Monday media watch [19.08.13 AM]: Arsenal match reports
Daily Express: Villa skipper Ron Vlaar agreed that keeping Christian Benteke was vital for the club. He said: "Everyone was very happy when Christian changed his mind about leaving us and decided to stay. He's a great player and he's so important for us. He scores a lot of goals and if you see how Gabby played alongside him, it was unbelievable. He is so strong and we all know he can do it. Hopefully he can go on from here. Now we all look forward to Chelsea on Wednesday. When you play Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool in eight days it could be a lot easier. But we have got three points and I am very proud of the team and for the supporters to make such a great start."
Daily Mirror: Paul Lambert has become Aston Villa's sharp-dressed man - and claims Gabriel Agbonlahor is a perfect fit for the World Cup. Lambert gained a reputation last season for his touchline histrionics in his familiar Villa tracksuit. But he is trying to go a bit upmarket these days, wearing a suit and tie in the dugout. He ditched the jacket before half-time but his change of clobber brought some well-deserved luck. The Villa boss watched his team destroy Arsenal thanks in part to a brilliant display by Agbonlahor, who ran the home side ragged.
Birmingham Mail: Villa are getting smarter. From the sharp-suited manager to the sharp-shooting players, Paul Lambert and his team looked the Premier League part at The Emirates. Lambert swapped his trademark tracksuit to appear suited and booted in the technical area, later dressing down in a more casual designer jumper so the touchline jumper himself could leap to celebrate Villa's three goals. But he was more concerned about his side's style than his own as Villa fashioned a remarkable opening-day success at Arsenal. Villa's belt and braces victory was tailor-made by a Christian Benteke brace and a belting performance from Gabby Agbonlahor, while Fabian Delph wore Arsenal down and even clean-shaven Antonio Luna scrubbed up well with a debut goal.
Daily Star: Christian Benteke's double and new left-back Antonio Luna's breakaway third condemned the Gunners to their first opening-day home defeat for 20 years. But it was long-serving Gabby Agbonlahor who stole the show for Villa, who will be looking up rather than down this season if they can maintain this form. He won two penalties and terrorised Arsenal with his frightening pace to leave Paul Lambert tipped him for an England recall. The Villa boss said: "From the last four or five months of last season to now he's been outstanding. Could he get in the England squad? If he plays like that and keeps that form then I don't see why not."
The Sun: Ron Vlaar cannot wait to put the record straight when Villa travel to Chelsea on Wednesday. The Villa skipper is looking to erase the memory of last season's 8-0 humiliation at Stamford Bridge - which could have been a whole lot worse if it had not been for the heroics of keeper Brad Guzan. And Vlaar, 28, said: "When you play Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool in the opening eight days, people don't expect you to make a great start to the season.But we've already got three points and I'm very proud of this team and the way we have responded to going a goal down to Arsenal. Now we have to go to Chelsea with the same mindset."
The Times: It had looked hellish for Aston Villa. Opening their campaign against Arsenal was bad enough without being given a surprise midweek fixture at Stamford Bridge before hosting Liverpool. Now, though, it all feels a bit of a laugh and the supporters who stuck by Paul Lambert when his young side struggled last season have been vindicated in the most delightful manner. Villa did not just beat Arsenal, they navigated their way through a difficult match with passion, pace, intelligence and maturity. "It's the perfect start to the season," Gabriel Agbonlahor said. "To come here and get that result has shocked a few people. But it's only one game and we've got 37 to go so we're not going to get ahead of ourselves. We're not going to boast about this result."
Daily Telegraph: Villa, it could be said, got the angst out of their system months ago, when a difficult season was followed by Christian Benteke's transfer request. "We just had to go through that period of time," Paul Lambert said. "Randy Lerner and Paul Faulkner were really supportive. The supporters were also massive for me. They helped us get through that period. The target in the summer was to bring in the players we wanted and thankfully that has been the case. The restored Benteke was instrumental on Saturday with two goals from penalties but Gabriel Agbonlahor, who won both, was better still. "His speed," marvelled Lambert. "When he gets on a run, nobody can catch him."
Birmingham Mail: Manager Paul Lambert reckons Gabby Agbonlahor is the perfect poster boy for Villa's counter-attacking style - after underling the Brummie striker's World Cup claims. Agbonlahor's sheer pace and purpose on the break earned the claret and blues two penalties during their 3-1 victory at Arsenal on Saturday.
Birmingham Mail: Paul Lambert is refusing to let Nathan Baker's injury dampen Villa's excitement - but the manager is not getting carried away by the remarkable opening day win at Arsenal. Baker's ankle problem was the only disappointment as Villa kicked off their Premier League campaign with a 3-1 victory at The Emirates, with Christian Benteke netting twice. Ciaran Clark deputised impressively against the Gunners, while former Chelsea target Jores Okore is also on standby for a competitive debut at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. Lambert was thrilled by Saturday's result but asked if it sets the tone for the season, he replied: "That's too far. We've got miles and miles to go."
Birmingham Mail: Paul Lambert says Villa fans can nickname Antonio 'Tony Moon' Luna "what they want" if he maintains his form after capping his debut with a goal. Luna was the only new signing to make his Premier League debut from the start at Arsenal, with Leandro Bacuna coming on as a late substitute and Jores Okore, Nicklas Helenius, Aleksandar Tonev and Jed Steer remaining on the bench. It was a tough introduction for the 23-year-old former Sevilla left-back, who had the task of trying to stop England winger Theo Walcott during Villa's 3-1 opening-day victory. But Lambert was pleased with the way Luna found his fee and delighted he still had the energy to get forward to score Villa's third goal five minutes from time.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.
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