Another key home game against relegation rivals lost and yet another two-goal lead squandered due to the curse of our incompetence at defending corners. The games against Newcastle and Everton should have reaped more than a single point, but what did we learn this week?

1 – No points in moral victories

So, we played well for 45 minutes against Newcastle, and came out on top for large parts of the game against Everton, but did we get what was required? No. There’s a culture of back patting at ‘giving it a real go’, but a loss is a loss and we’re not dealing with the root causes of these defeats. Villa has effectively thrown away six points this week, and though many of us would have taken a point up in Merseyside before kick off, giving away two late goals like that will do us all kinds of untold harm.

2 – Risky business

The January window came and went, and we eventually did do some business, albeit business we weren’t expecting. Letting Stephen Warnock go could prove costly, and it’s unlikely we’ll be getting a post card from Alan Hutton, so with a large chunk of the wage bill shaved the time seemed right to bring in some sorely needed experience. However, that didn’t happen. What we got was a highly rated, but heavily inexperienced French midfielder and a 25-year-old with barely 60 appearances to his name.

Now, while it’s quite natural and understandable to be underwhelmed and disappointed at the business we did the anger at these deals is unnecessary. Yacouba Sylla may not be as experienced as we’d like, but he’s a big hulking presence in a position that desperately needed filling and could very well prove to be the lynchpin between defence and attack the team needed all season long, and despite scoring three at Everton the weekend we all know that we’re too slow going forward and Dawkins could add some inventiveness and drive to our attack, a lobster in a team of crabs if you will.

Incredibly risky, but if it works we’ll all be smiling come May.

3 – Those substitutions again…

Paul Lambert got them right during the week, but so wrong again yesterday. Does this suggest that the manager just doesn’t see the whole picture? By adding more width and stability against Newcastle we were able to run at them and stretch their shaky backline, and by taking the width away against Everton we made ourselves vulnerable by compacting only one specific area, which then gave us no impetus to take the ball up the other end of the pitch to protect our lead.

4 – Concrete Ron, made out of stone

Now chipping in with his own set of shortcomings and failures to match the rest of his defensive partners. Vlaar has shown that he’s great with the ball at his feet, but lacks something in the air. Since his return from injury he’s lost his man more times than we care to count and he’s supposed to be the one guy we can trust in those situations, and if we can’t trust him, then how are the rest of the team supposed to?

5 – Ciaran Clark wants a cuddle

Take a step back, man, for the love of god!

 

Steven Green is one of the hosts of the very cool AVFC Review podcast and writer for Shoot Magazine and a fellow Real Oviedo shareholder

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