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What a difference a win makes!


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by John

Our late, late winner took us out of the bottom six, increased an already healthy gap between us and the relegation places and made the gap between us and sixth the same as is the gap between us and 18th. Onwards and upwards then?

Three substitutes combined to give us our first home win for four long months yesterday. The usual chorus of “you don’t know what you’re doing” greeted the first of these three substitutions. But it was that player whose first goal for Villa changed what might otherwise have been boos to cheers at the end of a game that we really needed to win. Big Eck might claim these were inspired substitutions the result of which demonstrated that he did actually know what he was doing after all. But that is a claim for him to make and I doubt that in the present climate he will, but no matter, the roar of the fans that still remained in the ground when that ball hit the net was a joy to behold and how long it has been since we have had the opportunity to celebrate a win, a goal and even better a late winner at Villa Park? Let’s now go wild and do it again Tuesday week and by doing so make our safety all but mathematically certain.

We had a decent first half given our recent standards at Villa Park and given the lions share of the half that we had Fulham must have been as relieved to have been still level at the break as they were disappointed to still not be at the final whistle. I was surprised that Fulham were so lacking in ambition given the run they were on and that played into our hands during the first 45 minutes and gave us time to settle. In the second half they did spring to life and did for a while look the more likely side to win it. But we kept at it until the death and those three young lions combined to do for them right at the end of what had been a better game than many of us had expected and one that I think we had the better of and so deserved to win.

My player ratings from a game that has left us 11 points clear of the bottom 3 are:

Shay Given – 6 – A quiet day at the office but he was on hand to do what was required when necessary stopping a Johnson shot creeping in at his near post on 31 minutes and helping a Duff effort over the bar on 53 minutes.

Alan Hutton - 7 – His best game for us in our shirt. A very solid defensive display and did not look out of place when he came forward.

James Collins – 6 – Not put under too much pressure but he was competent enough yesterday alongside Carlos and did well to chest a corner down on 18 minutes that he then hit wide.

Carlos Cuellar– 7 – The best of our back four for me yesterday and since his return to the starting line up to the extent that the loss of Dunne has not been felt as much as I had anticipated it would be (as yet).

Stephen Warnock – 6 – No costly defensive error today. Stephen just looked solid defensively when he was tested.

Marc Albrighton – 6 – Looked better for us than he has done of late and made some decent runs at defenders if not always producing an end product. Unlucky to see his effort from just inside the box rattle the woodwork on 61 minutes after Gabby had fed Hutton who then himself did the same for Marc to set up the shooting opportunity. Faded a little as the game wore on.

Stephen Ireland – 7 – His rehabilitation continues apace and after this sort of performance he needs to start every game between now and the end of the season and we might then have this player back at his confident best and pushed further up where his touch is most effective.

Chris Herd – 8 – MOTM – Worked very hard and he is beginning to look more accomplished in our midfield than he has a right to be as someone who is primarily a defender.

Stiliyan Petrov – 6 – Solid enough and kept possession well but he will get more by encouraging young players around him than blaming them when something goes wrong.

Charles N’Zogbia – 6 – Seemed to be getting a second wind when he was replaced and he was our main wide threat up until then.

Gabriel Agbonlahor - 5 – Given a lot of work to do as a lone striker but he seems to lack sharpness on his return from injury which I have put down to his not being match fit to date. Given a very good opportunity on 17 minutes when Petrov pounced on a Murphy error to put the ball into his path but his shot was straight at Schwarzer.

Substitutes:

Andreas Weimann – 7 - Replaced N’Zogbia on 72 minutes and gave us the vital winner in stoppage time after Bannan had fed Gardner whose shot from the edge of the box was parried out towards Andreas whose diving header was well stopped by the keeper’s left hand but Weimann was not to be denied and his forward impetus led him to bundle the ball in with some aplomb when unbalanced but determined. His was a poacher’s goal. He took the chance that something might happen and something did when he pounced on the goalkeeping error.

Barry Bannan – Came off the bench to replace Herd on 82 minutes and had a hand in the goal but was not on long enough to secure a rating.

Gary Gardner – Replaced our captain on 90 minutes and showed what a player he is in the making with his very first touch when he pinged a great ball from one side of the field to another before his late shot led to a mistake by Schwarzer and our winner. Not enough touches to gain a numerical rating but this brief cameo demonstrated that he has the talent to win games for us and this will be the first of many.

Up the Villa!

John Lewis

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by JohnThe usual chorus of “you don’t know what you’re doing” greeted the first of these three substitutions. But it was that player whose first goal for Villa changed what might otherwise have been boos to cheers at the end of a game that we really needed to win. Big Eck might claim these were inspired substitutions the result of which demonstrated that he did actually know what he was doing after all. But that is a claim for him to make and I doubt that in the present climate he will, but no matter,

He has made that claim I believe. However, we all know that the chorus was not for the bringing on of Weiman for the removal, again, of the player that you describe as "our main wide threat up until then" which just didn't make sense when Albie was not really delivering again and Gabby was so poor.

McTool then proceeded to bring of your MOTM - many would agree - ignoring the very tired Stan and creating a very lightweight CM pairing. He seems to think you just need to put attacking players on to the pitch to play an attacking style, as witnessed by his comments after selecting Emile earlier in the season, and has little regard for the balance of the team.

I would like to have seen us finishing with:

--------------- Herd --- Gardner ---------------

Bannan ------------ SI ---------------- the Zog

-------------------- Andy ------------------------

I agree with most of your comments re players and in particular re Cuellar who has now finally proven, hopefully to all, that he is our best and most dependable defender.

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What a load of bollocke.............inspired substutions ?!

You dont bring subs on in the 82nd and 90th minute to change a game

He was just lucky

exactly, if you want subs to change a game you bring them on with 30 mins left not 8 !!!

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He has made that claim I believe

Really BB's? :o I also agree with the observations you have made on our substitutions as Marc and Petrov had looked more obvious targets to make room for our match winner and Barry.

What a load of bollocke.............inspired substutions ?!

My tongue was a tad in my cheek PussEKat & KHV. :winkold:

Gabby and Petrov very generous ratings. Hutton 8 or 9 for me, Herd very impressive too

I gave Gabby the the benefit of the doubt on balance due to the fact that he might not yet be quite match fit and our options had been limited striker wise but Hutton was not an 8 or 9 for me theunderstudy but it is a matter of opinion and your own is as valid as mine and thanks for giving it.

He was just lucky

As Richard has put it so well on that:

Mcleish was lucky, Villa were lucky but by god I'd rather that than a loss given our position

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Mcleish was lucky, Villa were lucky but by god I'd rather that than a loss given our position

Fulham just cant perform well away from home

Oh and Mcleish and Lerner OUT

There is nothing to worry about this term.

Wigan are near enough to out already,Bolton are crap ( I watched them last week at home ) and QPR havent got a hope in hell given their fixture list :D

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Ah Puss don't talk too soon.

I won't be breathing any easier unless we take all 3 points from Bolton next week.

We've got tough tough fixtures ourselves after that one.

I agree we were very fortunate to win in the 93rd against Fulham, but dare I say we were due a bit of luck.

It kind of counts for nothing though if Bolton come and turn us over. A lot of people calling for Weimann to start the next one. I'd probably be tempted to go with..

Given

Hutton Cuellar Collins Warnock

Albrighton Herd Petrov N'Zogbia

Ireland

Agobonlahor

again just to try and find a bit of rhythm and consistently, but definitely bring Weimann on earlier this time if we're in a 0-0 or worse situation.

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I hardly think we were lucky, considering we battered them at times

Indeed. Great and deserved win against a team in form and above us. More of the same please Large Eck. :thumb:

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Quick observations, Good result, good performance, Herd is unrecognisable from last season and was Man of Match,

Hutton and Cuellar played well. We must keep King Carlos, always liked him. Gabby doesn't look match fit. Superior goal difference means we are effectively an

extra point from relegation area, but we are ok anyway. Ones for the future hopefully Gardener, Herd, Weimann, jury still out for me on Barry.

Would like to see Lichaj introduced during the run in also.

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Ah Puss don't talk too soon.

I won't be breathing any easier unless we take all 3 points from Bolton next week.

We've got tough tough fixtures ourselves after that one.

I agree we were very fortunate to win in the 93rd against Fulham, but dare I say we were due a bit of luck.

It kind of counts for nothing though if Bolton come and turn us over. A lot of people calling for Weimann to start the next one. I'd probably be tempted to go with..

Given

Hutton Cuellar Collins Warnock

Albrighton Herd Petrov N'Zogbia

Ireland

Agobonlahor

again just to try and find a bit of rhythm and consistently, but definitely bring Weimann on earlier this time if we're in a 0-0 or worse situation.

If you look at it from another angle.

Wigan are really down already..just waiting for the mathematics

QPR have the worst fixture list of anyone at the bottom

Wolves are not doing great and under their new manager look worse off

Bolton, I saw them last week and they are crap

I am sure that this season we will not need 40 points to stay up and I would say that we are safe already.

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On the substitutions, face it guys, it was Big Eck 10 fans 0 on the judgement front. When you sing to a manager, "You don't know what you're doing" there is always the risk I suppose that all 3 subs will combine to create an excellent winning goal and leave you with egg on your faces. :D

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On the substitutions, face it guys, it was Big Eck 10 fans 0 on the judgement front. When you sing to a manager, "You don't know what you're doing" there is always the risk I suppose that all 3 subs will combine to create an excellent winning goal and leave you with egg on your faces. :D

Sorry but that's a load of rubbish, even a broken clock is right twice a day!

And no-one is moaning about the three lads coming on - it is about the lads that he is taking off being the wrong ones and the substitutions being too late.

Who knows what the score could have been if we had been playing with Herd and Gardner behind Bannan, SI and Zog with Wieman in front of them for the last 20 minutes?

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When a manager makes tactical substitutions it is usually to change the shape of play, and that does not necessarily mean taking off players who are perceived by the fans to be performing badly. Bringing on Weimann and taking off our only out and out winger would have been a bit dumb and also what we needed towards the end was effort - not something N'Zogbia was giving too much of.

When fans boo substitutions in this way they often expose their own naivety and lack of understanding of the tactics the manager is trying.

I don't really care about complete speculation about what the score could have been if N'Zogbia had stayed on.

The fact is that the subs were made, they worked and we won. Credit has to go to McLeish for that however painful some fans might find it.

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To mention McTool and tactics in the same post seems a bit extreme.

IMO, the only naivety I can see in this thread is someone crediting McLeish with tactical awareness.

You claim that to bring Weimann on without an out and out winger would have been dumb yet the goal came from Bannan being out wide and passing in field annd allowing Gardner to get a shot off. No Albrighton or "out and out winger involved in that.

But its nice to see that rather than expressing this as your opinion you rubbish the view of what I would guess as a large majority of your fellow Villa fans as naive whilst you, McTool and a few others have a significantly deeper technical and tactical awareness. Good luck on that one - it takes a brave man to side with McTool on tactics from what I have seen over the past six months and his career at SHA.

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IMO, the only naivety I can see in this thread is someone crediting McLeish with tactical awareness.

Well, it's good of you to reveal your blind spot/prejudice with such clarity.

That seems to put an end to the prospect of any reasonable discussion .

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IMO, the only naivety I can see in this thread is someone crediting McLeish with tactical awareness.

Well, it's good of you to reveal your blind spot/prejudice with such clarity.

That seems to put an end to the prospect of any reasonable discussion .

Pot, kettle, black! :winkold:

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