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No Christmas Cheer!


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by John

Our second successive home December defeat was sealed by Liverpool’s second goal which ended the game as a contest in just 15 minutes. A Villa outfit without Gabby and Bent never looked likely to trouble their solid defence and we were fortunate that they did not increase the margin of our defeat in the remaining 75 minutes.

We have had problems with set pieces throughout the season and it was perhaps no real surprise that this problem was exposed twice again today and ultimately proved to be our undoing. On another day a Liverpool team that has had a habit of hitting the woodwork this season that continued to our advantage today might have inflicted a much heavier defeat on us than 2-0. But, without our two main strikers we posed no threat of pulling even one goal back and the anticipated defeat did come to pass.

We had quite a bit of the game but to be honest we were always second best. Our present squad cannot cope with injuries and suspensions of the type we faced today and still be expected to mount a realistic challenge to the likes of the top 6 even on our own patch. That is how far our expectation levels have been lowered in just 18 short months. But selling 4 England Internationals and buying one would be expected to have produced that end product.

Liverpool having got the 2-goal cushion soon became aware that they could drop down a gear or two as the game wore on without putting a threat on their leaving with the 3 points that they came for and that were wrapped up with a red ribbon within a quarter of an hour. For me if this Villa team had not come into the game expecting to be beaten and I suspect that was at the very least in the back of their mind, then they all too readily accepted their fate when one and then another goal went into our net. There was no sign of a fight back and the game was tamely played out to its conclusion.

My player ratings from a game that left us still clinging to a top 10 place but now 10 points behind our opponents and facing another very difficult home game in 3 days are:

Brad Guzan – 6 – Did well to push out a swerving goal bound Johnson shot on 51 minutes and then did well to parry away a near post shot by Shelvey on the hour.

Alan Hutton - 5 – The time has come for him to now step up to the plate and to show that he can strengthen this defence. He has looked a little more solid of late but needs to show more than this at the back, when coming forward and to act as a leader given the experience he has at club and international level.

James Collins – 5 – Bellamy was much quicker to react to the loose ball from Judas’ corner on 10 minutes and was allowed to prod home the vital opener all too easily. Some way off the level of performance he gave us when he first joined us and that made him a starter with Wales.

Richard Dunne – 5 – Lost his man when Skrtel drifted away from him and rose in front of Hutton to head home their second on 15 minutes. He like the rest of our defence has had better days.

Stephen Warnock - 6 – An odd loose pass but worked hard and was for me just about our most effective defender.

Marc Albrighton – 6 – A couple of decent crosses but this was not quite as encouraging as his last outing and he needs to show more in a game like this that he gets a start in to ensure he gets the run of games he needs.

Stiliyan Petrov – 6 – Tried to make things happen but was missing the tools to do the job in front of him and missed Herd being alongside him.

Fabian Delph – 5 – Had a shot deflected for a corner on 58 minutes and looked OK when on the ball although he persists in losing possession too often and in hitting the odd loose ball or three which is not acceptable at this level.

Emile Heskey – 5 – Albrighton hit a sweet cross to him on 8 minutes but he had drifted a yard offside before heading the ball straight at their under worked keeper. Not his best display either as a striker or a midfield maestro for us today.

Charles N’Zogbia – 7 – MOTM – Hit a good rising effort on 21 minutes that was around a couple of feet over the bar and 2 minutes later having been fed by Delfouneso his first touch took him wider than he would have wanted but he still hit a decent shot from the edge of the box that found the side netting. On a day when we offered limited threat if any it was he that offered it.

Nathan Delfouneso– 5 – Started well enough but tended to stray offside as the game wore on and needs to show more energy when getting a starting opportunity like this one. He was off target with a header from an Albrighton cross on the half hour that he got underneath which had represented our best opportunity of the game.

Substitutes:

Barry Bannan – 6 – Should have started for me. Replaced Emile on 57 minutes and made a good impression in what time he had in our midfield albeit against a Liverpool outfit that by then were just running down the clock.

Andreas Weimann – Replaced Delph on 80 minutes. But was not on long enough to earn a rating.

Up the Villa!

John Lewis

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Hutton !!! Surely minus 5 the worst right back I have seen in a Villa shirt for a very long time, replace him with Chris Herd (I know this was not possible today, but for Arsenal game if Herdy is OK straight in).

Warnock minus 5 again for a player who earned an England call up not so long ago absolutely abysmal performance today. Schoolboy errors throughout. wayward passes, diving into tackles, lack of positioning, I could go on.

The Fonz just not got it for Premier level big shame he has had so many chances and not taken them so just does not have the quality at this level.

I would have to say Guzan was my man of the match.

I felt we had three players maximum who turned up Heskey, Dunne & Guzan

Randy is standing on a level crossing with an express train fast approaching he has 13 days to make some very big decisions.

I,m Villa till I die but today nearly broke me, such an inept performance. But I,ll be back Wednesday confident that we can do The Arse. Up The Villa

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John, why mention the missing attackers in your opening para ... more like missing defenders surely? :-)

just to relieve the somnambulistic state of affairs that now exists at VP whilst Bent is out shopping,here's the bloody intro of to-day's 'Independent' report on the match...

Just before the kick-off, those two Scottish warriors, Kenny Dalglish and Alex McLeish, embraced and the Liverpool manager flashed his counterpart an assassin's smile. By the time a quarter of an hour had passed, Aston Villa's throat had been cut.

It went on to say: "In everything bar the scoreline this was a massacre."

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"In everything bar the scoreline this was a massacre."

I have to agree John.

That's putting it nicely to say the least

It is the season of goodwill to all dudevillaisnice and Santa works those (D)elphs hard at this time of year! :winkold:

Randy is standing on a level crossing with an express train fast approaching he has 13 days to make some very big decisions

Sadly I think he may have already made his decisions and we may not like them WallheathLions. I do not give minus points but take your point and if Herd was not so valuable in the middle I think he would be making a big push for the full back role as surely must Clark for a central spot in our defence.

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