Playing for contracts, February respite and Prozac deals
If Chelsea found it impossible to break down West Ham at Stamford Bridge, the chances were Aston Villa were going to struggle at Villa Park. The biggest question was, would the centre-back duo of Nathan Baker and Ciaran Clark hold out at the other end? Unfortunately, we all know the answer to that. As Paul McGrath said, the home form is now ‘beyond a joke’. So what were the reasons to be cheerful as Villa fans after this frustrating 2-0 loss to the Hammers?
1. Aston Villa supporters are safe from anymore trips to Villa Park during February. The next game at the cursed stadium is against Norwich on March 2nd, and you already know that’s going to come with the billing of a ‘must win’ game.
2. The next game is Tuesday and it’s away. I don’t think anybody wanted to go another week thinking about this West Ham game. A win at Cardiff and the rest of the week won’t be ruined.
3. Marc Albrighton came on and inspired an attempt at a fightback. He’s one of the rare Villa players whose future has been in doubt, that has actually rolled his sleeves up and made a fight of it. I wish Gary Gardner would get a chance too, but maybe he hasn’t got the confidence or the heart for the fight? You’d think if he was any good, he’d have walked into Villa’s current midfield. It seems a lost opportunity. Anyway, I hope Albrighton gets to stay on at Villa, as at least he tried to make things happen. He really should have been on at the start to help try to get around the Hammer’s parked bus.
4. Villa fans were not insane for crying out for months for a creative midfielder. This performance yet again proved we know at least something about football.
5. If we all club together we can save some money. Just in case the rest of the season takes a turn for the worse and we need a way to get through it, we can bulk buy a ton of Prozac and get a cheaper price.
The alternative final point was going to be: Joe Bennettt came on the pitch and Villa didn’t concede. Well, it’s baby steps in the direction of improvement for the lad, but it’s not good to hear that some Villa fans booed him, when he came on. Please, stay classy Villans.
Fingers crossed for REAL reasons to be cheerful as Villa fans on Tuesday night in Cardiff. UTV.
We have a wanker for a Manager …There’s the problem!!!
an intriguing diagnosis ! are you an expert on the subject ?
I agree with Matt that part of the problem is lack of confidence . As for the statistics it would seem all the doubters look @ are the negative ones & the positives are totally ignored
It is tough to find positive statistics tbh though. Very hard to get past some of those home form stats!
We had enough chances today without a “creative” midfielder. Benteke, Gabby and probably Westwood should have scored (or at least hit the target), Albrighton was unlucky and there were plenty of other half chances. If we had a confident and fully firing front line enough of these would have flown in, but its hard to be confident as a kid when booed regularly. It’s a chicken and egg scenario – the team play crap and the crowd boo, the crowd boo and the team play crap – and it’s really turning into a downward spiral. This is not a bad team (remember the home game against Liverpool, the last half hour v Arsenal, the end of last season – they CAN play football!), they just need confidence!
I also think a confident back line would be less prone to silly errors like today, but that’s conjecture. Vlaar definitely does help, and he is missed.
Also, in the spirit of remaining positive – Joe Bennett is back. I’m not sure he’s much of a defender but he has promise going forward and in a similar vein to Albrighton it would be great if he rolled his sleeves up and set out to prove a few people wrong with any chances he gets.
While it may seem like it is important whether we are playing home or away, as we have picked up only 11 points in 13 home matches compared to 16 points from 12 away matches, but it looks to me like a MUCH more important factor is whether or not Ron Vlaar plays. In the 19 matches in which he has played, we have gotten 26 of our 27 points, earning only 1 point in the six matches he was sidelined.
By way of comparison, Benteke and Agbonlahor have also played in 19 games and missed 6. When Benteke plays, we have 19 points in 19 games, and 8 points in the six games without him. For Gabby, it’s 17 points from his 19 games and 10 points in the 6 he has missed.
Another player who has featured in 19 games is Bacuna. He’s actually only missed two games entirely, but in four other matches he was in for less than 25 minutes. In the 19 games in which he has played more than 60 minutes (I’m guessing all matches he has started), we have 24 points, and only 3 from the 6 games in which he has played less than 25 minutes. Granted, one of those games was the home match against Palace, and he may have been partly responsible for allowing the last minute winner; and his poor back pass at Hawthorns gave away the opening goal, but every player makes a few mistakes. They just stick out more when you play at the back (aside from strikers missing sitters).
Granted, this type of stat doesn’t always mean that much. Albrighton has started three games, and Villa have lost all three of them, yet most Villa fans would agree that Marc almost always brings something to the game. Nevertheless, with Vlaar, I think the numbers tell us something vital. Not that “Concrete” Ron is likely to make the World XI, but that a defence with Clark and Baker together in the center is altogether too vulnerable.
Today, it may not have mattered. Though Vlaar (or any Premier League quality centre back) may have marked Nolan better and prevented his first goal, the second goal was down to Delph, and so even with Vlaar, we probably would have lost 1-0. Of course, this adds to the argument that our glaring deficiency is in the lack of a playmaker in central midfield. And undoubtedly, that deficiency is more apparent at home when other teams come in and park the bus. So, I’m not trying to argue against that fact. However, the home numbers, while problematic, are not as bad as they are when we are without Vlaar.
Good comment. Interesting stats about Gabby. I think he’s a loss if it’s an away game. For example, he was excellent against Liverpool. If he’s on his game, even the best struggle to contain him. I think his injury was the key to how Lambert then set up against Everton.
Regarding Vlaar, whatever his ability, by default he also simply gives a lot more confidence to the rest of the team when he’s there.
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