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Player Match Ratings – A humiliating and embarrassing exit!


John
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Things had looked so promising during a first half that we had dominated but we just cannot stop conceding goals from set pieces and that along with our inability to play as well for a full 90 minutes as we can sometimes do for 45 did for us again last night.

What more could we have asked for? We faced a semi-final over two legs against a team that are currently 3 divisions below us. That was all that had stood between us and what might have been a Wembley Cup Final against one of the few teams that have not beaten us to date this season. But it was the Bantams who were celebrating in the away dressing room after last night’s game and their fans who were celebrating in the stands as Villa fans and players alike squirmed after what I suggest must rate as our worst ever cup exit.

We fans did our bit last night and the players gave a splendid first half response. But we surrendered the initiative in the second half, lost our shape and at times the game looked like a re-run of the first leg as they took a good proportion of what few chances they had and we were denied by their keeper Duke and were less clinical with our finishing than we should have been.

So it seems the run of unexpected results in this cup competition that took us to the semi final was repeated in the semi final but this time it was our opponents who emerged still in the cup against the odds as we were in the previous rounds at Manchester City and Norwich. A cup final appearance that might have spurred us on for the rest of the season has been replaced by a shocking cup exit that will further shatter the already fragile confidence of our football team. The first goal was always going to be crucial last night and we did get it but I think we needed a minimum of one or two more before they scored because we have a worrying tendency to fall apart when our opponents score and this weakness is no secret to those teams we face from whatever division they may be in.

On the bright side we can now concentrate on the league and after Friday night that may prove doubly so. Surely after this indignity Randy must appreciate that the manager needs to be given some backing in this transfer window and he now needs to put our standing as a football club above any cost cutting exercise he may have been looking to undertake at what is a clear and present risk to the future of our football club.

My player ratings from a game that our absent owner Randy might want to consider would have generated a not inconsiderable income had we won it by the required margin are:

Shay Given – 6 – Rarely tested and had no chance with their crucial goal but his route one kick led to our late second.

Matthew Lowton – 6 – Got forward well enough without doing as much as Bennett when he did so.

Ron Vlaar - 6 – Allowed Hanson to elude him on 55 minutes and he connected with a ball from a corner that went over Benteke’s head getting the goal that turned the tie but he was otherwise the experienced figure at the back we had been missing. But our defensive frailty was never going to be fixed by his return alone.

Ciaran Clark – 6 – Looked solid enough alongside Ron’s experience.

Joe Bennett - 6 – We missed the good balls he had been putting in when he was replaced. Went on a good run on 27 minutes leaving defenders in his wake before reaching the edge of the box and threading the ball to Ireland who finished well but from an offside position. Hit a well struck cross that no Villa player tried to get on the end of on 59 minutes. But less impressive at the back.

Stephen Ireland – 5 – This game should have been made for him but he did not make quite the impression hoped for given the quality and ability he has shown against stiffer opposition than this in the past. Hit a shot from the edge of the box on 38 minutes that Duke did well to tip just over the bar and turned the ball just wide after Bent had hit the ball to him on 67 minutes.

Barry Bannan – 4 – Show boated on 37 minutes hitting a ball back to Given at pace that he did well to chest down. Made way for Bent on 62 minutes and needed to show more.

Fabian Delph – 6 – Had a good first half but his impact on the game faded somewhat in the second. Picked up the ball on the half way line on 17 minutes and ended his run with a good shot that flashed just over the bar.

Charles N’Zogbia - 7 – MOTM - We missed the threat he posed to them and the width he gave us when he was replaced on 70 minutes. Hit a goal bound shot on 32 minutes that Duke kept out with a one handed save and created a number of opportunities particularly for Benteke.

Gabriel Agbonlahor – 5 – It was clear he wanted this one but his performance did not do quite enough to make it happen. Just beaten by a defender to a nice cross from N’Zogbia on 9 minutes and turned inside the box on 20 minutes hitting a decent shot that Duke gathered.

Christian Benteke – 6 – Gave us our opener on 24 minutes when he connected with an inviting Bennett cross to hit the ball into the back of Duke’s net having earlier headed wide of the post from an N’Zogbia cross on 3 minutes, been off target again 3 minutes later after getting his head to a cross from the same player and got up well to another N’Zogbia cross on 16 minutes but his header was straight at the keeper. Another cross from N’Zogbia went just wide of the post on 44 minutes off his chest and on 47 minutes his header from a Lowton cross was well wide.

Substitutes:

Darren Bent – 5 - Replaced Bannan on 62 minutes but was not given the opportunities he needed to win it.

Andreas Weimann – 7 – Replaced Bennett on 70 minutes and scored the late 89th minute winner that proved not quite enough on the night when he rounded Duke and slotted the ball home after Benteke had headed on a Given route one ball. I really think he needed to start this one alongside Benteke as they are a lethal pairing

Stay up the Villa and Stay Strong Captain!

John Lewis

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Absolutely spot on with giving Gabby, Ireland and Bannan the lowest ratings of the starters. I couldn't agree more, especially as Gabby and Ireland are supposed to be the experienced players we badly need in the team.

 

Lambert let himself down last night in the second half. I'm not someone who wants him out, but his substitutions made the team very narrow in the second half, when we surely should have been trying to make the pitch as wide as possible and get crosses in from more advanced positions, rather than lumping long, straight balls into the box? Played right into Bradford's hands, and I'd possibly rate him even lower than Bannan, tbh.

 

It's never good news when one of your centre backs is the player giving you attacking width, which Clark was in the last 10 minutes!

 

Edit: Also you forgot to mention Bennett's fabulous cross for the first goal.

Edited by keefa3011
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where do we start.. pl wanted our support..he got it! 

avfc.. i feel we dont have a plan,in the recent days ie young/downing etc the plan was clear,get to the line & get the ball in for big john

whats the plan with this lot?

 we need 442 with wingers..

 

 

IM NO DELPH OR CNZ FAN BUT I THOUGHT THEY WERE VERY GOOD LAST NIGHT,YES LOWER LEAGUE BUT CREDIT WHERE DUE.

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"Also you forgot to mention Bennett's fabulous cross for the first goal".

Yes it was a great ball into Benteke which I mentioned alongside the scorer's rating keefa3011: "Gave us our opener on 24 minutes when he connected with an inviting Bennett cross to hit the ball into the back of Duke’s net". I agree 100% with your observations on the impact that Lambo's substitutions had on the game.

"whats the plan with this lot?" - It seems to me that the plan is to stay up if at all possible in the hope we will come straight back up if we do not. But the primary objective seems to be to cut costs cbr600rr.

Edited by John
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"It was Darren Bent who assisted Weimann for the second, not Benteke". I was sure it was Benteke Papillon but I did have my head in my hands at the time... "The FA cup is just a distraction anyway. We need to concentrate on survival". It is a sad state of affairs when we have to see the FA Cup as a distraction but we were never going to win that and we can now concentrate on the league and lets hope that will do the trick AVFCForever1991.

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