Jump to content

Another Rapid Europa Cup Exit!


John
 Share

Recommended Posts

It was a clear case of déjà vu last night as we were knocked out of Europe for the second successive year by the same team in front of our own fans at Villa Park. Once again we missed a penalty and fell victim of a late goal but this time they did not need the away goal rule to go through to the group stage as the late goal was followed by another just 3 minutes later.

This was unacceptable and for me Randy needs to make a decision on who is going to take this club forward before our next game as this season is rapidly getting worse. We looked for a reaction following the Newcastle debacle. What we got was 3 more goals against to make it nine in two games and the defence which last season was our strength has become our weakness. On the positive, we looked good at times and did create chances but we needed to put those chances away to extinguish Rapid’s hopes before the last quarter of the game that again did for us.

The changes made to the team last night did not help nor did the fact that players who were rested were not even sitting on the bench with a view to trying to change things if the game went wrong as it so clearly did. We lacked our usual width in the midfield early on and our centre midfield three were unable to get the grip on the game we needed to exert on it for the full 90 minutes. I have to wonder whether resting players so early into the season at the cost of a place in Europe we worked all last season for could possibly have been worth it. Doing so certainly did not get a performance when we did it before the Newcastle match and one wonders if it will this weekend. It will also cost the club money in gate receipts and television income that we would have got had the group stage not again proved beyond us. Perhaps we will play the whole of our first team when we draw Rapid next time. Who will be picking that side and when we will next get into Europe are the burning questions now as our season is under such an early threat of imploding.

My player ratings from a game that we again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory are:

Brad Guzan – 4 – Had very little to do for most of this game but then got a hand to a header from a corner on 77 minutes that was not strong enough to keep it from trickling into the net for their vital second and then dived but missed a cross 3 minutes later that was turned in to make it 3-2. I don’t think we should be leaving Brad the Elder out of cup ties and would have played him last night along with the other rested players.

Carlos Cuellar – 5 – It seems that our caretaker manager is one of the few who like Martin sees Carlos as a full back. He is solid enough but lacks the pace of a full back. He can tidy up well when things go wrong in the middle but he is only a minimal threat when we are trying to build from defence. Looked very much in need of games last night.

James Collins – 6 – His most positive contributions were in attack and he was caught on the ball late in the second half when row Z was the safe option that he chose to ignore. Headed a Young corner a couple of feet wide on 16 minutes, nodded on an Albrighton cross on 67 minutes that went a couple of feet wide and was unlucky to see a nice flick from a cross on 19 minutes blocked by a defender.

Curtis Davies – 4 – His lengthy lack of first team action showed all too clearly and he needs to do his talking on the pitch.

Habib Beye – 6 – Playing out of position. Looked good going forward but not surprisingly less so at the back where his positioning contributed to their killer goal which came from his side of the park. Also had the ball taken off him when he failed to take the safe option and this led to the cross that was nodded in on 51 minutes for their equalizer and an away goal. Headed on an Albrighton cross on 88 minutes which their keeper fumbled but luckily kept out.

Nigel Reo Coker – 6 – Unlucky to see his effort go inches wide of the post on the hour mark after Heskey’s splendid cross was deflected to him off a defender.

Stiliyan Petrov – 5 – Struck a dreadfully tame penalty too near the keeper that could have clinched the tie for us. Turned on a Young cross 5 minutes later that the keeper just managed to keep out near his post in the build up to our second.

Stephen Ireland – 6 – Another who needs games to get nearer to his best but showed some signs of getting there before others last night.

Ashley Young – 6 – Hit a nice free kick over the wall on 18 minutes that their keeper did well to get across to. Ran onto a Beye ball into the box and looked unlucky to be denied a penalty after being brought down by a heavy challenge when he had a clear scoring opportunity.

Emile Heskey – 6 – Reacted well to get his body in the way of Beye’s shot on 76 minutes and deflect the ball into the net but not so well 5 minutes earlier when he lifted the ball over the keeper and also over the bar when the ball fell to him after Petrov’s penalty which he had himself earned after being pulled back inside the box when running onto a decent ball from Reo.

Gabriel Agbonlahor – 7 – MOTM - A welcome return but worryingly went off on 39 minutes having taken a knock. Tested their keeper in the first minute after a nice early move that started with Reo just inside their half who found Heskey who in turn found Ash who threaded the ball to create the scoring opportunity that Gabby ran onto. Opened the scoring on 21 minutes when a nice ball from Petrov found Ash on the edge of the box whose dangerous ball into the box was turned in by Gabby after he had got in front of his defender.

Substitutes:

Marc Albrighton – 7 – Replaced Gabby on 41 minutes and gave a very bright display.

Nathan Delfouneso – Replaced Reo on 81 not on long enough to earn a rating.

Up the Villa!

John Lewis

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A good, balanced assessment, John.

My only quibble is with Beye's rating. True, he looked flashy going forward but, arguably, that is his secondary role. The prime purpose of a defender is to defend and he was woeful at that, as you have described. I would have him around 4 judging by by your other ratings

I don't entirely blame him, as he was playing in an unfamiliar position in a drastically rearranged back 4 who had clear difficulties in communicating and sorting out roles when under pressure. Do we really have no other cover at Left Back?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with your ratings apart from Ireland's. I would also rate him a 7 as he did as much, if not more, than Albrighton.

I'm not completely depressed as we also exited last year and it proved to be a blessing in disguise as we got to Wembley twice. Financially it's not a problem - but it's just frustrating that we went out to Rapid again!! Grrr

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes it was what Habib did up front that led to his 6 rating briny & danvandal as well as the fact that he was played out of position.

I'm not completely depressed as we also exited last year and it proved to be a blessing in disguise as we got to Wembley twice

Give me two Wembley outings again this year rob and I won't be so down either. :winkold:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Beye had an utter utter stinker. His contribution for their first goal should have been enough to see him substituted, but he still had time to give the ball away in midfield and find himself 40 yards out of position for their winner.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A fair old post John, but I'm afraid you show too much respect to the much maligned (and misunderstood?) Emile Heskey. He missed the most easy chance of the game with the penalty rebound and seemingly had a goal credited to him which deflected off his arse (or so it seemed to me).

I'm no free flowing footballer of any skill, but I would have put my house on burying that chance.

We've become shocking at the back, but STILL lack tenacity up front. Not a single striker has scored a goal for us yet. We#ve netted 4 goals, with all being scored by midfielders, including one f***er who doesn't even play with us any longer.

What happened to Gabby anyway? Was he injured again or was he taken off tacticially because we thought we had the game sewn up?

There were boos after the final whistle last night - I didn't join in, but I was mighty tempted. Another dismal result. Call me a knee-jerk if you like (anyone), but as the Stranglers sang - 'Somethin' Better Change.'

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A fair old post John, but I'm afraid you show too much respect to the much maligned (and misunderstood?) Emile Heskey. He missed the most easy chance of the game with the penalty rebound and seemingly had a goal credited to him which deflected off his arse (or so it seemed to me).

I'm no free flowing footballer of any skill, but I would have put my house on burying that chance.

We've become shocking at the back, but STILL lack tenacity up front. Not a single striker has scored a goal for us yet. We#ve netted 4 goals, with all being scored by midfielders, including one f***er who doesn't even play with us any longer.

What happened to Gabby anyway? Was he injured again or was he taken off tacticially because we thought we had the game sewn up?

There were boos after the final whistle last night - I didn't join in, but I was mighty tempted. Another dismal result. Call me a knee-jerk if you like (anyone), but as the Stranglers sang - 'Somethin' Better Change.'

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...

Are Heskey and Agbonlahor not strikers? And if you are not including Rapid Vienna x2, haven't we scored 3 goals?

:shock:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gabby went off with an injury. There was a stoppage for him for a while, when he got up from that he was signalling to the bench for a good ten minutes before the change was made.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are Heskey and Agbonlahor not strikers? And if you are not including Rapid Vienna x2, haven't we scored 3 goals?

:shock:

Oh yes - you're quite correct. Gabby's excellent reactions for our first goal last night. I'm not prepared to count Heskey's goal though. He would be cheeky to claim it!!

But yes, I will admit that our prized forward asset Gabby, did score. Like most, my initial response to John was written with rage of Hulk proportions and not necessarily containing the full facts!!

:-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...
Â