A point! We got a point! Of course, three would have been a lot better but at least it shows Villa still has a pulse. Arsenal next week will be a tricky one, but hopefully the hard fought draw against the Saints will act as a foundation for improvement, especially ahead of some crucial and theoretically winnable games over the Christmas period.
Rémi Garde has clearly put his foot down and shown who’s boss in recent weeks. He has shown Grealish that potential alone is not enough to be a key member of the team at the moment and hopefully Grealish will learn from his temporary demotion and come back fighting. Garde has also made sure to take a good look at the likes of Kozak and Adama and hopefully his approach with the two men will also spur a positive reaction.
The Villa boss has also show that he is not afraid to change things when necessary, although he is also willing to stick to his guns in an attempt to cultivate some consistency from the team. The likes of Veretout and Ayew are looking better every game.
It was great to see the Danish defender complete the full 90 minutes and he could be a big player for the club this year, if he can stay fit. He was a bit shaky at times today but hopefully that is just a bit of rustiness and he’ll be match sharp in the coming weeks.
Further signs of life
While the nature of going ahead and then conceding is deflating and Villa need their points to start coming in threes, this was a good point and Villa and will hopefully go some way towards restoring confidence and stopping the rot. Villa seemed up for a fight and let’s hope that continues. Micah Richards showed his passion last week and lets hope his return will be a further lift to the starting 11.
Cheap mistakes will prove to be expensive
Villa got very luck today. For the first 20 minutes in particular the defense was all over the place. Strong winds and a back four that hadn’t played together before may have had an effect, but the defence must improve quickly.
Much like Watford last week, Southampton were gifted too many chances as a result of our defenders failing to clear their lines. Putting your foot through the ball, with a safety-first mentality, shouldn’t be such a struggle. The ball was allowed to bounce in and around the box far too often.
It’s not just the defense who are liable in this regard. Too often Villa’s midfield fires lazy passes to the opposition and put the team on the back foot and under serious pressure. Villa got away with most of these mistakes today but with the team needing a near miracle to survive this year, these simple mistakes must be cut out, or a very difficult task really will become impossible.
It seems that (other than some unavailable defensive players) that the team Garde selected today may be close to the best Villa have to offer. Ayew was great again, Veretout is being allowed to push forward and is starting to show real signs of his skills. Gestede being flanked by Sinclair and Ayew ensured that the forward players were not completely isolated as they have been for much of the season.
Sticking with the same midfield three is helping the team find some sort of rhythm and understanding.
Having the likes of Adama Traore and Carles Gil on the bench gives the team different options too and the possibility of springing impact subs during games. I would have liked to see one of the above brought on in the later stages to try and change the game, as the introduction of Gabby seemed too late to have any real effect on the game other than fresh legs for a few minutes.
Let’s hope that knocks picked up by Gestede, Bacuna, Sanchez, and Gana aren’t too serious as the squad alternatives are not looking too inspiring at the moment, although Kozak may actually get a run out if Gestede misses games which will at least be interesting. UTV
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