Analysis: Bolton (3) v (2) Aston Villa

What a bonkers week for Villa.  One great win, an abysmal defeat and an unbelievable loss at Bolton.  And in a week where WBA, West Ham and even Wolves managed to obtain point(s).

Things went badly wrong at Bolton after what can only be described as complete domination from the visiting Villa team.  I could write paragraph after paragraph detailing the glorious missed opportunities, but that would be missing the point.  The missed chances were not the problem – our continued abysmal defending was once again our undoing.

Yes Darren Bent should have got his first batting century and Ashley Young’s penalty was far from good enough but we must look at the foundation of the squad.  Are we seriously expecting that we need to score 3 goals every week to win a game of football at Bolton?  Because, we can score as much as we want, but with our back line it is just pointless.

And whilst Houllier seems to do as little to endear himself to Villa fans as possible, he isn’t that wrong.  This is predominantly O’Neil’s questionable squad.  We are injury ravaged.  But professional footballers being completely inept at defending set plays?  Every single time?  Questions need to be asked.

And Houllier even got bitten by one of O’Neil’s worst decisions.  In letting Gary Cahill leave the club we have evidently dropped one of the biggest mistakes in a long time.  We offloaded Cahill in favour of keeping…Zak Knight, Curtis Davies and James Collins.  It looks bad on paper, let alone on the field.  And Cahill haunted us yesterday.  The same player who scored an outrageous overhead kick at the Holte End to defeat Birmingham delivered two hammer blows – with a strong header to score his first and a fine volley after himself sending a bullet header at Friedel.

But do not be dismayed.  And it’s ludicrous to call for Houllier’s head.  Who would you rather have?  Who, indeed, could we get?

Bolton was not like the Manchester City game midweek.  It was a mix of bad luck, wayward finishing, awful defending and the ghost of O’Neil’s past decisions.

Let us know what you thought on Twitter: @avfc_vilr