Two home defeats in four days has been very, very hard to watch. The season is in tatters and all we have left for is to secure our safety. We currently have a 7-point cushion between the bottom three and ourselves but that gap will not last forever if our results do not start improving.
Barnsley now have as many wins away from home this season as we have wins at home and away. Yesterday’s visitors are also thirteen points above us. They play as a team. We play as a bunch of individuals. They wanted to prove something to the players they recently sold to us in the same way that Brentford and Forest did.
Our visitors started strongly but we then started to create chances and look the better team before referee Eltringham intervened by awarding a dubious penalty. As a team that is short of confidence and belief that was the last thing we needed. Having conceded another, we then pulled a goal back just before half time. That should have provided us with a platform and a momentum to seek a win or at the very least a draw from this game in the second half. Sadly, we gave an inept second half performance and it was the visitors who got the crucial next goal that sealed the game for them with over half an hour of the match left. Had we pulled another goal back we could have pressed for a late equalizer but we instead surrendered meekly.
Steve Bruce went back to four at the back for this one but our problems go beyond that. We do not play for each other as a team. Our new signings like other signings before them appear to have been swallowed up by the growing malaise that our club has been subject to over recent years. Players that have impressed and scored goals for fun at the clubs they were bought from see their form drop and their goals dry up when they join us.
The boss has a much bigger job than he and we thought that he had when we went on that early “new manager bounce”. He has to turn this club around by the end of the season and install a positivity in the players we have that can make next season markedly different to this and the last one. We need to make a strong promotion challenge next season but that currently looks to be beyond us.
My player ratings from a game that was frankly nothing other than an embarrassment are:
Sam Johnstone – 5 – Guessed the right way but Armstrong’s firmly hit 25th minute penalty beat him. Bradshaw turned a 43rd minute cross just past his outstretched hand and into the corner of the net for their second. Got down to hold a 78th minute Moncur shot near the post.
Alan Hutton – 5 – The last of a host of defenders to try to clear the ball out of the area on 58 minutes but only succeeded in finding Bradshaw who hit his second of the night. Headed a 67th minute Lansbury cross wide.
James Chester - 6 – Solid enough.
Nathan Baker – 6 – Our return to a back four was a return to his central pairing with Chester which is one of the few positives we have seen this season. Did well enough.
Jordan Amavi – 5 – Made a welcome return to the first team. Started very well but he was unable to maintain that high level of performance throughout the game. Harshly adjudged to have brought down Watkins inside the area to concede the penalty that gave them their opener and needed to try to get closer to Yiadom when he crossed for their second.
Albert Adomah – 5 – His fierce 15th minute shot from outside of the box was tipped over the bar by Davies. Lifted an 84th minute shot well over the bar.
Conor Hourihane – 5 – Headed the ball into the arms of Davies on 32 minutes from around 8 yards. This was still some way below the form and influence on games that he had shown when he was with the visitors.
Henri Lansbury - 6 – Had an 11th minute shot from inside the box saved by Davies and picked up the ball and hit a 21st minute shot that took a deflection before being gathered by Davies.
Jack Grealish – 5 – Showed a couple of glimpses of the ability that he has but not for the first time this season let this game pass him by without looking unduly concerned that it was doing so.
Jonathan Kodjia – 6 – MOTM – Hit a 26th minute shot from the edge of the box that went just wide of the far post before turning in Adomah’s 44th minute cross for our only goal. He then hit a 55th minute shot from the edge of the box a couple of feet wide of the post and made a decent run into the box 10 minutes later but his attempted cross was blocked and put out for a corner off Davies’ leg. Looked likely to give us a late consolation goal on the 90th minute but he lifted the ball onto the top of the net. Needs to look up for colleagues when making runs and to work on his relationship with Hogan.
Scott Hogan – 5 – Headed a 13th minute Amavi cross a couple of feet wide of the far post. He makes some promising runs but was again starved of service.
Birkir Bjarnason – 5 – Replaced Hutton on 73 minutes. Failed to make any impact following his introduction.
Andre Green – 6 - Replaced Lansbury on 73 minutes and looked lively unlike others around him.
Leandro Bacuna – Replaced Grealish on the 76th minute and was not on long enough and did not do enough to gather any rating.
Up the Villa!
Terrible terrible luck for both players. Taylor because he went full pelt for the ball and caught Coleman in the wrong place, and Coleman for obvious reasons.
Not trying to defend Taylor and pretend he did nothing wrong. It was not a good tackle - sounds like he was completely devastated and it doesn't sound like there was malice in the tackle. Just trying to be objective in that we see lots of tackles like that that sometimes people get away with it, but I think the after effect makes it worse.
Best wishes to Coleman though, devastated for him
Not sure how UEFA works in terms of his ban, don't know if there's a precedent for extending bans due to the severity of the injury, I'd be amazed if he got more than 3 games
fair few idiots on twitter calling for the fa to get involved and ban him fromleague games, simply not going to happen
To be fair, both players were full-blooded into that challenge. Taylor was reckless and was too slow into the challenge, which resulted in Coleman getting in first but, unfortunately, took full force of the challenge from Taylor.
It looks a terrible injury and I truly hope that Seamus Coleman makes a full and speedy recovery and is able to continue his career the way it was going because - and I mean this sincerely, not because of tonight - he is one of my favourite modern-day footballers. He plays full-blooded and seems to play his heart out every game. Hopefully, that level of spirit will help him through this terrible injury.
It's funny as he seems (for now) to be the new fan fav some people are bending over backwards to defend him and call out anyone who thinks he deserves heavy criticism for that awful tackle that could end a mans career.
Yet some of the bullshit vitriol towards non fan fav Bacuna over his ridiculous chest barge in comparison was astounding.
Now I don't personally think that it was more than a over excurberant fully committed mistimed tackle. But I'm not Neil Taylor, only he knows deep down.
He just can't be defended but equally I can't be too critical of him either. As these things can easily happen within a split second.
He should get a hefty ban though.
Bad challenge but anyone who says that's the worst challenge they've ever seen is a monumental f*cktard. It was not malicious at all, Taylor was 100% going for the ball, it was just an awfully executed tackle, yes these things do happen. This is no where near the level of Keane on Haaland, or Witsel on Wasilewski, two challenges that were clearly hyper malicious attempts to maim their opponent.