The Aston Villa Proper Man of the Week
Well the Villa rollercoaster took another huge dip this weekend at the hands of Mark Hughes’ Stoke. Yet again, the team failed to produce a performance of quality against a club in and around them. I have never in my life seen the mighty Holte End and Villa Park as a whole so empty when the final whistle was blown.
Let’s face it though, you cannot blame a single fan for leaving early after the performance they had to witness. Villa could not string a series of passes together nor did they hassle like they did against Chelsea last week. If I am brutally honest they looked disinterested and out thought.
The only shinning light in the game (and this is more of a flickering candle than a bright flame) was Fabian Delph. He was integral to setting up the goal for Benteke when the game looked promising for Villa fans. He looked like the only player with any desire to get at the opposition and wanted to push forward. In saying that, he still was not his relentless self; he was more of a Jack Russell than a terrier.
Well done Delph on picking up this award for a second time, but if we are all being honest my gran could have played better than the majority of the team on Sunday, so don’t celebrate too much.
The Villa Player That has to Pick Themselves Up and Go Again
It’s going to be the longest section ever in the history of this running article, for you fans that didn’t watch the game, yes, it was that bad. So instead of focusing on one player in particular, I will go through the team, section by section.
Brad Guzan in goal can’t really be faulted for any of the goals, so he will survive for this week. The two full backs were just shocking. Bacuna seemed to let the ecstasy of achieving the prestigious proper man of the week award go to his head and had the worst game in a Villa shirt. Marco Anautavic had him beat all game and even going forward Bacuna was lethargic. Equally bad, if not worst, was Bertrand. He was constantly out muscled and outpaced by Odemwinge and their full back Cameron. But both are young so inconsistency like this is to be expected.
The centre halves of Vlaar and Baker, well they were just awful. It generally looked like Baker had been out down Broad Street on Saturday night with how slow he reacted to everything. I mean you can’t help but laugh at the attempted ‘clearance’ which led to Nzonzi’s goal.
Westwood in the midfield was nonexistent and did not dictate the play the way he normally does. KEA went off early on and that bought Sylla into the game with most the match to play. This was a perfect chance for him to show his worth but quite simply he is not good enough for this level. I know he hasn’t had much game time at all, but anytime he has played he hasn’t offered much at all. He came to the club with promise to be the muscle in the middle of the park, which the team was lacking, but he doesn’t even used his size to impose himself. So in my eyes, he really needs to go or at least be sent out on loan to get some experience.
Gabby really did not offer the team anything, but to be fair, he was closed down quickly by Stoke and denied any space to exploit his pace and stretch the game.
A previous winner of the award Marc Albrighton came on in place of the injured Weimann but played in the hole and looked seriously lost and out of position. This does make me question why Lambert would even consider playing him in a position which takes a lot more technical ability and nous that he sadly doesn’t possess.
Benteke after the goal (which he took superbly) showed nothing for the team. He got bullied out of the game by Stoke’s own set of beasts.
If this game showed us anything it is the lack in-depth and quality the team has since being rebuilt. Two injuries early on will rock any team, but the way it did the Villa on Sunday is cause for huge concern; especially when your third substitution to save the game is Grant Holt, who has now gone 22 appearances without a goal.
In trying to find a positive in this shocking weekend, with reports suggesting the purse strings will be loosened in the summer, maybe this show of lack of depth will be the wake-up call Lerner, the board and Lambert need. BUY US A DECENT ATTACKING MIDFIELDER!
Hopefully in Villa’s next game, the team will approach Manchester United as the current champions, rather than the mid-table outfit they have become. It would certainly increase any chance of obtaining a positive result at Old Trafford.
Who was your Aston Villa player of the week? Comment below.
*The column picture features former Villa skipper John ‘Jack’ Devey pictured here in 1895. As well as captaining Villa and being capped for England, he was also a top cricketer for Warwickshire, a decent baseball player, cyclist and runner. An all round proper man!
‘Proper man’ – copyright, Paul Lambert.
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