Aston Villa supporters have been significantly more upbeat in recent times after seeing their side return to winning ways in the Championship on Saturday.
The Villans began their era under new manager Dean Smith at the weekend following the departure of Steve Bruce at the start of October, with there much anticipation among supporters following the arrival of the ex-Brentford boss during the international break. And he has started with a victory as a Tammy Abraham goal after just eight minutes proved to be enough to seal a 1-0 win for the Midlands giants over Swansea City, in turn moving them up to 13th place in the Championship table.
As such, there have been many thrilled Villans supporters up and down the country in recent times, several of whom have unsurprisingly been heaping praise on matchwinner Abraham, who bagged his fourth goal in just seven games for the club at Villa Park on Saturday.
Clearly, the on loan Chelsea man will be vital to Villa’s hopes of climbing the division this season, as will the efforts of centre back James Chester, who was arguably their unsung hero in victory over Graham Potter’s Swans at the weekend.
The 29-year-old played a key part in the club’s run to the final of the play-offs last term in starting all 46 of their regular league matches and then the two semi-final encounters, with the defender striking up quite the partnership with John Terry, now one of Smith’s assistants, in the heart of the Villans’ backline.
And while Terry is no longer there, Wales international Chester continues to prove his worth with another excellent display to help the Midlands heavyweights to just their second clean sheet of the season.
The centre back touched the ball more often than any of his teammates (70) on Saturday to underline his influence and involvement in the clash, while his tally of 55 passes attempted was also more than any other Villa player.
Importantly, the 29-year-old completed an outstanding 96% of those passes to underline his composure and calmness in possession, thus resulting in just two misplaced passes over the course of the 90 minutes to underline his measure of control defensively, but also that he was seeking to start and build attacks from the back.
But with the score at 1-0 for much of the encounter, Chester was always likely to have to do the business defensively as well, which is exactly what he did in winning three of five aerial duels he participated in, at the same time succeeding with the one tackle he attempted.
Add in a team-high ten clearances and two interceptions, and the Welshman was a rock at the back for Smith’s men as they edged over the line against Potter’s Swans, who certainly asked questions of the Villa backline as they sought to prevent back-to-back Championship defeats.
But they weren’t able to get that all important equaliser and much of that was down to the efforts of centre back Chester, with the £7.2 million-rated star (as per Transfermarkt) arguably their unsung hero in victory over the South Wales outfit.
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