“Don't you understand that we need to be childish in order to understand? Only a child sees things with perfect clarity, because it hasn't developed all those filters which prevent us from seeing things that we don't expect to see.” ― Douglas Adams
The 2012-13 season saw the arrival of Paul Lambert and a new philosophy. Relying on youth and inexperience saw us at our lowest points, an 8-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge and an aggregate loss to League Two Bradford City in the semis of the League Cup. However, the occasional highs which saw us finish 15th after fighting relegation for the most part of the season.
"Don't you understand that we need to be childish in order to understand?"
Compare a child, their inexperience in life, to an Aston Villa player of last year. Let's take Fabian Delph for example. Eleven yellow cards in twenty six games played in all competitions. As an inexperienced midfielder in the Premier League; having only appeared eighteen times previously in the league; you would think of this as naïve. Childish maybe. His inexperience possibly led him into making those rash challenges which got him those yellow cards.
A child's inexperience in life would possibly lead them into getting into a fight far too easily or going full flow into something without thinking twice. Compare that with Delph.
See what I'm getting at?
Aston Villa's players needed to be childish in order to understand. In order to understand that you can't make those mistakes, because they can prove costly eventually. They can see you into a relegation fight, or knock you out of the semi finals, just ninety minutes away from Wembley.
They were childish, they made mistakes, but look at Delph now. In all four games this season so far, arguably Fabian has been man of the match in all of them. An anchor-man in midfield, yet his rash challenges have been subsided with slick link up play, meaty tackles to break up play and the odd goal.
The opening day of the season has been eagerly awaited by most and Villa faced the challenge of Arsenal at the Emirates. Yes, there was a positivity but I don't think anyone would have imagined what we witnessed on that day.
Despite going behind to an Oliver Giroud strike in the sixth minute, Christian Benteke bagged his first double of the season; one from the penalty spot and the other from an unsuccessful penalty.
New boy Antonio Luna then added a third on a swift counter attack from an Arsenal counter attack, with the left back finishing like a composed out and out striker.
It was a very mature display against an immature Arsenal side that complained every decision that the referee made.
“Scars fade with time. And the ones that never go away, well, they build character, maturity, caution.” ― Erin McCarthy.
Cast your mind back to the 23rd December 2012. Chelsea 8, Aston Villa 0.
With the scar of that crushing defeat at the hands of Chelsea, Villa returned to Stamford Bridge on the back off the victory against Arsenal. That scar from last season never went away, but it built character, maturity and caution.
Character to once again come from behind to draw level at half time, with an unstoppable Benteke finish - which took his total up to three in two games. Maturity to stay calm throughout despite being hard done by, by bad refereeing decisions. Caution; by Gabby and Weimann to help and protect their full backs.
Despite the dull first half from the claret and blues in the first half against Liverpool, they had to maturity to pull themselves together and make a go off it in the second half, yet their efforts weren't enough to at least salvage a point out of proceedings.
And a dazzling, mature, professional performance last night against Rotherham rounded off an excellent ten days. With goals from the Benteke, Weimann and Delph; the 3-0 win put the icing on the cake.
"Maturity begins when one lives for others.”
Finally, the future is bright.