Every game is a learning curve for Villa fans this season,Villa move to a four-game unbeaten run, yet with three of those games ending in draws. Three tough games ahead, but the young lions now have shown they have a resolve that suggests they can pick up a point at least against any team.

 

Benteke beasts Kenwyne Jones

With Steven Green

 

1 – Stoke are a truly horrible team

Not that we’ve ‘learnt’ this just now, we’ve known for a few years now, but it’s always a shock to the system when you see them up close. For the majority of the second half they parked the bus in our area and rarely ventured forward. When they did try to attack they offered so little that I genuinely began to feel bad for their fans. They do what they do well, but it’s not football, and it’s certainly not entertaining.

Watching them puts what we’re trying to do into perspective, and though it’s taking some time to get things right, we at least have a manager who wants to play exciting football.

 

2 – Exploit weaknesses

The first half of yesterday’s game was possibly one of the best displays we’ve given so far this season. A goal looked a certainty and we had a lot of joy exploiting the space on the right. Much like QPR did against Eric Lichaj last week, we put pressure on Geoff Cameron, who usually plays as a centre-back, and turned him inside out. It’s probably why they flooded their area during the second half, as Gabby and Matt Lowton were feeling bullish. Sadly the goal never came, but January is just three weeks away.

 

3 – AVFC be on the swarm

If we’d had played this fixture in August or September we most likely would have crumbled under the sheer physical presence of Stoke. Not this time – the youngsters were up for a fight and broke forward in packs. Everybody wanted the ball, and if Stoke hadn’t been doing their best impression of the great wall of China then we’d be feeling a lot happier about the result right now.

 

4 – We ran out of ideas

As the game wore on, and it became clear that our original game plan wasn’t going to work we reverted back to old ways and stopped trying to pass it around, hitting it long on the bounce instead. This never works, especially against a team like Stoke.

 

5 – Ineffective substitutions

At the time, the changes seemed to make sense. Holman had run himself into the ground again, so Stephen Ireland, a more natural linkman, would surely be able to unlock that stubborn backline. And the day looked tailor-made for Darren Bent to pounce on a knock down from six yards.

But no…

Ireland looked rusty and exhausted, like not playing for a few weeks had set him back to pre-season levels of readiness, and Bent just couldn’t get into the game with the supply line cut. Hopefully with players returning to full fitness we can create a wider range of options to deal with situations like that and go onto win games.

 

What else did we learn? Let us know in the comments below – you can also sign in with facebook and twitter accounts. UTV

 

Steven Green, one of the hosts of the AVFC Review podcast and writer for Shoot Magazine and a fellow Real Oviedo shareholder.

Follow MOMS on Twitter – @oldmansaid

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Point 1 – It is football but defensive football. There is a perverse pleasure in seeing so called pure football teams smacking their heads against brick walls, and as you so rightly say running out of ideas. Chelsea did it in the Champions League .. it didn’t seem to do them any harm. 
    Point 2 – Cameron has never played centre back for Stoke … for the States yes. After 15 mins Pulis matched the back line of Villa with 5 defenders … and given that Villa didn’t score I’m not sure whether taking pleasure from ineffective wing play counts – does it?
    Point 3 … your point is ?
    Point 4 Benteke + Bent = Direct … made it easier for the Stoke defence
    Point 5 The worry will be that Villa will come up against teams that will have a lot more guile than the Stoke midfield – Adam. With only 15 points on the board a couple of defeats and Sunderland winning one or two the style will have to change as nerves kick in. Lambert needs to resolve the Bent problem pronto, this constant drip drip of will he play / should he play is draining the confidence of the team and supporters. Stoke may not be the easiest on the eye ( this must have been what Italian football was like), but they are consistent and they will be there next year. Can the same be said for the Villa?

  2. Point 1 – It is football but defensive football. There is a perverse pleasure in seeing so called pure football teams smacking their heads against brick walls, and as you so rightly say running out of ideas. Chelsea did it in the Champions League .. it didn’t seem to do them any harm. 
    Point 2 – Cameron has never played centre back for Stoke … for the States yes. After 15 mins Pulis matched the back line of Villa with 5 defenders … and given that Villa didn’t score I’m not sure whether taking pleasure from ineffective wing play counts – does it?
    Point 3 … your point is ?
    Point 4 Benteke + Bent = Direct … made it easier for the Stoke defence
    Point 5 The worry will be that Villa will come up against teams that will have a lot more guile than the Stoke midfield – Adam. With only 15 points on the board a couple of defeats and Sunderland winning one or two the style will have to change as nerves kick in. Lambert needs to resolve the Bent problem pronto, this constant drip drip of will he play / should he play is draining the confidence of the team and supporters. Stoke may not be the easiest on the eye ( this must have been what Italian football was like), but they are consistent and they will be there next year. Can the same be said for the Villa?

    • Psyclops 
      Point 1 – There may be a perverse pleasure in watching so called pure football teams bang their heads against brick walls, but what’s the point when you don’t even try to win that game? It’s horrible to watch, and in my opinion, not what football is about.
      Point 2 – Not being a Stoke fan, I’m not up to date with the ins and outs of their side, I just called it like I saw it – it may have been wrong, and I’ll apologise for that, but there’s not a lot I can do about that now. And for the first 15 minutes he was being exploited, simple as.
      Point 3 – How is that not clear?
      Point 4 – YOUR point is? Sounds like you’ve just repeated what I said.
      Point 5 – No, perhaps the same can’t be said for villa, but those problems go far deeper than being uneasy on the eye. We had one of the strongest midfields in the country a few years ago, which we have now sold, and failed to replace. We’ve been set back by two years thanks to bizarre managerial appointments and overspending on wages for average players. And that’s not to mention that over the summer the manager signed a group of players (from the lower leagues I may add) that not even our own fans knew much about, let alone anyone else. I’ll stop there because I could go on all night.
      I appreciate the comment, and will always defend my opinions, but I’d like to know why you had to hide behind a pseudonym to ask me this.
      x

      • StevenJGreen Psyclops 
        It’s not a deliberate thing – most web sites ask you to put in a ‘handle’. Web etiquette I suppose. 
        I’m not getting a Villa at all – I don’t want any Midland team to disappear from what is becoming a polarised London / Manchester division. My concern is that for all the good football its not winning football. 
        Stoke don’t always play like that … but they have had this hard defensive centre drilled into them that is typical of the manager. At the Brit they are more fluent and better to watch than from my perch in the Trinity on Saturday. 
        Lambert has got a job on his hands .. he’s got some good young players there, but we all know about teams being too good to go down. I hope things turn around for you – we went on a small run and its changed our season, lets hope the Villa can too. 
        Steve

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