With the curtain falling down on another uninspiring calendar year at Aston Villa it is time to assess the best Villa performers over the festive period.
Sunday saw yet another lacklustre attacking performance from Lambert’s side against a stubborn Sunderland team who amazingly managed to show less attacking creativity than us. It was not surprising that yet again Villa took last spot billing on Match of the Day on Sunday night.
The new approach to possession football is a vast improvement to the 30-odd percent possession games we have been used too. Unfortunately though, the entertainment level has not increased. The build-up play is way too slow to create any space or move the opposition about enough to create any threat. And still the side is screaming out for that creative spark in the middle of the park that can find that killer pass. We need a cheap man’s David Silva (if that exists).
As for the game itself, Villa dominated the play from start to finish, even after the sending off, and looked more assured on the ball throughout. We bossed the middle third of the field and was pretty much always in control. However, when the ball was worked into the final third we were only able to create a handful of clear cut chances.
Villa’s ongoing disciplinary problem is a grave concern. Delph’s red was the third we have received in the last four games (Gabby’s was rescinded) and fourth dismissal this season. That is the joint highest in the league and Villa also are fourth in the league for yellow cards picked up. This is a trend that needs to be stopped before the Villa get a reputation of being a dirty team and start getting cards just because they are wearing claret and blue.
Aston Villa Star Players of the Week
3rd Place – Ron Vlaar (1Pt)
The controversial selection of Ron Vlaar after the good form of Okore raised some eyebrows, however you could see the reasoning when Okore came on for Clarke and looked tired from the start. Even with speculation about him departing the Dutchman is still putting in a great shift in for the team and fighting for the cause. He threw himself in front of things and made some brilliant last ditch tackles.
2nd Place – Jack Grealish (3pts)
In twenty minutes he showed more than any other player on the field. He looked dangerous every time he was given the ball. Grealish was the only player in a Villa shirt willing to take a player on and put a ball into the box. If Benteke had been more willing to get into the box, Jack would have had his first assist in the Premier League. Some questions defensively remain, but he has to be pencilled in for a start soon, especially in the next three games against beatable teams.
1st Place – Carlos Sanchez (5pts)
Sanchez is quickly becoming many fans favourite Villa player after another brilliant performance. He is like a police sniffer dog when it comes to danger. At one point it looked like Sunderland had a three on two break on but out of nowhere Sanchez slid in to win the ball and break up the attack; he must have run 60 yards. The afro dictated the game with his range of passing and ability to stifle any attacks and play simple football. Sanchez really is turning out to be a little bargain.
The Player That Has to Pick Themselves Up and Go Again
Possibly the worst performance he has put in for the claret and blue. He was a liability in front of Hutton in letting his marker go many times and not offering any defensive work rate. Offensively too he offered very little for the team and seems to be unfit or uninterested. I remember at Wigan he used to terrorise full-backs and run at them with pace and skill but now he does it without any real conviction. To make matters worse it seems like now he is just holding back a young, hungry talent in Jack Grealish that has the potential to turn our offensive woes around.
Stat of the Week – Brad Guzan has made the second most saves in the Premier League this season with 64 in 19 games just two behind Robert Green who is top with 66.
[Click ‘Next’ for the Aston Villa Star Players of the Swansea, United and Baggies games ]