The dream of replicating the 3-2 win over Everton at Goodison Park of the 08/09 season (Villa’s last win there) soon turned into a nightmare, as the hosts romped home to a comfortable 4-0 victory over a Villa side that stretched their winless streak to 12 games. If the point against Manchester City was a slim ray of hope on an otherwise dismal campaign, the rain is most certainly now gushing down on Rémi Garde’s welcome parade.
Make sure you cover up out there
It was for all of us to see that Garde went to Goodison with a plan. Nail the shutters down and don’t let anything past. This lasted all of 17 minutes at which point the cracks were exposed as Everton cruised down the Villa left with ease and within seconds the ball was put in the back of net from close range. This theme continued up until the half-time whistle as the Toffees turned on the style and pinpointed our obvious frailties.
Hindsight is a glorious thing, but after looking back at the starting XI on Saturday, it seems to me that Garde may have got it all wrong from the outset. Everton are flying high and their attacking threat is on par with most of the top Premier League sides. A combination of Grealish not doing his defensive duties and Gerard Deulofeu and Seamus Coleman being in the form of their lives, made Kieran Richardson look like a lightweight League One left-back (not exactly what we’re looking for) for the entire 90 minutes.
One more concern with the line-up is possibly the inclusion of Jordan Ayew up top by himself; he lacked the hold-up play we so desperately needed in that match. We needed a break from the constant Everton pressure and when you look at what his opposing striker was doing, you can only feel that Villa would have benefitted greatly in having a lumbering striker that could act as both an attacking threat and a defensive relief mechanism. Kozak anyone?
Fixing the Leak
So what do you do with a problem like Richardson and Amavi? Well one possible plan is to bring the long forgotten Aly Cissokho back from his season-long loan spell with FC Porto. Aly has only played a total 166 minutes this year for FC Porto so there are obvious concerns with him getting thrown in the deep end of a Premier League relegation dogfight. Also, Porto would have to give it the okay.
If you’ve forgotten what Aly Cissokho can offer us as a firefighter at left-back then look no further than this classic video of his best moments in the Premier League with Liverpool.
A more realistic and serious option is pulling Alan Hutton over to the left and potentially using Bacuna as a makeshift right-back as Tim Sherwood did near the end of last season. This could be used as a short term fix and when the January transfer window opens a new left-back with Premier League experience could come in and potentially stop the rot.
Watford at home is a fixture many Villa fans and pundits alike will point out as winnable…and boy do they need to get a result. Five points from a possible 39 is shambolic and is almost a record breaking tally. Only QPR’s record of four points picked up after 13 games is worse than Villa’s current point accumulation in Premier League history.
On a more optimistic subject, Rémi Garde has quoted that Adama Traore is “Close to being on the team list one day”. He also played 90 minutes this week in a friendly. This is a sign we may have some dynamism in this first XI, soon.
Club Temperature: 0°
With the winter fast approaching, appropriately we’re getting closer to our great club completely freezing over. We’re still feeling the pains of the Tim Sherwood tenure and Garde needs to get this team into gear sooner rather than later. He’s very much been thrown in the deep end with no honeymoon period to find his bearings. Thoughts of seeing sunnier pastures this season are becoming less hopeful and Watford at home is looking like a pivotal life line to prevent the thick clouds of doom from firmly gathering over Villa Park. UTV
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