By Jonathan Parkin
There aren’t many words that can sum up what the Villa faithful have been subjected to at the King Power Stadium. Other than a positive opening ten minutes, Villa offered nothing of note, and looked to have thrown in the towel at 1-0 down. Currently, it seems as if Dean Smith’s team selections are getting increasingly random, Elmohamady starting on the right of midfield, Hourihane being chucked into a midfield three; it seems as if Deano is just praying something will somehow work.
The first goal came from a horrific goalkeeping error more like something you would see on a Sunday League football blooper reel, than in the Premier League. In truth, Leicester could and should have been about 3-0 up at half-time. Free headers, born from dreadful zonal marking at corners, presented themselves for Soyuncu and Evans, but the Leicester duo couldn’t put the chances away.
Villa came out for the second half with all the fight of a pacifist with a pop gun. Frederic Guilbert over committed and Harvey Barnes whipped a ball across the box. Whether the ball hit Tyrone Mings’ shoulder or arm is up for debate, the one thing that Mings did however was thrust his arm towards the ball and asked the question of the referee (to get wrong). Vardy stuck away the penalty to confirm the Villa loss.
Leicester scored two more goals from dreadful bits of marking and defending in the box. Villa’s midfield was nowhere to be seen as Douglas Luiz strutted around up the pitch and Marvelous Nakamba was forced to do the work of three men.
The players needed to show the grit of the cup final wasn’t a one off, but they showed it definitely was. After the third and fourth went in, the players looked at each other to try and shift the blame, they should all be looking at themselves, every one of them wasn’t good enough.
Use code MOMS10 for an extra 10% off at checkout
Pepe Reina – 4.5
A Goalkeeper with the amount of experience that Pepe Reina has, shouldn’t be making mistakes like he did for the first goal. The Spaniard may have made some saves at other times, but manner of the mistake that meant Villa went one down is irredeemable.
Frederic Guilbert – 4
In the past few league games there has been something up with Frederic Guilbert. He really doesn’t seem at it, and the enthusiastic full-back was caught overcommitting time after time again. This allowed Barnes to create the penalty situation, and his inept defending allowed Vardy to score his second.
Bjorn Engels – 4.5
For a big defender Bjorn Engels can’t mark or win a defensive header at a set-piece. His poor marking allowed Soyuncu a free header. His defensive work all round was dire, and his passing wasn’t up to scratch either.
Tyrone Mings – 5
To say that Tyrone Mings was the best of the Villa back four is far from a compliment. Mings’ theatrical leap and thrust of his arm towards the ball for the penalty summed up the Villans evening, infuriating. Mings does show some good leadership qualities, but he only had a handful of Premier League games before this season, and he is expected to lead a backline of complete rookies.
Matt Targett – 5
Matt Targett like the rest of the back four, didn’t have the best day at the office. He was run ragged by the combination of Albrighton and Pereira. His link-up play with Grealish was non-existent, with the left-back really struggling to get himself up the pitch and have an impact.
Marvelous Nakamba – 6
Marvelous Nakamba certainly worked very hard, and whilst at times there was very little quality, he did the job of two men in the centre of midfield. Luiz and Hourihane wandered the pitch like ghosts, but Nakamba at least tried to put a tackle in here and there. Villa’s poor performance wasn’t due to the lack of effort from the Zimbabwean.
Douglas Luiz – 4.5
Yet again Douglas Luiz had a game where he was happy to float through without effecting much. Leicester scythed through the Villans’ midfield and the Brazilian made one tackle and no interceptions in the ninety minutes. He also gave away the ball via unsuccessful touches or being dispossessed six times. He couldn’t even provide his token piece of skill to get on the Soccer AM showboat.
Conor Hourihane – 4.5
There isn’t really much point to having Conor Hourihane on the pitch if he can’t put in a decent delivery from a set piece. It’s hard to think of anything the Irishman did during his time on the pitch, other than casually try to close down the rampant Leicester midfield.
Ahmed Elmohamady – 4
Ahmed Elmohamady didn’t provide much by way of defensive back up for Fred Guilbert. The utility man ran up and down the right-hand side a bit, but his lack of pace and any kind of composure killed Villa on the break. What Smith saw in his performance at Wembley that warranted another start, who knows?
Ally Samatta – 6
When Ally Samatta gets the ball into his feet or even just played into him, he looks like a good player. The issue is Samatta either didn’t get the ball, or when he did, he was surrounded by Leicester players with no support. Samagoal cannot score goals if he’s the only Villa player in the opposition half.
Jack Grealish © – 5
This has to go down as Jack Grealish’s worst game for a long while. The Villa skipper really struggled to have any impact on the game. He overran the ball on a number of occasions and looked flat and lifeless in the few times when he got the ball in space. Villa can’t even rely on Super Jack to drag them out of trouble, he really needs some help.
Off the Bench
Anwar El Ghazi (62) – 5.5
Anwar El Ghazi came off the bench, and for about thirty seconds, the Dutchman had some energy and attacking impetus. He then proceeded to do nothing for the rest of the time he was on the pitch, as the Villa slumped to defeat.
Keinan Davis (66) – 6
Big man Keinan Davis did one or two good things in his time on the pitch. He showed his physicality and ability to drive at defenders. Unfortnately for the Villans, Davis’ introduction left a big old hole in the centre of the midfield. This allowed Tielemans and co to have all the space they wanted late on.
Dean Smith – 4
After the Cup Final, there were plenty of positives to be seen. What Dean Smith has done is destroy any hope or optimism that performance had brought. Every defensive set piece looks like a guaranteed clear-cut chance or goal, the players look beaten after they go one down, and the only plan b is to throw on an extra striker and hope for the best. Deano can sound off at the players as much as he likes, but he doesn’t have much to choose from and the run of games coming up is hard. Relegation is looking more and more of a likelihood.
Follow @JonParkinSports on Twitter
Due to Corona virus postponements Smith won’t be sacked yet. Assuming the strong possibility that the season is cancelled and we survive. What should the plan be?? Attending Leicester game was my worst football experience in 63 seasons! Everything was wrong. Selection, set up, tactics, performance, effort, defending, attacking, midfield, what midfield. I think supporters and the owners have to ask if the current set up is capable of improving things. As the season has gone on instead of the expected new players bedding in, performances have got steadily worse. The current set up. The manager, coaching staff, director of football, CEO who employed them have failed miserably. Every mistake possible has been made from starting the season with 4 international keepers plus our first choice and only 1 striker to no premiership experience and lots of average players with “potential”. This was done again Xmas. Nayland looking steady defence having confidence so we out Reina in the stand saying yur crap and we concede 6. I posted on here it was a disaster along with drinkwater who had not played off pitch probs just grabbing the money. Samatta looks good. The others predictably bad. Can they do any different. The reality says no. My heart would live them to succeed but….
Agree w/ TF- Fire Terry and bring in a proper defensive coach. We’ve no chance of getting the 13 points we need without at least 4 clean sheets. Our saving grace could be the Coronavirus: maybe there will be a full month hiatus, so we can bring in a specialist coach and get McGinn fully fit!! At this rate we will be down in 4 games… We do have talent (feel bad for Sammatta- he will score goals if given service) but the way we give up chances, then goals, is appalling.
Have to agree with Andy Hall [words out of my mouth] .. But i would like to add that all the while we constantly boot up field for another return attack. What is our threat? One player basically on his own [Samatta] … Where’s the threat there? Perhaps if there were 1 or 2 more players [central], they would be at least a bit cautious …. And don’t start me on Luiz! what a joke! … Bad formation. Bad tactics and f#@ck off Terry … But i must say the board never helped with their tinkering …. Hmm … I often wonder if Smithy had TOTAL control. What would our team have been? … I’m sure it wouldn’t of been that bunch [100%] …. NEXT QUESTION – Who would you keep? [i would say about half a dozen]
Sad to say this but football is a business and if you’re going to be successful you have to be ruthless so on that basis this is how I see it, the only chance of us staying up is with a new manager bounce two or three wins might just do it, so DS has to be sacrificed now the only thing is there’s talk of Terry taking over and I’m not at all sure that would produce the desired effect. We all know that games are running out and if we have any chance of survival we need action now.
Another game another defeat and another heavy one at that. The first ten minutes we competed well pressing high up the pitch, thereafter we, as always just ran out of steam. Is the problem one of fitness? Every week we are slow to press and have a distinct lack of urgency and bite in trying to win the ball. Every other premier league side I have seen this season work really hard to close the opposition down we just seem to go through the motions half heartedly and run out of steam so quickly. During this game even when we had the ball players didn’t move into space to receive or offer assistance and consequently we had to hit the ball long time and time again losing position and therefore having to start the whole process again. I genuinely think this group of players are as good as if not better ON the ball than most other teams in the bottom half of the league. Defensive set up for set pieces is poor, work rate is poor. I believe if we can get these two areas right the undoubted skill there is in the team will see us gain points. Unfortunately I think we have left it too late. 7 wins (so one in every four matches) means at best at current performance levels we may win two more games throw in the odd draw and we may hit 33-34 points. I am afraid unless work rate improves and we cut out the defensive frailties we are doomed and we have to start the whole process again of getting back into the prem league.
There are two words to describe it. Totally unacceptable. this team has no guts and no bottle not only that they couldn’t care less. And sorry to say DS hasn’t got a clue about PL management
the key issue is the appalling defence, with defence starting on the opponents penalty box as always. Midfield is non existent, tackling is dreadful and passing to the opposition constant. The failure of the zonal marking system is obvious, and it does not matter whether it is a back 4 or a back 5 though a back 5 leaves even more space in midfield for the opposition.
The fact Villa have conceded more goals than any other team in the division is linked to the fact that the team has alowed more shots on goal than any other team.
Which points to the failure of the defensive coach. Mr Terry was a great player, he is not a great coach. it is vital he takes gardening leave and an experienced defensive coach is drafted in. The manager is out of his depth, but there is no point in changing the coach – he can learn from this. The defensive coach has shown no sign of being able to cope with the premiership and given his experience in the division, clearly has nothing to contribute.
We have too few games left to hope the defence will come good without a change in the work being done at Bodymoor – if any defensive coaching is taking place. Even in good performances like wembley, alarming gaps at set pieces are obvious and the weaknesss sap confidence
Pretty much agree with all of that analysis with the exception of Luiz who I believe was even worse than you state. He was shockingly bad and infuriating to watch!
Comments are closed.