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Player Match Ratings: There’s no place like home?


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We now have three defeats from our first four home league games this season and it seems a very long time since Villa Park could be considered a fortress for us.



There was to be no heroic comeback of the sort that we produced against Manchester City in a last home game nor was there to be a repeat of the meek surrender that led to our cup exit against the same visitors just 26 days earlier. But although Spurs had to work harder for it this time they got their now customary win at Villa Park with something to spare and must wish they could play us every week given it has been 5 long years since we got the better of them.


There was not a lot to choose between the two teams in the first half. Spurs stung by their defeat against West Ham were still a touch below their best and we worked hard to press them without either side really looking likely to score until Townsend who can do no wrong at the moment scored with a fortuitous cross that eluded everyone on 31 minutes. Their decisive second came at a point in the game that we held the ascendancy and dashed our hopes of a repeat of the second half comeback that we produced 3 weeks ago. Benteke’s return had raised our spirits and had his header been a couple of feet lower 5 minutes before they stretched their lead it might have been a different story but there was to be no coming back from a two goal deficit.


We really need to find a way to win games at home consistently. Whether that is achieved by playing 3 at the back or by some other tinkering in formation or starting line up we cannot rely on getting our points away from home although clearly our pattern of play is more suited to games where the home teams press and we can hit them on the break. The vast majority of our fans see games at Villa Park and they want to see wins rather than a run of defeats for their hard earned money. Everton, Cardiff and Sunderland are our next three visitors and we really need to be looking for two wins from those three games to keep our league position looking healthy and to keep the fans coming back to B6 during a time of recession.    


My player ratings from a game that could have taken us above Spurs but which has left us sitting 3 points clear of the drop zone in thirteenth place are:


Brad Guzan – 7 – Got well behind a Soldado shot on 21 minutes but was beaten 10 minutes later by a Townsend cross which eluded Soldado’s outstretched boot and that Holtby ducked under to leave Brad wrong footed as the ball sailed in at the far post. He then kept us in the game with 2 splendid saves. The first was a one handed stop that denied Townsend a second when he hit a shot from the edge of the box on 45 minutes and the second came on 50 minutes when he did equally well to turn a Paulinho effort around the post. Brad was beaten for a second time when Paulinho played a deft ball to Soldado who burst unchallenged into the box on 69 minutes and hit the ball past him at his near post.                                            


Leandro Bacuna – 7 – Impressive again particularly when getting forward but he has to be in order to keep Lowton out of our starting line up. Could there be a case for trying him again in the middle and playing Lowton at the back?    


Ron Vlaar – 6 – Steady enough himself but needs to utilise his experience to try to better organise the defence around him which was too easily torn to shreds for their second.                   


Nathan Baker – 5 – Might not have started had Clark not picked up a warm-up injury and this was not one of his strongest performances for us at the back at what may have been short notice. Nathan was far too casual on 72 minutes when playing a ball in his own half straight to Soldado that could easily have led to a third and to their running away with the game.     


Antonio Luna - 7 – Did well enough at the back particularly given he came up against Townsend and proved a threat moving forward as was demonstrated on 90 minutes when Weimann was not quite able to turn the ball in following his nice run into the box .                             


Karim El Ahmadi – 6 – Got stuck in well enough and was much involved in the middle but can get let down by his touch and distribution.           


Fabian Delph – 8 – MOTM – Another fully committed performance in an under pressure midfield and despite his now habitual booking near the end he was by some way our most effective performer. Surely Roy could have a look at him if he is considering adding the likes of Redmond and Berahino for the next couple of England squads?                     


Ashley Westwood - 5 – Lloris found some difficulty in pushing away his curling 21st minute free kick but he was again some way below his best and needed to try to stay with Soldado when he ran into the box to add their second.                        


Andreas Weimann – 6 – Good work rate throughout but his endeavour lacked an end product. Hit an effort wide from the edge of the box on 27 minutes. Was fed by Bacuna 13 minutes later and his good cross which was bound for Kozak who would have been left in the clear was well intercepted by Dawson who slid in to block its progress. Hit a decent shot a couple of feet wide of the post on 42 minutes after Westwood had found him on the edge of the box. Needs to find his goal touch but he does work well with Benteke and his return may well bring it back.  


Gabby Agbonlahor – 5 – Hit a 3rd minute cross from Bacuna that found him near the penalty spot over the bar. Gabby did not make the sort of impression on this game that might reasonably have been expected and that would have had the England manager sit up and take notice.              


Libor Kozak – 4 – Needs to show much more than this and to settle into his new surroundings quickly if he is to mount a challenge for a starting place up front now that Benteke is back in first team action. Presented little threat to the Spurs defence.                                     




Christian Benteke – 7 - Replaced Kozak on 61 minutes. His arrival produced a big surge in both belief and momentum which was quenched too soon by their second goal which settled the game as a contest. Christian leapt high to reach Bacuna’s cross 3 minutes after his introduction but was unable to keep his header down. Ring rusty but his appearance gave us the goal threat we had lacked up until then.     


Yacouba Sylla – 6 – Replaced El Ahmadi on 72 minutes and I have to say that I struggle to see why he is not starting games now.


Aleksandar Tonev - Replaced Gabby on 79 minutes. Not on long enough to get a rating but hit a cross on 84 minutes that Weimann was not far from getting on the end of and hit a shot a minute later that was on target albeit easily gathered by Lloris. Some positives for him to take from this brief outing.


Up the Villa!

John Lewis

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First class post & match analysis as always John. Very good suggestion too to perhaps retry giving Bacuna a midfield slot & reintroducing Matty Lowton at RB.


For all the money Spurs have spent paradoxically it was Andros Townsend who was the main difference between the two teams. Had we started with Benteke things may well have turned out differently. Brad Guzan is a top class goalkeeper but the coaching staff at BMH need to start getting him to start kicking the ball to a claret & blue shirt as this for me is possibly his only current weakness.


For most of the game we more than matched Spurs but in reality it was a game that we didn't deserve more than a point at most & sadly Spurs didn't have to really break sweat to win.


Finally, the visiting Spurs fans were possibly the quietest away fans ever to visit Villa Park.


"Shall we sing a song for You?"


If only you could. It took 2 goals to finally awaken you from your slumbers. Presumably the clearing in the woods who threw the flare was half a sleep when he chucked it. Zzzzzzz!!

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For most of the game we more than matched Spurs


there's a HUGE difference between matching someone and nullifying them with spoiling tactics. right from the off we didn't try and match them at football, we simply tried to stop them playing it.



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Agreed villa-revolution and thanks. I think the game may have came a week or two too early to start Benteke and 30 minutes was all we could really ask of him at this stage of his comeback from injury.


Points taken Ulver. I think we tried to do another Manchester City on them by catching them on the break and making it difficult for their game to flow albeit this was at home rather than away as we had done at Arsenal and Chelsea. I would also like us to be able to match the likes of Spurs at football at home but at present and without Benteke starting I can see why Lambo considered this the most likely way to get something from the game. However, the next 3 home games are ones I think we will need to try to show a more positive approach to from the start.

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Cardiff City-
Crystal Palace-
Hull City-
Manchester City3321713340634+846
Manchester United405383
Newcastle United3033417375542+7220
Norwich City3318414
Queens Park Rangers385944
Stoke City3011018
Swansea City3400511
Tottenham Hotspur368637353913-1472
West Bromwich Albion3448910
West Ham United3050316
Wigan Athletic3337412
Cardiff City
Crystal Palace
Hull City0-01
Manchester City3-230-100-5030+3
Manchester United2-300-30000
Newcastle United1-201-201-11000
Norwich City1-111-032-13330
Stoke City0-013-13000
Swansea City2-032-21000
Tottenham Hotspur0-200-400-20000
West Bromwich Albion1-112-21000
West Ham United2-130-10000
Cardiff City0-302-21000
Hull City1-030-012-1313-2
Crystal Palace3-231-11000
Scored first1Conceded first6
When we score 1stTotHAWhen we concede 1stTotHA
Nil all draws101
Ave scoring min57Ave conceding min40
Scored first half3Conceded first half6
Scored 1-150Conceded 1-152
Scored 16-302Conceded 16-302
Scored 31-451Conceded 31-452
Scored second half6Conceded second half4
Scored 46-601Conceded 46-601
Scored 61-754Conceded 61-753
Scored 76-901Conceded 76-900
Possession Stats
Average match possession41.24%
Out-possess opponent2
Out-possessed by opponent6
When we out-possess opponent
Pts accrued (PPG)1 (0.5)
Goals scored (GPG)1 (0.5)
Goals conceded (GPG)2 (1)
When out-possessed by opponent
Pts accrued (PPG)9 (1.5)
Goals scored (GPG)8 (1.3)
Goals conceded (GPG)8 (1.3)
Own Goals
1Christian Benteke4
2Andreas Weimann1
2Leandro Bacuna1
2Karim El Ahmadi1
2Libor Kozák1
2Antonio Luna1
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