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Player Match Ratings: A display unfit to be put before our Prince!


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Sunderland came for their second away point of the season, achieved that objective with something to spare and could so easily have left Villa Park with their first away win of the season following a dire home performance.



This really was a game we needed to win. Three points against visitors who arrived at Villa Park sitting at the bottom of the league table was not an unrealistic expectation but it was given our home form this season something that was not guaranteed. The two points we dropped could have seen us go three points clear of the bottom half of the table which would have left us looking comfortable in mid table and with 18 points from 13 games.  


What was unacceptable about this game was that we never got out of the starting blocks. After a dismal first half we had grounds to hope that we could go again in the second half as we had done at WBA last Monday. But the second half proved a sad repeat of our bleak first half performance and we allowed Sunderland to boss much of the game which is something they would have been as surprised about as we were.


There was very little to choose between the two sides on yesterday’s showing and that in itself is alarming. Villa achieved something that had seemed beyond them yesterday by making Sunderland look a good side. We again demonstrated how hard we find it to break down a team who put men behind the ball and who we start as favourites to beat. This was a repeat of the Cardiff game without the gloss that the late goals gave that game.


On a positive note we did manage another clean sheet and climbed above The Baggies but that for me is outweighed by the negatives and our goals at Villa Park have dried up to the extent that we have yet to score a first half goal in a home league game this season. We started reasonably well but that was short lived and although the suspicion remained that one goal could lead to more for us given the away team’s brittle confidence that goal never really looked like coming. It was Sunderland that were the stronger team on the day and that made the better chances. This represents 2 points dropped on the corresponding fixture last season and it left royalty and fans alike leaving Villa Park very disappointed.      



My player ratings from a game that was far from being a Royal Command Performance are:


Brad Guzan – 6 – Had very little to do yesterday but had an awful miss and the crossbar to thank for his clean sheet.                                             


Leandro Bacuna – 5 – Leo was not able to get forward as often as we needed him to be able to do against an outfit who invited us to break them down and against whom he might have made a big difference had he been given the freedom to get forward regularly. He is far more effective further up the field than at the back and his defensive abilities were brought into question on more than one occasion yesterday.         


Ron Vlaar – 7 – A solid captain’s performance in the heart of our defence. Had his head in his hands when he allowed a ball to run through to Gardner but he was clearly offside when the ball was hit towards him.                  


Ciaran Clark – 6 – Made a couple of decent headed clearances yesterday. Rightly escaped first half penalty appeals for a hand ball but failed to get a strong enough challenge in on Borini when his header hit the bar on 66 minutes. It was a tad surprising that he was given the nod ahead of Baker yesterday.      


Antonio Lunar - 6 – Offered us something we have lacked in his absence when moving forward and his return to first team duty was one of the few positives to take from this game.                              


Karim El Ahmadi – 4 – Started well enough but his contribution to the game diminished at a noticeable rate until he was substituted on 71 minutes.                    


Ashley Westwood - 5 – Several of his passes unusually went astray yesterday although he was not the only culprit in this. His level of performance did improve somewhat as the game wore on but he can be more assertive than this. Had a 53rd minute shot easily gathered by Mannone following a good forward run by Gabby.                        


Fabian Delph – 5 – Another to suffer from some pass inaccuracy but he is bound to be a touch ring rusty following a long period out of the starting line up and he did win his fair share of the balls he lost. Has been much missed from our midfield and will soon get back up to speed. Hit a shot on 36 minutes that drifted wide of the post.  


Gabriel Agbonlahor – 7 – MOTM – Noticeably tried to make something happen and his pace was the main threat to a solid defence. Headed a Delph cross wide of the post on 3 minutes when under pressure from Bardsley and had an effort gathered by Mannone following good work by Weimann 2 minutes later. Had a near post shot saved by the keeper on 49 minutes after Benteke had found him with a sweet pass.        


Andreas Weimann – 5 – Looking short of confidence and some way off the player he was for us last season as is his strike partner. Andi does however work hard during our games and did so yesterday. Almost got on the end of a Bacuna cross at the near post just prior to his substitution.  


Christian Benteke – 4 – Christian may be short of confidence, fitness and service but he looked frustrated at best yesterday and a shadow of his former self. He harassed this Sunderland team last season scoring 3 of our 6 goals and bullying defenders at will. This time he was far too easily managed by O’Shea although he was aided and abetted in this by a referee who offered him no protection and who seemed not to see or want to see the illegal means that were often used to subdue him. He won little to nothing in the air, badly needs a goal and would not have allowed himself to have been so dominated last year. He curled a shot wide of the post on 29 minutes after Westwood had set up the chance inside the box and that was possibly our best goal opportunity.      




Aleksandar Tonev  – 5 - Replaced El Ahmadi on 71 minutes and made no striking impression on a game we continued to labour in until full time. Did hit a shot on target on 83 minutes which were few and far between yesterday but it was easily saved by the keeper.   


Marc Albrighton – 5 – Replaced Weimann on 71 minutes following his return from a loan period. Looked lively on his introduction but he was also unable to make any telling difference on this game.            


Libor Kozak – Replaced Benteke on 86 minutes and was not on long enough to earn a rating.



Up the Villa!

John Lewis

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Cardiff City-358093+35809
Crystal Palace-
Hull City-
Manchester City3321713340636+846
Manchester United405383
Newcastle United3033417375542+7220
Norwich City3318414
Queens Park Rangers385944
Stoke City3011018
Swansea City3400511
Tottenham Hotspur368637353914-1472
West Bromwich Albion3448910
West Ham United3050316
Wigan Athletic3337412
Cardiff City2-03
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 Albion1-112-212-21110
West Ham United2-130-010-1010+1
Cardiff City2-030-302-2130+3
Hull City1-030-012-1313-2
Crystal Palace3-231-11000
Scored first2Conceded first8
When we score 1stTotHAWhen we concede 1stTotHA
Nil all draws312Points gained from losing pos7 pts from 8 games
Points lost from winning pos0 pts from 4 games
Ave scoring min62Ave conceding min40
Scored first half3Conceded first half8
Scored 1-150Conceded 1-154
Scored 16-302Conceded 16-302
Scored 31-451Conceded 31-452
Scored second half10Conceded second half6
Scored 46-601Conceded 46-601
Scored 61-755Conceded 61-754
Scored 76-904Conceded 76-901
Possession Stats
Average match possession43.16%
Out-possess opponent3
Out-possessed by opponent10
When we out-possess opponent
Pts accrued (PPG)2 (0.7)
Goals scored (GPG)1 (0.3)
Goals conceded (GPG)2 (0.7)
When out-possessed by opponent
Pts accrued (PPG)14 (1.4)
Goals scored (GPG)12 (1.2)
Goals conceded (GPG)12 (1.2)
Own Goals
1Christian Benteke4
2Leandro Bacuna2
2Karim El Ahmadi2
2Libor Kozák2
5Ashley Westwood1
5Andreas Weimann1
5Antonio Luna1
1Martin Atkinson11-0-03
1Michael Jones11-0-03
1Chris Foy11-0-03
4Anthony Taylor21-0-13
5Neil Swarbrick10-1-01
5Michael Oliver10-1-01
5Howard Webb10-1-01
8Mark Clattenburg20-1-11
9Phil Dowd10-0-10
9Mike Dean10-0-10
9Kevin Friend10-0-10
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