By Jonathan Parkin
Four points adrift from safety, and five games left to play, not the situation Villa fans were picturing at the start of the season. A battling defeat against Liverpool gave a small amount of hope to players and supporters alike. However, playing the in-form team in England, Manchester United, is arguably the biggest test this Villa side could face at this stage.
Dean Smith made only one change from that which faced the Champions, with Keinan Davis dropping out for Ally Samatta. This highlighted how pleased Smith was with large sections of the Liverpool performance, hoping the same parts could provide a different result second time round.
The Villans started brightly, with chances for Jack Grealish and Trezeguet failing to find the target. Despite this, with a ridiculous penalty decision not overturned by VAR, and United going up by a goal, the game was over. Villa seemed to completely lost all of their fight, as their heads dropped and the tempo lowered. Just before half time, Tyrone Mings made yet another mistake, as he stood and watched Mason Greenwood fire the ball past him and into the net.
The second half came and Villa looked no different. United had all of the ball, and toyed with the Villans, before putting away a third in the 58th minute. Both sides made a number of substitutes and the game dropped into a pace that resembled a preseason friendly. United could have had one or two more goals before the ninety was up, but failed to capitalise on the chances Villa afforded them.
Villa won’t stay up with more performances like this. To be able to be optimistic about fighting against relegation, some fight has to be present, and there is none. One goal is enough to beat this team, and opposition sides know that.
Pepe Reina – 6
Pepe Reina wasn’t at fault for any of the United goals, and made a good save late on to stop a fourth going in. Unfortunately, the Spaniard is more used to having better defences in front of him, and can’t stop inept errors from occurring.
Ezri Konsa – 5.5
There was no way that Ezri Konsa’s challenge in the box was a penalty, and his complaints were very much justified. Despite some decent deliveries in the first half, the United forward line were soon burning past the former Brentford man, and that enabled them to carve open the Villa defence multiple times.
Kortney Hause – 6
Unlike his defensive partner, Kortney Hause put in a solid performance despite the brutal loss. He made three interceptions and five clearances, as well as being the most accurate passer in the Villa defence. Kortney Hause has improved since his shakier performances earlier in the season.
Tyrone Mings – 4.5
Tyrone Mings is supposed to be Villa’s ‘experienced’ defender, as he is the loud leader of the backline, and cost the club a hefty sum. The 27-year-old has shown he is anything but experienced in his games since the restart. Mings has played just under 50 Premier League Games, keeping a grand total of four clean sheets (he has also made the most mistakes leading to goals in the Villa team this season). After failing to close the attacker for both goals in the Liverpool game, he did exactly the same again for United’s second. To make the same errors again and again is infuriating for Villa fans and Dean Smith.
Neil Taylor – 5
It seems as if Dean Smith had specifically told Neil Taylor to mark Mason Greenwood, as in the second half the Welshman moved to the right side of defence. However, this seemingly good idea didn’t work, even when the Welshman was playing on his preferred left side. Greenwood created havoc in and around the penalty area, and Taylor was powerless to halt his progress.
Douglas Luiz – 6.5 MOTM
Douglas Luiz must be the most annoyed of all the players. He keeps the performances coming, and no one else in the team can deliver. Three tackles and three interceptions, as well as a handful of nice passes, were not enough to drag the Villa to a better result however.
John McGinn – 5.5
There was a real hint of the fully fit John McGinn on show, for the opening 20 minutes of the game. The Scotsman charged down the lethargic Man United defenders, and was a real menace. As soon as the first goal went in, it was seemingly back to half fit version of the Scotsman, who was constantly second best to United’s midfielders.
Anwar El Ghazi – 4.5
If Villa had another winger with pace, Anwar El Ghazi wouldn’t be anywhere near the starting XI. He flits in and out of games at the best of times, and at the worst his impact is non-existent. This was one of the worse days.
Jack Grealish © – 5
Jack Grealish went missing as soon as the first goal went in, just like the rest of the attack. When the captain of a team can’t lift his head and keep his effort levels up, there’s a real problem. On top of this, his set piece delivery was diabolical, with corners going straight into David De Gea’s arms every time. It seems as if Jack has realised that he won’t be at the club next season, and so is just counting down the games till his big money move.
Trezeguet – 4
Trezeguet has probably already booked his plane tickets ready for his move back to Turkey. One shot off the post is the only difference the Egyptian made on the match. It was hard to even notice he was on the pitch for the rest of the game, and he played every minute.
Ally Samatta – 4.5
Despite being a striker, Ally Samatta doesn’t look like he’ll ever take a shot, let alone get one on target. His pressing was aggressive, and then stopped after the first goal. He suddenly became very easy to play around and defend against, ambling around up front, letting the United defence pass him by.
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Off the Bench
Conor Hourihane (57) – 5.5
Conor Hourihane ran about a bit for the half an hour he was on the pitch. The Irishman had little presence in the midfield, as United moved the ball from defence to attack with ease.
Marvelous Nakamba (58) – 5.5
Defensive midfielder Marvelous Nakamba committed a stupid foul on the edge of the box, and this was his major contribution in his appearance off the bench. United played at a much slower tempo while Nakamba and Hourihane were in the Villa midfield, but still seemed to cut through it so much easier, to create a multitude of chances.
Keinan Davis (58) – 5.5
Villa had one attack of note, (maybe two at a push) while Keinan Davis was on the field. The young striker certainly had little to do, with 11 touches in 35 minutes.
Indiana Vassilev (83) – N/A
There was little point to Indiana Vassilev coming on, other than giving an excuse for a terrible pun. Maybe Deano hoped Indiana would whip the lads into shape.
Dean Smith – 5
There wasn’t a lot that Dean Smith could have done about the poor penalty decision, or the mistake by Mings. However, Dean Smith can do something to stop the effort levels from falling to such an extent after a single goal has gone in. This lack of mental toughness is what will cost Villa at the end of the season.
This result and the manner of the defeat has killed the optimism fans were clinging to. Crystal Palace may have nothing to play for, but they gave Chelsea a much harder game than Villa did a couple of weeks ago. A miracle is needed.
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Yes the new owners should set an example and act like the successful businessmen they are, the way our club is being run is disgraceful, there are lots of problems recruitment, management, leadership on and off the field, I could go on but now that we are virtually down I just hope that DS can remember that we got promoted because we had the best striker in the league Tammy Abraham, this season despite many fans calling for a proven replacement goal scorer we get Wesley who has no PL experience and did virtually nothing, there’s a massive lesson to be learned right there, this might be controversial but my opinion is we should replace DS , JT, Suso, and take the money that we will receive for our better players that we will surely loose, and not waste it on poor fringe players that can’t get a place in their teams, I know it’s easier said than done but take Sheffield United as a great example, that whole team gives everything every game, as aposed to our team who just throw the towel in when the opposition score. I might as well rant on and say again my opinion but Davis and Samatta need to go as well couldn’t hit a barn door between them .i could go on about our defence but I’ve said enough it’s clear how I feel about this unacceptable shambles
We will see if we can salvage some pride tomorrow. The rules are now so crazy that it is time fans started to join to make for changes. The 3 penalty decisions on thursday were so wrong that even Collini has spoken. The issue is not pitch side monitors – it is refs who back each other up. If Man U had honest people nowadays they would admit their first goal was a fake. The top six and VAR together are poisoning the game.
Not that it helps us, I and my oldest friend talked earlier this evening of the lost talent. Traore will be the next to go having failed at villa. Smith has become part of a culture of manager destruction at Villa Park, Bruce the most obvious example of this.- leaving us made his career boom.
If the new owners cannot take a serous interest in the club its not going to change for villa. The one common factor of successful clubs seems to be the owners take an interest big time.
Does not happen at Villa. That has to change
Irrelevant of which league we are in next season I hope that the FA/FIFA or whoever it is that makes the decisions decides to dump the Corona Crisis inflicted rules of 5 subs and drink breaks, and that referees are directed to use the pitch side monitors in order to make their own final decision on VAR interference. The German Bundesliga employs this method with great success week in week out with VAR correctly overturned on a regular basis, the refs are not afraid to admit a mistake. The 5 subs rule is so lopsided in favour of at least the top 6 teams as to be an embarrassment. The ability to bring on a fresh half team of international standard subs must not be allowed to continue, the bias is so obvious.
Just one more quick point, our board reckon not a penny less than 80 m for Jack Grealish but I’ve watched a 21 year old playing in France Mounir Choular he could be bought for around 8m and for me he’s the perfect replacement for Grealish at a snip of a price he’ll of a player and would jump at the chance of playing in the U.K. I believe he would be fantastic in the Championship, take a look at him on the internet. Having said that our recruitment is a joke as is our scouting.
David I find that we are in agreement again, Liverpool throw in a youngster and he scores against us Man U did likewise and again the youngster scored, DS gives Vaz 6 minutes not even enough time to warm up so I agree get Louis Barry and Vaz in from the start after all DS has told us that they are amongst the best in the country so play them we’ve got nothing to loose it can’t get any worse. Sadly I believe that DS thinks that Davis and Samatta are good strikers but the truth is they are far from that. And your right the fat lady is not quite singing yet but she’s certainly warming up.
Bristol City sacked their manager and immediately won their next game, we should follow suit last roll of the dice, but I’m afraid this is typical of our club and my guess is nothing will change and we will go down with a whimper.
yes but lack of foresight really came to the forefront with MON as some Scotish fans warned that it would ! I rember watching a Chelsea Villa youth match on Chelsea TV & all the way through their commentator was appolagising with the excuse that Villa were the Champions . Some of their players from that night made it into their 1st team but where are Villa’s ?
the core issue if you want to talk about the season not the match is the spend of £130 million for low quality players – and the similarity with the last relegation season when they bought madly and had no team.
the bell startted tolling when purslow said they were buying players with sell on value, ie not to stay but to move on – yet this admission we are a selling club got no debate at the time.
Why not? the bell has been tolling since purslow said that, and also when the board gave Smith a new contract. But there is no long term perspective among villa fans and so no point in trying to take a long view.
its been like this since Ron Saunders walked out in 1982
liverpool fans did not put up with rubbishin the board room. villa fans do.
Fans should not complain if you can’t see short term or long term problems. Villa have both- and from last night with Collini joining in, some of the short term problems might get attended to. Off the pitch this club is as toothless as it is on the pitch. Nothing is ever said that anyone in the wider world is interested in.
Louie Barry ex West Bromwich and Barcelona.
who is Barry ?
Amazingly even with only 4 games remaining it is not yet over, but wiith the form of our present strike force it soon will be. We must win our next game Throw in Barry, Ramsey and Vaz with enough time to influence the game, another youngster put us to the sword, what about playing a couple of ours if they are so highly rated by DS why did Vaz only get 6 minutes, this is laughable we need something different fresh legs and minds.The fat lady is getting ready to sing.
well its a big well done to purslow smith and terry for getting us relegated, and this time next season we will all be saying league 1 here we come. imo
the way Jack was playing perhaps Smith was looking for an excuse to drop him
Wonder what the effectiveness of JT has brought to the team – we have the worst defence in the Prem!
Winless In the last 10 games 5 goals scored, last night 9 shots 1 on target tells it’s own story, we’ve been toothless all season, goals win games and be honest we have no goal scorers, might seem a bit harsh because no doubt they are trying but Davis and Samatta couldn’t hit a barn door they are no where near PL standard, DS missed a great chance in the last window to sign a proven striker, but he’s proven to be tactically inept not PL standard either. Lots of things wrong with our club including Terry we have the so say greatest defender and we have the worst defensive record in the league what does that tell you. And as for recruitment Suso needs kicking straight in to touch the mans a total plonker. Now we have Grealish our best player doing nothing, our best player and one of few who are playing for the shirt with out doubt is Luiz, this is just my opinion and no wish to upset fellow fans but it’s a disgrace and unacceptable given the size of our club, it’s fantastic history and fan base, not to mention 130 m spent on mostly poor players with no PL experience. Football as we all know is a results business and that’s why we won’t survive in the PL this season. What are our owners thinking.
Object to Davis being called a young player as if that absolves him from being slow clumsy and useless all season!
i think both wingers need to be dropped. both useless championship fodder. play 352 and use guilbert in an advance roll. drop mings who spends more time shouting then actually defending. and 2 up front
Playing Norwich and Bournemouth next year…. 😪😪
the big issue is the penalty and fans have to stop ignoring the madness of what is going on -are they aware the Premier League have accepted all 3 penalty decisions in 2 matches were wrong? In our game the united player clearly did not suffer a foul and did not own up – and all the experts agree this was not a penalty
the players cannot perform when both ref and VAR give the opponents a goal start. How come this is not the core issue you are confronting?
The ‘core issue’ Trevor is winless in the last 10 games with only five goals scored. The rest is distraction.
The fighting talk from DS a couple of weeks ago has not shown in our performances since the restart. DS must have seen Grealish struggling and should have given him a rest ready for our next game against CP.
Tactically we are devoid of ideas and have not played the game like cup finals that they should have been. We are I am afraid where we should be and I can’t see us winning two games out of four.
Let’s at least try and leave with our heads held a little higher, think some players are already planning their exit. Luiz excluded.
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