Jump to content

Relegation Form!


blandy
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • Moderator

by John Lewis

Three points to hungry Wolves, who had waited for 31 years to win a local derby against us. They could not have envisaged that it would have been quite as easy as it proved yesterday against our defenceless, clueless, toothless and careless lions.

Well that fortnight off and team building break of Paintball and liquid intake really did a lot for our team spirit! What would be our players reaction to reports of alcohol fuelled disagreement between players and officials? Would our team man up and go out to show a united front and thus banish our relegation fears? We now know the answer was with apathy and our players are not immune from criticism for not putting in a shift no matter what the circumstances behind the scenes in what seems a lost and uninspired dressing room.

It was third time lucky for the visitors when Jarvis hit the winner on 38 minutes as by then the ball had already found itself in our net twice. Berra had been just offside on 21 minutes and Jarvis’s cross 8 minutes later had been deflected over the line before it arched back into play and Doyle headed it in at the far post. But, these warning signs were not heeded and our make shift defence which was ravaged by suspension and injury really looked rocky whenever Wolves moved forwards.

That was an embarrassing, humiliating debacle of a display that sends a chill down the back. Wolves have a brittle if uncompromising defence that has conceded only 2 goals less than us this season. But in gaining their second away win of the season and in achieving a rare clean sheet they were not put under any sustained pressure by us. There is no doubt that the best team on the day won and deservedly so. But, that team are in the bottom three and this was a 6 pointer that they did not have to break sweat to win. It was also one of the games that we had most looked likely on paper to get some of the 7 points I had thought we would need before yesterday to stay up. But now with only three points separating the bottom 8 and with us sitting perilously just one point ahead of Wolves who occupy the third of the 3 relegation spots this morning I suspect we may need 9 rather than 7 points to be sure of staying up.

Three weeks ago after we had dispatched our fellow relegation threatened Blackburn by running up 4 goals against them and our safety had looked all but assured. There were after all winnable games coming up. Two defeats later things have changed, some of the sides around us are getting results that they would have not expecting to get points from such as Wolves and WBA yesterday where we are losing games that we would have hoped if not expected to have taken points from. We have now most definitely been dragged back into the relegation mire.

What have seemed winnable games up until now will quickly run out and another 8 performances like this one will see us relegated. Wolves showed yesterday that they will roll up their sleeves and fight to stay up. Although I must agree with there fans who were singing “going down” after the game as most likely they still will!

Have we got it in us to fight tooth and nail for our safety and do we really want to be going into our last two games of the season against Arsenal and Liverpool needing points to stay up? If that did happen do we really think we could secure those points and handle the pressure we are unlike more regular bottom dwellers unaccustomed to?

My player ratings from a game that has left us staring into the abyss are:

Brad Friedel – 6 – Caught flat footed when Jarvis pulled the trigger on 38 minutes and hit the ball into the corner of our net for the goal that settled this derby. Made a couple of decent stops on 2 and 9 minutes at his near post from Milijas and Hammill respectively and then pushed away a good shot from long range from Milijas on 68 minutes.

Kyle Walker - 6 – MOTM – Our most effective defender on a day when defending was not our forte and he faced the lively Jarvis. As always Kyle looked useful when coming forward.

Carlos Cuellar – 5 – Looks rusty. Ballooned the ball over the bar on 80 minutes when Pirès had cushioned a header back for him to hit from a Delph cross and it was his weak header that led to the ball dropping to Jarvis for their winner. Carlos did not produce a commanding display or lead the defence by example as might have been hoped for from our most experienced defender on the day. But, Bobby Moore would have struggled to impress if playing alongside this defence in the formation that they began the game.

Chris Herd – 5 – Risked being caught in possession when trying to play the ball out in risky situations but he was an inexperienced midfield player who was being asked to play in the centre of our defence. Did as well as could have been expected in this strange role he was asked for some reason to perform in.

Nathan Baker- 5 – Withdrawn after just 33 minutes having found Hammill a handful which can have done nothing for this youngster’s future development. Surely given we were missing a central defender it would have been better for him and for us to have played him in what would be a more natural position for him alongside Carlos rather than out wide where he not unpredictably found it hard to cope. It was asking a hell of a lot for so young a player to smoothly slot into this unaccustomed position and the result was not unexpected.

Marc Albrighton – 6 – Some decent crosses and was unlucky to be one of the players that made way for our two substitutes on 61 minutes.

Nigel Reo Coker – 5 – Not near his competitive best yesterday and I would have looked to the experience of Petrov when he was replaced on 61 minutes to try to get something from this team.

Jean Makoun – 5 – Headed a well measured cross from Downing three yards wide from seven yards out when presented with a free header that looked like it would produce a timely equalizer. Hit a nice ball through to Ash that led to the bar being called into action. Not as effective as he was prior to suspension.

Stewart Downing – 6 – A purple patch late in the first half produced some dangerous crosses but kept in check by their defence for much of this game. Hit two low volleys from inside of the box either side of the break that struck players when they had looked like they might just be on target.

Ashley Young - 5 – Rattled the crossbar with a fierce strike on 78 minutes and had a shot on the turn gathered by Hennessey 5 minutes earlier. Lucky to have still been on the field and not facing another suspension when petulant late challenges on O’Hara and Foley might have merited more than one yellow. But this was not the performance of either an England international or a captain or of the Ashley Young who once terrorised defences playing out wide. I wonder if as it seems he will want to leave in the summer no matter what we might do to try and accommodate him up until then whether we should look to play him out wide where he performs at his best so that what may be his parting gift would be our safety. But, although playing him where he now is does accommodate Marc it also excludes Gabby so the decision may not be as straightforward as it seems.

Darren Bent – 5 – Unlucky not to have got a penalty when he was brought down just inside the box in the second half but referee Dowd gave a free kick on the edge of the box which came to nothing and an already booked Stearman escaped what might have been a red card. On decisions like these matches turn as a converted penalty and facing a possible ten men might just have awoken us from our slumbers. Darren needs service to produce goals. Yesterday he was starved of service.

Substitutes:

Fabian Delph – 6 - Replaced Baker on 33 minutes to fill the position he should have started the game in. Did well enough in this unfamiliar role that he has adapted to pretty well.

Robert Pirès – 5 – It looked like it would be difficult for a luxury player like Robert to come on and make a telling impression on a game like this that we had made no real impression on up until then and so it proved when he replaced Reo on 61 minutes.

Gabby Agbonlahor – 5 - Replaced Marc on 61 minutes and once again made little impression when playing out wide. Was he not once an England striker and surely if we were going for a goal would it not have been an idea to play him where he would be more likely to do some damage? This cunning plan of playing him as a line hugging winger is more turnip like than a master stroke and has left the player confused and inept.

Stay up the Villa!

John Lewis

Link to comment
Share on other sites

by John Lewis

Gabby Agbonlahor ... Was he not once an England striker and surely if we were going for a goal would it not have been an idea to play him where he would be more likely to do some damage? This cunning plan of playing him as a line hugging winger is more turnip like than a master stroke and has left the player confused and inept.

Bang on sir. Him and Bent up front in a 4-4-2 when we're at home from now on please.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Him and Bent up front in a 4-4-2 when we're at home from now on please

I'm with you JPA18 it has to be worth another look but I suspect our manager will not go that way as he seems reluctant to change his mind once it is has been made up as Warnock's absence whatever our player shortage has been has demonstrated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry gang, I'm not going to be saying anything of use, plenty of you have given excellent opinions that I can't top.

All I want to throw in is that this is the worst season I've experienced as a supporter. Before we declined gradually, but going from missing out on champions league to now fighting wigan for a place in the premiership is sickening.

We finally bought the striker we needed (after three seasons of begging!) and now a fat retiring has-been is cashing his checks and having a good giggle at how rubbish we are.

GET THE HOU OUT.

Our form on Saturday was an utter joke, the teams selection baffles me. I keep waking up in the middle of the night to hear GH explain that the defense is poor because of MON, and that he will "address it next season"... what.. when we're lining up to play Doncaster away. Get out. Get out. Get out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All I want to throw in is that this is the worst season I've experienced as a supporter. Before we declined gradually, but going from missing out on champions league to now fighting wigan for a place in the premiership is sickening

It is a very bitter pill to swallow spoonman and it has come as a shock although so did 86-87 so soon after our glory seasons and going back even further I did not see 69-70 coming at the start of that season. There are highs and lows as a Villa fan and I had not thought we could sink this low again so soon but we have the time to turn it around and the players to make it happen as England's second goal today shows. But I wish I could feel more confident about us doing it as things stand.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...
Â