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Player Match Ratings: From the sublime to the ridiculous!


John
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We followed up a 4-goal comeback win against Norwich and a hard fought win against the league leaders with an embarrassing first home defeat against Stoke since 1965 in what was the 100th league meeting between the two clubs and our heaviest ever home defeat against them.

 

Every time we think we have turned a corner and can pull clear of the bottom dwellers once and for all we produce a sorry display like this one. Having gone an early goal up few could in their worst nightmares have suspected that we would so tamely surrender the initiative and end the game well beaten and outplayed by a team that had managed just one away win up until then.    

 

We made it all too easy for Stoke as we have for too many visiting teams this season and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. So there was not to be three successive home wins for the first time since 2007 but there was a ninth home league defeat for us of the season.

 

We started brightly enough but switched off after taking that early lead and two goals in 4 first half minutes all but sealed our fate before the third certainly did in a game we never threatened to come back into.          

 

My player ratings from a game that has seen us plunge once again into the bottom half of the table and grateful for the points we have already gained are:

 

Brad Guzan – 6 – Had little to do other than to pick the ball out of the back of his net. The exception proved to be on 64 minutes when he produced a good stop to keep out an Odemwingie effort from outside of the box.                                                   

 

Leandro Bacuna – 3 – His defensive frailties were exposed for all to see yesterday by Arnautovic. His Austrian tormentor got in behind him for their third which he was unable to cut out leaving their wide man free to play the ball off the back of the hapless Baker’s legs into the path of N’Zonzi whose goal effectively put the game beyond us. Arnautovic then pushed the ball past him as if he was not there on 89 minutes before pulling the ball back to the unmarked Cameron for their fourth.           

 

Ron Vlaar – 5 – His slight deflection helped a shot from Odemwingie on 20 minutes fly inches over on 20 minutes. Ron was then far too casual inside his own box on 70 minutes after Crouch had flicked a header on and he was looking to shield the ball under pressure from N’Zonzi for Guzan to collect it before the referee spared his blushes giving a free kick against his opponent. Hooked a risky pass back towards Delph 14 minutes later and was fortunate that Arnautovic had strayed offside as he ran onto the ball. Failed to steady the ship for once.                     

 

Nathan Baker – 3 – His despairing challenge was easily resisted by Crouch who played the ball on for Odemwingie to thread the ball past Guzan under pressure from Bertrand for their 22nd minute equalizer. Really needed to stay tight on his man 4 minutes later and this left Crouch unmarked in the middle of the penalty area when Pieters pulled the ball back to him to hit home their second.    

 

Ryan Bertrand – 6 – Hit a strong dangerous looking cross into the box after more good work between Delph and himself that a Stoke defender touched out. Had a shot deflected on 94 minutes that their keeper gathered easily enough.     

 

Karim El Ahmadi - 6 – Booked for a wild challenge but we missed his presence in the middle. Why or why did it take us 4 – 5 minutes to get Albrighton on for him?                               

 

Fabian Delph - 6 – MOTM – Produced another solid consistent performance unlike the team as a whole.                                  

 

Ashley Westwood – 5 – Not one of his better performances.  

 

Gabriel Agbonlahor – 4 – One day Gabby will stand up to be counted raising his game and those of the players around him in a game like this one. This was not to be that day. Hit a shot from outside the box high, wide and not handsome on 32 minutes.     

 

Andreas Weimann – 5 – Put in a weak challenge that was brushed aside by Arnautovic leaving him floundering on the floor in the build up to their second goal. Left the field with an injury on 33 minutes      

 

Christian Benteke – 6 – Played the ball wide to Bertrand on 5 minutes who in turn found Delph who pulled the ball back to the waiting Christian who had found space inside the box and took a good first touch before firing the ball into the net for our goal. Lacked service.                     

 

Substitutes:

 

Marc Albrighton – 5 - Replaced El Ahmadi on 33 minutes. Marc failed to make the positive impression on this game that he has so often when coming on recently.   

 

Yacouba Sylla – 4 - Replaced Weimann on 33 minutes and again failed to show anything of the promise he had demonstrated at times last season.        

 

Grant Holt – Replaced Westwood on 73 minutes. Was not on long enough to merit a rating or to make anything approaching a positive impression.

 

 

Stay up the Villa!

John Lewis

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The match was so crap I found myself questioning the chants of the obviously unhinged Stoke followers.

 

Firstly that godawful Tom Jones shit, just STFU.

 

Secondly, they laugh at our empty seats when half their allocation was unfilled. Also we had 10,000 fewer than last week...shows what a huge draw you are eh Stokie dickheads?

 

Calling us Yam Yams (not the first admittedly). Geographically retarded football fan shock.

 

As for the game...I get the feeling that most of the people on this site that back the manager unconditionally don't actually shell out hard-earned cash to watch this **** tripe week after week. I do and I'm sick of it. One very good performance all season at B6 is not acceptable.

We started superbly, took the lead...then just stopped playing. Simple as that!

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John: great report as ever. I hesitate to query a point of history, but didn't we last lose at home to Stoke in the 1987/8 season in the old 2nd division?

Indeed we did, by one goal to nil.

 

I assume all the records mentioned are for the top flight only?

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As always John I immensely enjoyed reading your post match analysis but as for the actual game itself that was anything but. It was almost asymmetrical to the Norwich game. They scored within 5 minutes, then we went goal barmy on twenty minutes & practically sealed the game by scoring just before the break to run out 4-1 winners.

 

This time around, having taken the lead, the whole team seemed to be beset with complacency & every one appeared to lose their focus & their will & desire to win. The midfield seemed totally lethargic, stood off Stoke, failed to pressurize the ball & allowed them to play at leisure. Another major problem too were the unfortunate injuries to Weimann & El Ahmadi which totally disrupted the set up of the team. I believe Lambert was originally looking to bring on Albrighton for Weimann until El Ahmadi's injury & then he had to throw Yacouba Sylla into the mix too. I also believe this explains the  4-5 minute delay in making the substitutions because apparently,frustrating & pedantically paper work has to be submitted to the 4th official first before substitutions can be allowed. However, I am totally baffled why Lambert initially played Albrighton in the middle & Sylla on the right side of midfield. Albrighton is a winger & that's where he should have been deployed & as good as Sylla is in the tackle, is positional sense & awareness in supporting Bacuna were either fragile at best or completely non existent.

 

The one thing this game highlighted is that as far as complacency goes this team is simply not good enough at present to be able to go out & win a game with that type of attitude. To get the desired result, this team needs all hands to the pump & to be firing on maximum cylinders. We now need to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down & get straight back into the breech  but with Man Utd next up that is not going to be an easy task but with this fixture being sandwiched between a fierce Manchester derby & a Champions league quarter final against Bayern Munich hopefully Utd may take their eye off the ball. A word of caution though here, Utd can easily be complacent against us & win, where as we have already demonstrated that we just simply can't. Right now, that may just prove to be the difference.

 

Finally, just as our home win against Chelsea proved to be our best display in B6 this season, I'm pretty sure few would argue that the non performance against Stoke City is easily our worst?

 

Keep The Faith!

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It did look as though we started where we left off against Chelsea.. played really well for 10 mins & then went 1-0 up... Then it was as though the players had suddenly lost their "Goal"..

 

It's like all season the "Goal" or "Target" for the season has been to stay in the Premier League and when we went 1-0 up it was as though en masse the players suddenly hit their target and didn't know what to do now.... We had beaten the League leaders the week before and all and sundry have been saying "Villa are well out of danger now" and similar and when they went 1-0 up it was almost like "Oh.... We did it.... Now what?" and they suddenly looked lost and the performance level dropped alarmingly... All Stoke did was spot this and capitalise basically.

 

Are we seeing a team here that plays brilliantly under fear & pressure but simply cannot motivate itself when the pressure is reduced and fear is replaced by expectation? This would also explain the wins against the big clubs surrounded by countless losses against the smaller clubs... Even worse against the even smaller clubs like Sheffield Utd, Millwall, Bradford etc?!

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Thanks & 110% correct briny_ear we did lose to them back in 87-88 during that promotion year. :blush: 

 

"I assume all the records mentioned are for the top flight only?" - In the case above yes rjw63. But I think that otherwise the number of league games played between us and this being our record home defeat against them is correct. I agree that we stopped playing on going in front and that just is not good enough.   

 

Thanks villa-revolution. You along with danceoftheshamen have come up with some very sound reasoning above on this game and on others. We really lack options on the bench to change things other than in the case of Albrighton  

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agree on the inability for our bench to turn things around, if needed at the moment... perhaps this is when someone like grealish could be given half an hour - nothing to lose and the freedom to play.... out of interest what has happened to the likes of tonev and helenius? that bench on sunday had no creativity at all, which showed by trying to play marc at the top of a diamond for much of it... he's a winger - play him on the wing...

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"he's a winger - play him on the wing.." I agree with that rodigan. "out of interest what has happened to the likes of tonev and helenius?" I guess they may have been considered to have failed to take the opportunity offered them to gain a starting place with us this season and now even a spot on the bench.  

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To be fair to helenius he was hardly given much opportunity, but then I think that was the plan. He's been okay when he's played and I'm sure he's been learning a lot from benteke. Id imagine he'll be very motivated next season when he gets his chance

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Yes P3te Nicklas has not had many opportunities to show what he can do at first team level but I would have expected him to have been making a strong case for first team selection at Bodymoor by now or to be at least be first choice off the bench. Given our signing of Kozak and his lack of playing time it seems Lambo may have anticipated he would have made a bigger impression himself although once we have secured safety I would hope he would get a chance or two to show what he can do for us.   

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