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Ratings and reactions: Sunderland 2-2 Villa


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Who was your man of the match?  

96 members have voted

  1. 1. Who was your man of the match?

    • Given
      1
    • Hutton
      0
    • Warnock
      6
    • Dunne
      1
    • Collins
      1
    • N'Zogbia
      3
    • Petrov
      45
    • Herd
      13
    • Bent
      0
    • Agbonlahor
      24
    • Heskey
      1
    • Albrighton (for N'Zogbia 87)
      1


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People have a go at our defence but it has improved on last year
Has it? Doesn't seem to have changed to me.

Yes, last year our defence was appalling with Collins and Dunne for 'internal' reasons but it's fair to say both are a lot better this year than last, Dunne especially. Warnock is also back in the team. If we hadn't let go of L Young and brought in Hutton it'd be WAY better.

It's too simple to blame the defence for everything (although they have blame don't get me wrong) but the difference is they are having to stand much longer periods of attack from the opposition because our midfield can't hold the ball, defend and offer no outlet. Relentless pressure will get to the best defences.

Our defence isn't great yet (HUTTON!!) but it definitely is better than last year.

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Given - 5.5

Not much he can do about the goals and he came out for crosses better than I thought he has in previous games. Could have done better with the first goal but not much can be blamed on him.

Hutton - 3.5

At fault for the first goal for lazily wandering up and completely whiffing on the tackle. He takes far too long to close down the defenders, doesn't get tight enough, and is constantly out of position. It's compounded by the fact that he's second to almost every ball and looks to be outpaced by everyone.

He gets forward enough and gets in good positions but it means nothing when his delivery has been shameful to say the least. Honestly needs a benching to at least get his head straight.

Collins - 4

Good on him for his goal, but it was mostly a moment of right place/right time more than anything. Consistently steps up too far and causes too many gaps behind him. At this point, I don't think anything can be done with that. He was committed, but was constantly a kamikaze of flying arms/legs every time he was near an opponent.

I put my head down whenever he winds up for a hoof. The poor delivery is one thing, but the compulsion to hoof when there are other options readily present is beyond understandable. He's not the worse defender in the world, but he's limited and with a few available options for the bench, I wouldn't miss him too much from the team sheet.

Dunne - 6

Applied himself well and was again the calmer player in the partnership. Perhaps could have done better with the second goal, but our set piece problems extend beyond Dunne. His distribution was decent and was not the punting machine that Collins was. He was also isolated a few times out on the wing but stood his ground and carried himself well.

Warnock - 6

Though he played a good game bar one stray pass in the second half. Was calm on the ball and though it's likely he will be dispossessed at some point in the season, he seems far more concerned with keeping it on the ground and passing it to someone's feet. Stays on his feet more instead of clumsily lunging in and perhaps his season away taught him a lot of lessons. Is obviously the better of the two fullbacks right now.

Petrov - 7.5 MOTM

It's a testament to our lack of options when Petrov is our main set piece taker. Points for his wonderfully taken goal and good delivery on his set piece. He looked really buoyed by his goal in the first half and was getting about well. Disappeared as we lost the ball in the second half, but made it count when we needed it.

Like Collins, he's a limited player, but should stay on the team sheet for a lack of options than anything else. Hopeful he can keep his run of form.

Herd - 7

Great display by the youngster. Took on any takers and tackled well. One of the few games where we weren't constantly carved down the middle and is definitely one of the first names on the team sheet for me. He's much more of a water carrier when he's on the ball, but with his defensive effort and efficiency, he's a perfect fit for a DM role.

Gabby - 6.5

Not a winger, but does his best to continue being an impact player. Covered Warnock very well and did his best when he could get forward. His pace was a problem for all of the Sunderland defenders, but his final ball was lacking. Lovely play in the box late in the second half that gifted Bent with his only clear cut chance. Gabby also distributed the ball well and gets points for getting into the punk Larsson.

All that said that, he needs to play up front. He can put in the odd good cross, but he's much more dangerous and can create more chances for Bent when he's higher up the pitch. His contributions defensively and adaptability going forward means he can be deployed on the wing, but it's not where we can get the most value of him.

Heskey - 3

I'll try not to let the rant go too long, but the frailty in our set pieces aren't going to be solved by Heskey. Slow is a kind word to describe his pace today and a bit off is much too kind to say about his touch. Perhaps Eck really believes in his contributions defensively, but his shambolic efforts on the attacking front can't simply be overlooked just because he's a tall fella. His name on the team sheet signals a concession to draw rather than an effort to win and I will never be behind that.

N'Zogbia - 5

I know, it looks to be his best game in a Villa shirt, but it still wasn't enough. Perhaps I'm being too harsh on him, but despite his efforts to get into the box, he was far too predictable. His inability to deliver a meaningful cross means he needs to cut it back every single time for a shot and it makes him a one note player. Several times he get into the edge of the area in the game, only to cut it back and either a) lose the ball or B) sky it over the bar.

He looked promising, but still got shoved far too easily off the ball and didn't take his chances when he had them in bulk in the first half. He's not a natural winger and his lack of delivery limits him when he receives the ball out on the wing.

Bent - 4.5

His rating highlights our lack of chances more than anything. Yes, he missed his sitter. He should have put it away but it wasn't his worse miss in the world. The fact is that the way he plays always puts him as either the scapegoat or the hero. His frustration and irritation must be growing each game as the appalling lack of chances mount. It is not a coincidence that he scored in relative abundance when we had the playmakers to put him in front of the net, but he will not make every, single chance he gets. He'll score his fair share of goals because he has an eye for it but he's in a poor run of form and he's not getting enough chances right now and it's going to hurt both us and him.

Albrighton - Not on long enough

Eck - 3

It wasn't our worse game of the season, but at this point, it's evident we are just midtable fodder. We will lose most of the games we should lose, draw some of the games we should win, and win the games needed to keep us out of relegation.

He has shown good progression in trying to understand the team and who fits well in what pieces, but the inclusion of Heskey in the line-up just signals an effort to not lose games, instead of trying to win them. It's a rhetoric that just invites pressure and doesn't let Villa take the game to an opponent like they should. He can't find a way to comfortably get Gabby, Bent, and N'Zog all on the same sheet without someone being out of position and needs the balls to drop one of the names.

Surely he can also see that Hutton is chronically under performing to say the least and that Collins is a limited player who is more likely to have more bad days than good days. The game was calling out for a change in the second half, but Eck was so desperate to not concede from a set piece that he kept Heskey on in favor of going out there and trying to win the game. Look where that got us.

Despite the scoreline, it goes down as one of his most disappointingly managed games of the season. Perhaps, on the back of two losses, he was more inclined to see us shore up our defenses but nothing about his management speaks for a need to win. Our players are cautious, not confident. Apprehensive instead of creative.

It's that type of mentality that will hold us back far more than Heskey can ever do.

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People have a go at our defence but it has improved on last year
Has it? Doesn't seem to have changed to me.

Yes, last year our defence was appalling with Collins and Dunne for 'internal' reasons but it's fair to say both are a lot better this year than last, Dunne especially. Warnock is also back in the team. If we hadn't let go of L Young and brought in Hutton it'd be WAY better.

It's too simple to blame the defence for everything (although they have blame don't get me wrong) but the difference is they are having to stand much longer periods of attack from the opposition because our midfield can't hold the ball, defend and offer no outlet. Relentless pressure will get to the best defences.

Our defence isn't great yet (HUTTON!!) but it definitely is better than last year.

If we carry on like this I expect we'll concede just as many if not more than last season. I really don't see how you can think the defence has improved?
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  • VT Supporter

Hugely frustrating to give away yet another lead in the oh so predictable manner that we did. Sunderland are a poor team and we did deserve to be taking three points - perhaps we would have had Darren Bent put his chance away???

Having said all that, many on the match thread predicted a loss, so surely they should be applauding the team for exceeding their expectations? :winkold:

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For all the criticisms, I don't see people offering alternatives to Heskey's current role in the team. Shall we play a chronically out of form Ireland or wait for Jenas to get fit and gamble?

Playing Heskey in his favoured position rarely sees him producing good performances. Playing him out of position, as we have so far done under McLeish, is resulting in displays of technical ineptitude I didn't think were possible at this level.

He is so visibly uncomfortable on the ball, capable only of the shortest, simplest passes (and his inability to even get one of these right today led to Sunderland's first equaliser), cannot cross, cannot shoot. His only asset is his brute force which occasionally assists from a defensive point of view - and no doubt is why McLeish is so keen to keep him in the team - but for large portions of matches, we carry him.

There were alternatives for midfield today, and all would've been preferable to Heskey. Delph could've been used in the centre, we could have started Albrighton in a straight 4-4-2 and pushed Agbonlahor up front from the outset, Ireland could've been given another chance as Heskey currently occupies his favoured posiion (and, yes, I agree he has not done enough when selected, but no more or less than Emile), even Ciaran Clark aquits himself perfectly well when asked to play in midfield. All are better footballers than Heskey so I would personally prefer to see any of them selected ahead of him.

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People have a go at our defence but it has improved on last year
Has it? Doesn't seem to have changed to me.

Yes, last year our defence was appalling with Collins and Dunne for 'internal' reasons but it's fair to say both are a lot better this year than last, Dunne especially. Warnock is also back in the team. If we hadn't let go of L Young and brought in Hutton it'd be WAY better.

It's too simple to blame the defence for everything (although they have blame don't get me wrong) but the difference is they are having to stand much longer periods of attack from the opposition because our midfield can't hold the ball, defend and offer no outlet. Relentless pressure will get to the best defences.

Our defence isn't great yet (HUTTON!!) but it definitely is better than last year.

If we carry on like this I expect we'll concede just as many if not more than last season. I really don't see how you can think the defence has improved?

Are we getting crossed wires? When I talk about defence I talk about the four at the back, as a TEAM our defence is currently worse I'll agree.

What I'm saying is that whilst our back three (HUTTON!) have improved our midfield has dropped so significantly that it makes the TEAM worse defensively.

You're probably right - we will probably let in more this season, purely because there is no outlet and teams can attack us at will because our midfield is hopeless.

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Its a far cry from the type of football Houllier was building at the club.

well we still can't defend set pieces

Yes but the difference being, Houllier knew this and was looking to address the situation in the Summer. But im very concerned at just the way we play football in general..We cant string together more than 3 passes as a team..We give the ball away far too cheaply (Heskey, for their goal)... The opposition goalkeeper no matter who we play, never seems to be all that busy. Its so poor and frustrating to watch.

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Its a far cry from the type of football Houllier was building at the club.
That's about the only thing to be thankful for. IIRC, Hoiullier delivered us two 0-1 defeats against Sunderland last season.
Not saying Houllier was some great manager, but I really don't see how we can be thankful that Houllier is gone and McLeish is in because so far we haven't imrpoved at all.
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I dont look at Houllier's reign at the club as comparing results this season to last season...Yet more, could you see signs of improving as a club under his leadership? And the answer is yes we did start to improve and grow, you could see us becoming a better footballing side. Yet under McLeish I see no improvements at all, week after week we just look and play the same. Our football is not improving at all under his management and what we see now, we will still be seeing this time next season.

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