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Player Match Ratings: Villa pay the penalty for missed chances!


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At half time it was surprising that an end to end game still remained scoreless. But by full time our wretched home record had been maintained due to goal opportunities being spurned by us and our defensive frailties being exploited late in the game so another home defeat was the predictable end result.



So Everton stretch their recent unbeaten record against us to six and in so doing get only their third league win at Villa Park since 1987. But the end result could have been so different had Benteke’s early penalty not been kept out by Howard, had we put away one of the several chances we made after that, had referee Taylor brought Everton down to ten men by sending off McCarthy for the challenge he made on Westwood before they had opened their scoring and had we found the money this summer to have Barry steady our midfield rather than do the same for our opponents yesterday. But none of these things came to pass and a fourth home defeat from our first five league games of the season at Villa Park is very hard to take.    


This was a game we really should not have lost and that on the balance of play we deserved something from. We had the chances early on to have opened up a two goal lead and had the better of a first half that had opportunities been taken by both sides and the respective goalkeepers not been in such good form could have ended around 3-1 to us. Given we were kicking towards the Holte End in the second half it was not unreasonable to expect that we would be able to apply some concerted pressure on an Everton team that were increasingly looking as if they would be satisfied with a point. But they had this game handed to them on a plate after having gone behind we squandered an opportunity to draw level which our overall play would have merited up until that point and then gave them a second through slack defending finishing the game comfortably second best.


As we did last season we are finding wins very hard to come by at Villa Park and we are getting into the habit of conceding goals all too easily and not being able to score them ourselves. That has dampened early season optimism and suggests we might yet face another season of struggle. It also puts a lot of pressure on our being able to pick up points away from home to make up for our inability to do so at Villa Park. Our next two home games are against Cardiff and Sunderland. These are games we might expect to start as favourites to win but that was the case when Newcastle rolled up earlier this season and were another team to come away from Villa Park with the points. So although these begin to have the look of “must win games” albeit very early in this season how confident can we be that we can conquer our Villa Park anxieties twice next month?           


My player ratings from another Villa Park game that has seen the away fans rather than us leave the ground happy are:


Brad Guzan – 7 – Made a fantastic reaction save to deny Lukaku a headed goal by pushing out his goal bound header from a 26th minute Coleman cross. His legs also prevented Lukaku opening the scoring after he had run past both Vlaar and Luna inside the box on 31 minutes.                                             


Leandro Bacuna – 6 – Not able to get as involved up front as often as he usually does yesterday. This for me has further strengthened the case for trying Leandro further forward again and playing Lowton at the back in an attempt to strengthen both our defence and our ability to make things happen up front. Had a shot deflected for a corner having cut inside on 16 minutes.       


Ron Vlaar – 7 – A good solid central defensive display.                   


Nathan Baker – 6 – Did well in the centre but he is not a full back and that showed when he moved there following Luna’s injury and got pulled into the middle too often leaving space on the flank more than once. He was too casual with a pass well inside his own half that he hit straight to Lukaku and was fortunate not to be punished for this lapse on 24 minutes. But he did well to deflect a Miralles effort out for a corner on 35 minutes and it was after he left the middle that Lukaku made hay.    


Antonio Luna - 6 – Replaced on 45 minutes due to injury when stretching to reach a ball into the box aimed for Mirallas. He had found more than a little difficulty in managing Mirallas up until then. We missed the forward runs and crosses he might have provided in the second half.                              


Aleksandar Tonev – 6 – A decent enough performance. Tracked back well and moved forward on occasion with some purpose.              


Fabian Delph – 7 – MOTM - Was unable to make quite the impact on a strong Everton midfield that he has made in other games so far this season but was still our most effective midfield player. Hit a measured shot towards the far post on 57 minutes that was deflected off Jagielka for a corner.                    


Ashley Westwood - 6 – Showed some signs of improvement on his recent displays. Got a touch to a Barclay effort from the edge of the box that hit the bar on the half hour.                        


Andreas Weimann – 5 – Did not seem comfortable in his wide position and really should have done better after a ball from Gabby aimed towards Benteke ran on to him in oceans of space on 25 minutes. His run was well timed but left clear Howard rushed forward and got a foot to the ball on the edge of the box before he could take the opportunity he had worked for himself and a defender blocked the ball to safety.  


Gabby Agbonlahor – 5 – Should really have done better on 75 minutes after a nice ball from Delph found Weimann running in the box and his cross was deflected into his path but his effort although on target was tame and straight at Howard who gratefully gathered the ball. Had earlier made a committed run into the box on 56 minutes but an end product was missing. Failed to get any sort of challenge in on Osman for their second after Barry had been left in so much space inside the area and pushed the ball to their scorer on the edge of the box.               


Christian Benteke – 6 – Currently lacks the sharpness he had before his injury which had seen him scoring goals for fun up until a month ago. Was brought down by Coleman inside the box after Weimann had played a nice ball to him between 2 defenders but his 8th minute penalty was well read by Howard who pushed the ball over with a one handed save that was the first of the game changing moments in this game. He was again denied by the keeper on 23 minutes after Gabby had played a lovely ball to Tonev who then hit a pass past 2 defenders but Christian’s effort was kept out by Howard. Had a shot from the edge of the box deflected onto the back netting by Jagielka and will not have this many opportunities without scoring again this season.  




Ciaran Clark – 5 - Replaced Luna on 45 minutes and failed to stay on Lukaku on the edge of the box for their crucial opening goal. This was a disappointing second half performance by Ciaran playing as one of two rather than three central defenders.         


Nicklas Helenius – Replaced Tonev on 77 minutes not on long enough to make any impression on the game or to merit a rating.


Up the Villa!

John Lewis

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Great post as usual John. The bottom line is that goals win games & on another day we could quite easily have been 3-0 up. Our inability to put the ball into the net meant we were always fragile & susceptible to a sucker punch. Although we were territorially on top for the most part of the second half in reality apart from Gabby's missed chance for the most part we just huffed & puffed & never looked like blowing the house down. Everybody inside the ground realised instantly that it was game over once Osman increased Everton's advantage.


Losing Luna at half time didn't help matters either as Baker looks extremely uncomfortable at LB especially in the opponents half of the field.


On a positive note, a clearly half fit Benteke now has at least has 90 minutes under his belt & we did create at least four good scoring opportunities & came fast out of the blocks in the opening half hour.


You stated previously John & have re-iterated it again above that it is time to reintroduce Lowton at RB & push Bacuna into midfield ahead of him. This is a top call & I hope PL obliges soon.


Finally, we are still persisting with zonal marking on corner kicks & infuriatingly all 11 Villa players are inside our own box  with no one upfield as the out ball so we just come straight back under pressure should we happen to manage to clear it. So please Lambo, either get Benteke on the halfway line as the out ball or better still employ Agbonlahor here instead so he can use his pace on the counter. Either way, please make this happen.


Well done to the Villa fans too for sticking with the side. I know it is difficult to take losing the majority of our home games in recent months but I believe most people would agree & can see for themselves that we are still very much a work in progress. The margins between success & failure are fine & had Benteke scored that penalty I'm sure we would have secured a more favourable result.

Edited by villa-revolution
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Cardiff City-
Crystal Palace-
Hull City-
Manchester City3321713340635+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 first7
When we score 1stTotHAWhen we concede 1stTotHA
Nil all draws101
Ave scoring min57Ave conceding min46
Scored first half3Conceded first half6
Scored 1-150Conceded 1-152
Scored 16-302Conceded 16-302
Scored 31-451Conceded 31-452
Scored second half6Conceded second half6
Scored 46-601Conceded 46-601
Scored 61-754Conceded 61-754
Scored 76-901Conceded 76-901
Possession Stats
Average match possession41.87%
Out-possess opponent2
Out-possessed by opponent7
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 (1.3)
Goals scored (GPG)8 (1.1)
Goals conceded (GPG)10 (1.4)
Own Goals
1Christian Benteke4
2Andreas Weimann1
2Leandro Bacuna1
2Karim El Ahmadi1
2Libor Kozák1
2Antonio Luna1
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