Over the past few years watching Martin O’Neill’s side, one thing that I have always noticed is the lack of that 20 League goal a season goalscorer. Villa have done very well without one though as they have progressed under the stewardship of the Northern Irish manager to the heights of fourth place by Christmas this season, a staggering eight points ahead of Liverpool. What Villa have got is a great work ethic and great talent in midfield such as Ashley Young, Stewart Downing and James Milner which provide assists and contribute a fair few goals themselves. Solidity at the back has also helped them progress as Richard Dunne has been the cornerstone of four consecutive clean sheets in the last four games. All of these things make Villa a dangerous side to play against and a difficult team to break down, something which Arsenal will have to bear in mind at the weekend as the Birmingham club visit the Emirates.
To make that one step they need to become constant rivals for the big four however, I believe they need that one last piece of the jigsaw. That constant goal threat which guarantees that one chance will be put away, a natural finisher to complete Villa’s attacking moves. Villa of course already have three very good strikers. John Carew has come closest to being that elusive 20 league goals a season man, he racked up the goals last season scoring 19 in all competitions and 11 in the league with injuries maybe being his only obstacle to a greater tally. He has found himself as a super-sub this season scoring 5 goals, mostly appearing from the bench but he understands the need for patience:
The team has been doing well and during the season you won’t be playing all of the games. The last couple of weeks I’ve been on the bench and that is ok. I just keep myself fit and try to deliver when I am on the pitch anyway. The squad is also bigger and we have more possibilities. One can go out and another one can come in and do the same job.
The man who is currently in the team instead of him is Emile Heskey. Heskey is a different style of striker, he provides problems for defences but he will not be a constant goal threat and although he has begun to score recently as he has started more games, I believe 10 goals is really his maximum. Agbonlahor this season has scored 8 in the league already but for me he seems to go through purple patches of scoring and then he seems to hit a barren spell. Perhaps as he gets older this will change and it might happen this season but it’s by no means certain.
To get this fourth place finish though, I feel Villa need somebody who is a dead cert who can rain in the goals during the season run in. With a better defence than both Manchester City and Tottenham, if Villa can guarantee a supply of goals at the other end, their competitors will find it very hard to catch them and they might find themselves sitting happily in that fourth position at the end of the season. Liverpool have Fernando Torres, Tottenham have Jermain Defoe, Man City have Adebayor, Santa Cruz, Tevez and Bellamy so why shouldn’t Villa have a goal poacher too? It is not an essential purchase for Villa but I believe that it might make a real difference to Villa’s capabilities of finishing in a Champions League for it provides a different option and another outlet.