This Is Villa Park

This Is Villa Park

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

April Poster Player of the Month; Gabby Agbonlahor

Poster player of the month is the player that will appear each month at the top of my blog.
Gabriel Agbonlahor
After his perfectly timed return to form recently, the local born goal getter has been a hero at Villa for as long as you can say his full name.
Agbonlahor joined Villa as a boy and made his way through the ranks, making a name for himself as a prolific goalscorer, after scoring forty goals in one season at youth level. He was then handed his first team debut in 2006 by former manager David O'Leary.
He scored his first goal on his debut against Everton despite then going on to lose 4-1 at Goodison Park.
Gabby then went on to make a further two appearances that season but came to light in the first team in the new look Aston Villa side that was managed by Martin O'Neill after the dismissal of O'Leary that summer.
Named in the opening day of the season against Arsenal at the Emirates, he went on to appear in all but one of the forty two league and cup games that season. He finished the campaign as top scorer, scoring ten goals, nine in the Premier League and one in the League Cup.
The following season he only missed one game and again the goals kept coming. This time around he scored eleven goals all in the league, bagging himself a player of the month award and a place in Fabio Capello's England side.
And still there was more to come from the Brummie.
On the opening day of the 2008/09 season in the match against Manchester City, he got himself the match ball after scoring a hat trick in a 4-2 victory.
Gabby finished the season with thirteen goals, and his impressive form earned him  his first full international cap against Germany in 2008.
Maintaining his scoring form throughout the following season, he hit a personal best, scoring sixteen goals.
Yet the 2010/11 campaign became a frustrating one for Agbonlahor who struggled with injuries throughout the year. However, it still came with its memorable moments under Gerard Houiller, scoring against rivals Birmingham City in the League Cup quarters and then also celebrated his 200th appearance for the claret and blues in the Second City derby draw later on that season. In April, he then went onto score a last minute winner against West Ham to springboard Villa's final push which saw us finish 9th after a horrid season.
The frustration continued for Gabby during the 2011/12 as his injuries seemed to linger despite his flying start under Alex McLeish when he scored a curler against Blackburn Rovers in the second game of the campaign.
This season the revival of Gabriel, our very own guardian angel, has been much welcomed by Villa fans.
He's not only noted for his goal scoring though. His love for Villa and commitment to the cause make him ten times more attractive than his shocking moustache.
Strikers get judge on goals, simple as, yet if Gabby lacked in his all round game he wouldn't be the player we all know and love.
You could say he's sacrificed Man City esque millions, a heap of medals and silverware and England call ups to remain a local hero. But he's not prepared to let his Premier League status slip.
This season, his goals and assists and general work rate to push the team forward are helping to do so.
Lightening quick, powerful and with the predator's eye for goal, Gabby's loyalty to the club has not always brought him the rewards he arguably requires. Two trips to Wembley and three seasons of relegation fights is hardly a nice trophy to treasure on your mantelpiece.
But for all these reasons, he's a player and a man I would never like to see wearing anything but claret and blue.

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