Villa could dump Arsenal out of the Top Four and shake English football to its core.

It will be a hard slog between now and May but if Villa are up for the fight, then that fella will probably see Villa among United, Liverpool and Chelsea when he checks the table again in May.