REVIEW: ‘Villa fall at the last, again’; Aston Villa 0 v 1 Swansea #avfc #swansfc

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

There is certainly a touch of deja vu when following Villa.  Didn’t this feel awfully similar to our recent defeat to Stoke City?  Certainly, we were better in our performance today than then, but succumbing to the late goal “sucker punch” is a habit we need to lose.

In my preview, like a dimwit, I stated that Gomis looked half the threat of Swansea’s recently sold Bony.  I’m big enough to admit that having watched his movement, power and presence over 90 minutes that I stand corrected.  Fine player, man mountain, call him what you will.  He will terrorise defences better than ours, that’s for sure.  Benteke is a fantastic predatory striker, but it was interesting to draw comparison to Gomis’ intelligent movement across the pitch.  I’ll leave that for others to ponder further.

The game lurched from a good contest to a scrappy affair, often broken by the abysmal referee; Robert Madley.  I don’t know a great deal about Mr Madley, but his inability to call a decision today was baffling.  I don’t feel he discriminated, he was equally shocking both ways, but his performance will stick in my mind.  It was that bad.

However, the referee, whilst an abject moron, was not to blame for our defeat.

We were set up all wrong.

Bacuna’s performance against Sunderland raised eyebrows.  He destroyed them.  However, it posed a problem for Sherwood with the excellent Hutton returning from suspension.  Sherwood got this call wrong.

For all the fantastic work that Bacuna did at Sunderland, it was his assists and attack that drew the acclaim.  His defending, as on show today, is amateurish.  It’s not Bacuna’s fault, he’s an attacking midfielder.  The decision to switch Hutton to left back to accomodate his inclusion will stand as an absolute disaster.  Matthew Lowton must be considered very unlucky to be the fall guy after a couple fo composed recalls as well.

We were exposed time and time again down the right & ultimately were made to pay.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Swansea were tidy all afternoon and unlucky not to be ahead at half time.  They passed the ball well and picked at the Villa backline.  Their movement drew the eye & it was fortunate the amount of let offs we got by playing a high line.  It was a relief to go in at half time level, with much of the attacking play unfolding in front of the Holte End.  

Villa lost Cleverley to injury in the opening exchanges.  Such is his resurgence of late that we looked immediately poorer for his exit.  Who would have thought that would be a sentence I would write?  Sanchez, for all the neat flicks and exuberant hair, never looks in control of a football.  Villa never won the midfield battle all afternoon.

The second half saw us come into the game.  However, we were wasteful, or unfortunate.  That’s a matter of debate.  Gabby fashioned a shot from close range to see it deflected wide, Sinclair swivelled to shoot wide when Benteke was a side foot away.  Gabby squared a fantastic low ball across the box which neither Sinclair nor Benteke could meet.  Delph opted for the spectacular when Sinclair had a run on goal.  

Chances.  They came and went.

Benteke, wandering around, presumably injured for 10/15 minutes was withdrawn for Wiemann.  N’Zogbia, having played well again, was swapped for Westwood.  Why do I mention this?

We have significant limitations to our squad.  Our bench offers little if anything in terms of “game changers”.

Westwood.  He’s the Ford Fiesta of midfielders.  He works well, but will never turn a head.  His introduction told me that we wanted to get the ball, hold it and take a point.

Wiemann.  Can anybody tell me what he did, anything at all, following his introduction?  He came on in the 75th minute.  Genuinely, we might as well have brought on a bowl of porridge and placed it somewhere on the pitch, such was his anonymity.  An oscar winning performance of “headless chicken”.

If anything, it demonstrates what Sherwood has to work with & the limitations of the squad he has inherited.  But it also raises an interesting question; why is Carles Gil not being utilised?  The exciting, tricky, creative Spaniard is warming the bench.  Indeed, so was Grealish today.  Another ponderer given the lack of physicality & opportunity to steal the win.

Swansea got their victory, predictably via our woeful right back position, Montero bursting through to cross to the gleeful Gomis.  A straightforward finish to win the game.  Villa rallied briefly, fashioning a great chance for Sinclair, who hammered a volley just over.  But, that was that.

Today was a sign of exactly where we are at in B6.  We are, sadly, below a Swansea.  Fans, history and aspiration count for nothing, when our playing staff are scarred or restricted by the hangover of Lambert and Co.  Sherwood was tactically naive today I thought, but, he has a small working party of players who can reasonably be considered fit to wear the claret and blue I love.

It was also another example of us surrendering a point at the death.  This must be ironed out.  Stoke & now Swansea.  Unacceptable, because we are better than that.  Further, if we want to guarantee survival, then you don’t want to invite trouble to your door.

This all serves to underline the value of our recent wins, whilst also providing a reminder that the job is far from done.

We now sit tight during an international break & plan our path to victory against Manchester United.  Right?

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});