Defensive lapses a-go-go, boos from the get-go and protests go bananas. What did Villa fans learned from the latest defeat at home?
When Guzan, Bacuna, Richards, Lescott and… well, pretty much everyone except Alan Hutton was booed… when being announced BEFORE kick off, the tone was set for what would be yet another dismal performance.
The fact is with 11 Alan Huttons, Villa might not win many more games but the fans would appreciate the effort they would be putting in. Simple as that.
The first goal (preceded by the world’s lowest jump by Richards leading to an even earlier chance) should have been given offside, but Lescott made it look worse than it was – and it was pretty bloody awful to start with. The second goal would have made a Danny Baker collection of “gaffs” DVD with Bacuna exposing Lescott again with his flying backpass. And so on, and so on.
Amid the paper planes Westwood’s two goals gave Villa fans something to cheer but Southampton didn’t have to work very hard in the end to score four goals against the home team. And that has to change next season right off the bat.
TONER MUST START AGAINST WATFORD
Another bright spot aside from Westwood’s goals was Kevin Toner coming on for Micah Richards at half time. Toner, a former U21 captain, didn’t show a lot of finesse and was unlucky to miss a block that led to the third goal but his no nonsense defensive clearances took the pressure off the back line and at this too-late stage of the season there’s nothing to be lost by starting him again this Saturday.
Lescott’s place in the team is surely at risk despite Black saying he doesn’t deserve the abuse he’s been getting and Toner getting playing time is a no-brainer (meaning Black will start Richards and Lescott again at Watford)
GESTEDE MUST START AGAINST WATFORD
Has Gestede been a bust signing? Can he really be judged on the few minutes he’s been in games? If a manager with a more direct attitude had been hired instead of Garde with a brief to truly “win ugly” he could have 15 goals by now. Yes he’s missed shots (sometimes he swings a huge leg and misses the ball completely as was seen right before Westwood’s second goal). But he’s happy to mix it up and has been mentioned has scored in the Championship (when he wasn’t injured).
With Agbonlahor done, Ayew out of goalscoring form and Kozak all but forgotten, Rudy is the man to give the Villa team and fans hopes of seeing goals in the remaining three games of the season. Nobody is going to come in to buy him, so a smart manager will make him the figurehead of the team next season.
And his case will be greatly helped with a switch in formation, meaning…
GREALISH MUST START AGAINST WATFORD
Jack Grealish looked like he’s ready to play again after coming on towards the end at Southampton. Yes, he was exposed on MOTD for blowing his defensive duties but he and Gestede took the time to talk and pump each other up when chasing the game and with a reliable target in the box to aim at, Grealish will have more incentive to beat the full-back and not feel like he has to do it all himself.
Another player unlikely to leave, and a genuine Villa fan, Grealish ought to be confident of ripping it up in the Championship next season and he and Rudy could become a combination to be relished.
Follow Adam Keeble on Twitter @keebo00
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