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Player Match Ratings: Villa Are Robbed!


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Villa were denied a late opportunity to twice comeback from a goal behind yesterday, after VAR reared its ugly head again. Following 90-seconds of scrutiny, someone who apparently must be obeyed at Stockley Park, decided to instruct the match referee to take another look at the penalty decision that he had given in stoppage time!

VAR very rarely fails to support a decision made by a referee and it should only do so when a clear and obvious error has occurred. Yesterday precedent was ignored by VAR. The decision to award a penalty was obviously not a clear and obvious error, as March clearly made contact with Trezeguet’s leg inside of the box. VAR therefore had no reasonable grounds to intervene or to scrutinise the referee’s decision. Having wrongly been asked to view the incident on the pitch side monitor referee Michael Oliver then took all of 20 seconds to view the incident, before failing to stand by his own original decision. He instead chose to meekly succumb to a suggestion made at Stockley Park that he was wrong to award a penalty, giving that opinion more weight and prominence than his own.     

Of course, we may have missed the penalty and by so doing not avoided our first ever defeat at Villa Park against yesterday’s visitors, but we should not have been denied an opportunity to take it! I suggested before the game that Graham Potter might need to be Harry Potter, to get Brighton a second win of the season yesterday. As it was, it was VAR that provided the magic-trick by making our late penalty disappear before our very eyes!        

Yesterday made it three consecutive home defeats for us and we have now conceded nine goals in those three games. You do not win home games, if you ship an average of three goals in every game played at Villa Park. We also do not win games unless we are at our absolute best, which we were not yesterday. Our home results are now dragging us down the table. Once again, we had an opportunity to be sitting on top of the league if we could get the right result yesterday, but we again missed the chance to reach the summit. In losing, we also threw away the three points that we had gained at Arsenal in our last game.    

Brighton did their homework on us and deserved to get something out of this very entertaining game. We really should have scored more than one goal in 90 minutes, although they too could quite easily have scored more themselves. Brighton clung onto all three points, despite the constant pressure that we put their resolute and uncompromising defence under towards the end of the game. Did VAR pip Welbeck to their MOTM award? Probably, but he really is a thorn in our side, isn’t he? He has won every game he has played against us and yesterday’s opening goal, was the fifth he has scored against us.    

My player ratings from a game that VAR rather than football, will be the talking point after are:

Emiliano Matinez – 7 – MOTM – Welbeck chipped the ball over the advancing keeper for their opening goal at the end of his unchallenged run from the half-way line, which was a product of our high press. Did very well to get out of his box and block a 24th minute Maupay shot and also beat Welbeck to a ball played into the box for him by Lamptey on 54 minutes. Stood no chance with their winner 2 minutes later, which was hit into the top left-hand corner of his net by the unmarked March, from the edge of the box.

Matty Cash – 5 – Had a fair game.

Ezri Konsa – 6 – Made a nice run and hit Traore’s 46th minute cross into the net nicely, from the edge of the 6-yard box to level the score.

Tyrone Mings – 5 – Connected with a 38th minute Grealish free-kick and the ball looped off his leg towards the goal, only for Ryan to manage to keep the ball out with his leg at his left-hand post.      

Matt Targett – 5 – Like Matty also had a reasonable game.                

John McGinn - 5 – Not quite on a par with his recent performances for us, following his exertions with Scotland. Lost the ball to Lamptey on the right after 21 minutes, but Mings got back to make a challenge on the edge of the box and McGinn was able to reclaim the ball as a result. John was not the only one to have been feeling the efforts he had made for his country during the international break.     

Douglas Luiz – 5 – Had a 55th minute shot from the edge of the box comfortably held by Ryan and hit another shot from a similar spot over the bar 3 minutes later.

Ross Barclay – Pulled a hamstring and was therefore substituted in the 5th minute, without having had the time to earn any rating. His early injury will have done for much of our pre-match planning.              

Jack Grealish – 5 – Unable to reproduce the scintillating form that he had shown in his last three England games yesterday. Hit a 27th minute shot from just outside of the left edge of the box that Ryan pushed wide of the far post for a corner. Was fortunate not to be punished when an ill judged 72nd minute back heel inside his own box was picked up by Maupay, whose shot was blocked before Welbeck hit the ball wide.   

Mahmoud Trezeguet – 6 – Worked exceptionally hard as he always does, but did not have his shooting boots on yesterday, and he squandered more than one decent scoring opportunity with off target shots. Had a 9th minute shot from a Traore free kick blocked by White and another shot from an 18th minute Grealish cross also blocked. He then reached the loose ball before hitting it wildly over the bar from about 8 yards out. Hit a 35th minute shot from just inside the left-hand side of the box, just over and then hit a ball that had fallen to him on the edge of the box harmlessly over on 87 minutes. Went down on 93 minutes when March struck his leg inside the box (slightly later than getting the slightest of touches on the ball). He may have gone down rather theatrically, but had he not, he would have been asked why he had not. if a penalty had not been given. As it was it became the penalty that never was, but it undoubtably would have been given, had it happened at Anfield or Old Trafford!                               

Ollie Watkins – 5 – If only a couple of the opportunities that fell to Trez had fallen to Ollie! Jack hit a nice 40th minute cross from the right that only needed a touch from him, but White managed to reach the ball first to prevent a certain equalizer. Hit a splendid cross into the goalmouth in the second half, but sadly nobody was there to finish the move off.

Substitutes:

Bertrand Traore – 5 - Replaced the injured Barclay after just 5 minutes, when most of us (including Conor himself, I suspect) were expecting Hourihane to do so. Hit a couple of decent dead balls, including a nicely placed one for our goal and hit a 23rd minute shot from the edge of the box that Ryan saved at the foot of his left-hand post. Hit a loose ball after 16 minutes in the middle of his own half that was picked up by Lamptey, who ran forward before squaring the ball for Welbeck, whose heavy first touch fortunately enabled Martinez to claim the ball. Seemed too ready to take the easier option of an easy short pass, rather than to make runs towards goal, take on defenders, or look to get crosses into the box on a regular basis. Has yet to show enough to justify getting a regular starting place (which for me, should be a minimum expectation for someone for whom we paid a large fee). He also did not show enough in this game to support the decision that he rather than Conor, should have been the one to come off the bench yesterday. Achieved the rare fete of being a substitute, who was himself, substituted yesterday.    

Anwar El Ghazi – 6 – Came on for Douglas on 74 minutes. Looked keen to make an impact on this occasion and did put in a couple of decent crosses.

Conor Hourihane – Replaced Traore on 75 minutes and did not show quite enough to gather a rating during the limited time he had available to do so.   

Up the Villa!

John Lewis

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Fair report John.

I did pick up on one line you made, where you said White got to the ball first in denying Ollie....it happens too often in games like this, with too many of our players.

I felt that many of their players got to the ball first as they did in the Leeds and Southampton games.

its something we need to work on moving forward, particulary at home.

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Peter Walton wrote the following about VAR in today's Times:

It is commendable that referees are going to look at their monitors. There was great clamour for referees and not the officials at Stockley Park to make the final decision and that is a huge positive. Saturday’s matches at Villa Park and Old Trafford, though, showed there is still a lot of misunderstanding about how VAR should operate.

Penalties awarded in both matches were overturned by the referees after they had been told to consult their monitors. In both cases, the incidents were hugely subjective. Why, then, were Michael Oliver and David Coote told to consult their monitors? VAR should intervene only if the referee has made a clear error. In my view, both referees should have stuck with their original decisions.

The Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Solly March got a touch of the ball but followed through heavily and caught Trézéguet, the Aston Villa forward, on the shin. Anywhere else on the pitch, that is a free kick. There was certainly not convincing evidence to show that Oliver had made a howler. Similarly, West Bromwich Albion should have had a penalty. Bruno Fernandes, the Manchester United midfielder, caught Conor Gallagher from behind before touching the ball and impeded his route to goal.

The problem is that when the VAR asks the referee to consult the monitor, they are planting a seed of doubt in his mind. Oliver and Coote will have gone to the touchline looking to identify a mistake they have made. Interestingly Graham Scott is so far the only Premier League referee not to change his mind after watching a replay.

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Sadly i do actually believe that there is "result manipulation" occuring in the Premier League and it has done so for decades. From "Fergie Time" to penalties given at some grounds (for the home teams but seldom for the opposition that is) to the new manipulation of VAR which mysteriously the Premier League use differently to other countries or indeed to how it is successfully used in say Rugby. I must admit i was in favour of technology as i thought it would catch out the result manipulaters and make the game fairer.... Little did i realise the depths to which this result tampering would sink and VAR has become nothing more than an extra tool for manipulating results. 

No coincidence that West Brom didn't get the decision at Old Trafford when Man Utd are struggling now is it!?

No surprise that a couple of weeks ago we had a perfectly good goal dissalowed at Arsenal (although were just far too good on the day & got the result anyway). Now go back a season... to when we were also denied a result at the exact same ground when one of their "goals" was Hand ball & another they had two players stood in or within a metre of our wall when the rule stated they were not supposed to be there. I could go on.... & on but i think the message is clear.

VAR is now yet another tool being used to "tailor" the Premier League in my opinion.... nothing else makes sense.

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Normally agree with your ratings john but giving cash a 5 is way off. He was brilliant on Saturday for me!

Defensively sound again but found a real attacking side to his game. His over laps with tres were a thing of beauty. 

Sometimes results shade performances but credit is still due.

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14 hours ago, Nigel said:

Normally agree with your ratings john but giving cash a 5 is way off. He was brilliant on Saturday for me!

Defensively sound again but found a real attacking side to his game. His over laps with tres were a thing of beauty. 

Sometimes results shade performances but credit is still due.

Good points, he was perhaps a 5.5 for me, rather than a 5 (fair). Very nearly a 6 (good), but not quite...;)

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