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Player Match Ratings: Swans tame a docile Lion!


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The first league goal we have scored in the first half at Villa Park this season did somehow give us our first point in five games despite the Swans having enjoyed the lion’s share of the possession.



On the positive side we put an end to a 4 game run of defeats yesterday, scored a goal and held onto a point rather than gave one away as we had done just 48 short hours earlier.   


But, it has been a long time since Villa Park was considered a fortress by our visitors. It has become a ground that teams just love to come to and a ground at which teams who are on a bad run have a real opportunity to get a positive result.


We have sadly grown accustomed to defeats at Villa Park having now won just 11 of our last 48 home league games. But to be outplayed by a team that are just a point above us despite having gone an early goal in front to the extent that they claimed 73% of the possession away from home represents a new and an unacceptable low.


Following a bright enough start we scored a rare goal at Villa Park and this lifted our spirits no end. This might have been expected to lift confidence on the pitch as well as off it. But instead of going again with a view to ensuring a win we took our foot of the pedal, surrendered the initiative along with the midfield and it was no shock when they equalised on 36 minutes. Our goal and the lead up to it was as good as it got. Following that it was one way traffic and we were outplayed, out passed and gave a passable imitation of an away team with their backs to the wall.


After going ahead we too readily dropped back and defended far too deep giving Swansea the space to play in front of us and our wayward passes and balls out of defence led to us surrendering possession far too often. We moved our defensive line further forward and did press our visitors when they had the ball in the second half but they did have an awful lot of the ball yesterday.


Generally our players seemed to put in a bigger shift than they had done 48 hours earlier. But hard work alone will not win enough games in this league and we struggled to put a couple of passes together yesterday let alone to create scoring opportunities during the 87 minutes we played after going a goal up.


We were fortunate to get a point yesterday from a game that Swansea controlled without turning their possession into more than one goal due to their own lack of a cutting edge. But the gulf in class between the two teams was shown to be nearer a chasm than the one point difference that the league table still shows between us today.    


This point has left us on 20 points. The same number of points from the second half of the season or perhaps another six wins should be enough to secure our top flight status for another season. But on current form it is difficult to see where those wins or another 18 points will come from or what the end goal of the mystery project that we are apparently 18 months into is.      



My player ratings from a game that has left us 4 points clear of the relegation places and half way to safety are:


Brad Guzan – 6 – Brad gathered a Hernandez shot at the second attempt on 17 minutes and was relieved to see a headed corner from the unmarked Davies bounce over the bar 3 minutes later. He was beaten at his far post for their equalizer having rushed from front to far post in chase of a floating cross from Hernandez that found Lamah’s head and entered the net off his arm. He also comfortably helped a De Guzman free kick over the bar on 52 minutes.                                               


Matt Lowton – 5 – A slight improvement on his previous performance for me but he needs to build on this to get somewhere near to the player he had looked at this stage of last season.         


Ciaran Clark – 6 – A good solid display yesterday. His absence to add to that of our captain will make our next game a tougher game than it was already going to be for our short of numbers defence.                  


Nathan Baker – 5 – He tends to look uncomfortable and hurried when put under pressure. This is likely to be very much the situation we will face at Sunderland.         


Antonio Lunar - 4 – Looked better when getting forward than he did more often than not when defending. Hit a very poor attempted clearance to De Guzman on the edge of the box whose shot flew just wide on 35 minutes and was brushed off by Lamah in the build up to his goal a minute later which left him in space at the far post to meet the inviting cross.                                


Leandro Bacuna – 5 – Leo came off with 20 minutes to play having just been booked for El Ahmadi which suggested we were content to keep the point we had rather than to push for all three.                       


Fabian Delph - 6 – Kept busy and tried to disrupt the visitors passing game as best he was able. Hit a shot with some power on 90 minutes but although on target it was straight at the keeper so did not trouble him.                            


Ashley Westwood – 5 – His return was a positive but he has had much more effective displays than this for us and he needs to try to make a bigger impression on our midfield although given like others his confidence level is so low I can understand why it may prove difficult to put a head above the parapet.  


Aleksandar Tonev – 4 – A surprising starter but his substitution was much less unexpected after 61 minutes. A bright first few minutes and a good early cross but he was oh so quiet after that.  


Andreas Weimann – 4 – Faded after a pretty bright start which had included his crucial part in our goal. Like Villa he seems to be missing Benteke but he does need to step up more than he has done to date during his striking partner’s absence.    


Gabriel Agbonlahor – 6 – MOTM – Opened the scoring on 7 minutes when Weimann played a lovely ball past 2 defenders to leave him with just the keeper to beat after timing his run splendidly and he beat Tremmel nicely with a shot that nestled into the corner of the net. He also won a couple of balls in the air which was a little surprising and hit a late shot into the side netting which was not given the angle had been so tight.     




Libor Kozak – 5 - Replaced Tonev on 61 minutes and offered us someone to hoof the ball up to. Given we are so short of a goal threat the decision to leave him among the forwards who were sitting on the bench at the start of the game looked questionable but he did little to show Lambo that he had been wrong to leave him out although Messi himself would struggle to score regularly from the service we are giving our forwards at the moment.     


Karim El Ahmadi – 4 - Replaced Bacuna on 70 minutes but made no positive impression on the game following his introduction.             


Marc Albrighton – 6 - Replaced Weimann on 79 minutes. I struggle to see why he did not start given his recent performance level and can only assume it was because it was not felt he was up to playing twice in 48 hours. When he did come on he produced a good work rate and looked keen to try to make a difference.



Up the Villa and a Happier New Year to all readers!

John Lewis

Edited by John
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Cardiff City-358096+35809
Crystal Palace-377523+37752
Hull City-
Manchester City3321713340639+846
Manchester United405383426821+2144
Newcastle United3033417375544+7220
Norwich City3318414
Queens Park Rangers385944
Stoke City3011018
Swansea City3400511370285+3023
Tottenham Hotspur368637353917-1472
West Bromwich Albion3448910
West Ham United3050316
Wigan Athletic3337412
Cardiff City2-03
Crystal Palace0-10
Hull City0-01
Manchester City3-230-100-5030+3
Manchester United0-302-300-30000
Newcastle United1-201-201-11000
Norwich City1-111-032-13330
Stoke City0-011-203-1303-3
Swansea City1-112-032-2113-2
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 Palace0-103-231-1103-3
Scored first4Conceded first12
When we score 1stTotHAWhen we concede 1stTotHA
Nil all draws312Points gained from losing pos7 pts from 12 games
Points lost from winning pos2 pts from 6 games
Ave scoring min58Ave conceding min42
Scored first half5Conceded first half13
Scored 1-152Conceded 1-155
Scored 16-302Conceded 16-305
Scored 31-451Conceded 31-453
Scored second half13Conceded second half12
Scored 46-601Conceded 46-604
Scored 61-757Conceded 61-756
Scored 76-905Conceded 76-902
Possession Stats
Average match possession42.81%
Out-possess opponent4
Out-possessed by opponent15
When we out-possess opponent
Pts accrued (PPG)2 (0.5)
Goals scored (GPG)1 (0.3)
Goals conceded (GPG)3 (0.8)
When out-possessed by opponent
Pts accrued (PPG)18 (1.2)
Goals scored (GPG)17 (1.1)
Goals conceded (GPG)22 (1.5)
Own Goals
1Libor Kozák4
1Christian Benteke4
3Gabriel Agbonlahor2
3Leandro Bacuna2
3Karim El Ahmadi2
6Fabian Delph1
6Ashley Westwood1
6Andreas Weimann1
6Antonio Luna1
1Jonathan Moss11-0-03
1Martin Atkinson11-0-03
1Michael Jones11-0-03
1Chris Foy11-0-03
5Anthony Taylor21-0-13
6Roger East10-1-01
6Neil Swarbrick10-1-01
6Michael Oliver10-1-01
9Howard Webb20-1-11
9Mark Clattenburg20-1-11
11Craig Pawson10-0-10
11Lee Mason10-0-10
11Phil Dowd10-0-10
11Mike Dean20-0-20
11Kevin Friend10-0-10
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Congratulations John, your post match analysis is bang on the money as always. Swansea totally played us off the park & it was lucky for us that Michu wasn't playing otherwise they might have declared. The main problem as I saw it was lack of communication. Bacuna rarely covered Matty Lowton defensively & lacked concentration. On the other side Tonev & Luna were a total waste of space. They never worked together at anytime during the match & within the first 5 minutes you had the farcical situation of Swansea attacking 4 against 2 as both Luna & Tonev were high up the pitch & fortunately Ciaran Clark got across to cover the left back position to bail them both out. Similarly you had Bacuna switched off with his back to goal as Swansea were preparing to take a short corner. Just totally amateurish.


The amazing thing was that Swansea looked so comfortable in possession & it looked like they had 15 men on the pitch & then our players such as El Ahmadi, Lowton & Clark under no pressure whatsoever would clumsily pass the ball straight back to them.


Brad Guzan is not exempt from criticism here either as he more than anyone must have been guilty of giving the ball away with his brainless & aimless long punts easily gobbled up by a grateful Swansea defence. I constructively suggest you either throw it out to a claret & blue shirt or you kick it with a flat trajectory towards a Villa player so that the defending team can't immediately regain possession. Additionally, please can you distribute the ball with more haste. You take so long to release it that the opposition easily get back set into position behind the ball & it is all so comfortable to prepare to defend against.


We are still persisting with this awful zonal marking on corner kicks too & Swanse's Ben Davies should have scored in the first half when 6 of our static defenders watched as he ran in & then somehow headed the ball down & then over the bar.


Also, what has happened to Andi Weimann as he has become a pale shadow of the player he was last season. Apart from the excellent assist for Gabby's goal he was Mr Invisible again. Typically too another Villa player gets a booking & is now unavailable for the next game. This time as John points out it's Ciaran Clark who is now unavailable against Sunderland. If only the refs could do us all a favour & just send Tonev & El Ahmadi off so that we could be without their selection for the next few games I would be a really, really happy bunny.


Heaven only knows how we managed to grab a point from this game, but grab it we did & that ultimately is the biggest positive to come out of the whole sorry situation.


We go again & hopefully this time with the return of Vlaar & Benteke for the trip to Sunderland.

Edited by villa-revolution
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Thanks for those stats again BOF. We are still a point ahead of our results from last season I see. 


Thanks also villa-revolution. Your comments above are very much ones that I agree with. I also hope we will see Vlaar & Benteke back for the next game because each game gets more vital as the season continues and this represents the game we are most likely to get something from until the end of next month but I doubt a 3-day gap will see them both available.     

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It is a catchy line though rjw63... But I prefer this one from Sir Ron which worked more often than not, "With 110% from each and every one of the players and your usual tremendous vocal backing, I am confident we can get the right result". 

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It is a catchy line though rjw63... But I prefer this one from Sir Ron which worked more often than not, "With 110% from each and every one of the players and your usual tremendous vocal backing, I am confident we can get the right result". 

It's a bollocks line ;)


But yeah, Sir Ron's programme notes always had the above at the end. back when they cost 5 new pence :)

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