From Villa Park: Can I Have a Goal and Tonev Please?

Many people feel that Aston Villa have been lacking a creative player for some time, a player who can make things happen with a sublime moment of vision even when faced with a blanket defence. Such players cost money big money, yet their value is priceless.  These players are often the difference between a draw or 3 points.

These creative magicians often have other competencies that supplement their creative genius; one of these competencies is usually set pieces. These players have a gift of delivering goals from free kicks and homing missiles to players’ heads when taking corners.

The last creative players I can remember in a claret and blue shirt are obliviously Paul Merson, Benito Carbone and in more recent times Robert Pires. The best corner kick taker I can remember was Steve Staunton, at the weekend new signing Aleksander Tonev was taking corners for the Villa in the 3-2 victory over Malaga, he reminded me of all the above players mentioned in various ways.

The boy has skills, which was evident from the fact that he took corners with both feet, he took shots from range and seemed to back himself at every occasion. He put one corner right on Ron Vlaar’s head, which resulted in a goal.  Now he did also have a few howlers that didn’t clear the first man, and he was on the receiving end of some Christian Benteke frustration.

The 23-year old rolled up to Villa park this June from Lech Pozan after a transfer tug of war with Celtic.  He arrived for a modest fee like many of Paul Lambert’s signings, but for me he is one of the most intriguing. In 2011, Tonev was awarded Bulgarian Best Young Player of the Year Award, and in March of this year he made his mark on the international scene scoring a hat trick in a 6-0 demolition of Malta in World Cup Qualifying.

Villa have struggled for many a year playing at Villa Park  against teams that sit back and force Villa to come out of their comfortable counter attacking shell and force the issue.  This was clearly evident against lowly Bradford City last season in the league cup leg at Villa Park. Fans have been dreaming and demanding a creative influence in the team for quite some time. Strong links to Japan’s Hiroshi Kiyotake, who applies his trade for Nurnberg in the German Bundesliga, seems to suggest that the club share the fans’ need for more creativity in the team, but maybe, just maybe, he is already here in the form of the Aleksander Tonev.

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