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Player Match Ratings – A game of two halves!


John
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The trap door is opening for us and many more performances like the one that we produced in the first half last night will see us relegated for the first time since 1987 but conversely more performances like the one that we gave in the second might yet see us stay up.



So we have lost yet another 6 pointer. This time we have done so against a Newcastle team that had started the game just a point ahead of us and who had not won away from home this season. We just left ourselves with too much to do and although we did almost come back to grab a point this result and 3 more dropped home points has left us with as hard a task of pulling our season around as we faced at the start of the second half. To make it happen we will need to produce some 90 rather than 45 minute performances of the tempo and fight we produced in the second half and lacked in the first.


I think we surrendered the initiative to them as soon as they got our team sheet. They were always going to go for a win last night (who would not against us at the moment) but to play three central defenders against a team that had offered so little away from home to date was a clear sign of the fragility of our confidence. Not content with that Bannan and Westwood also spent much of the first half hour just in front of what had effectively been a five man defence leaving us with Bent, Benteke and N’Zogbia largely isolated in more forward positions and with a large gap in the middle of the pitch that Newcastle exploited.


That cautious approach failed and on going two down we then pushed Bennett uncomfortably forward into an unfamiliar midfield spot until half time when he along with Bent were replaced by substitutions that along with what I am sure were some harsh half time words led to us dominating the second half to the same extent that they had bossed the first half and being unlucky to have not got the share of the spoils that second half performance merited. But teams in our position do not get their fair share of luck do they?


Both sides have it in them to stay up but Newcastle’s chances of doing so have been enhanced not only by last night’s result but by identifying their areas of weakness and doing something about it in this transfer window. Our weaknesses are clear but we appear to be being denied the means to do anything about it. Where Newcastle have refreshed their squad with players that made a difference last night it seems we are prepared to see the club drift to relegation for the want of what would be a reasonable level of investment on the playing side and trust in a team that are clearly shell shocked turning things around. That is an unacceptable risk for this football club to take and a relegation that we may find very difficult to recover from was never part of the bright future we were told to expect!


My player ratings from a game that plunged us back into the bottom three are:


Brad Guzan – 6 – Pulled off a good one handed save from Santon on 15 minutes but 4 minutes later Sissoko showed us what we were missing by threading a nice ball through to Cisse who hit the vital first goal in through Brad’s legs. Left with no chance when Cabaye hit a screamer past him on 31 minutes when left in space on the edge of our box to pull the trigger having took one touch from a headed clearance.


Matthew Lowton – 6 – Got forward well in the second half.


Ron Vlaar - 6 – Solid and the defence looks better with him in it.


Ciaran Clark – 6 – A steady overall performance.


Nathan Baker - 6 – Had a good downward header blocked near the line by Guitierrez on 82 minutes.


Joe Bennett – 5 – Replaced by Gabby at half time and spent the last 15 minutes loitering in the midfield as we belatedly went to a back four.


Barry Bannan – 5 – Largely ineffective in the first 45 minutes.


Ashley Westwood – 6 – Struggled to make his usual impression during the first half.


Charles N’Zogbia - 7 – He is clearly enjoying the freedom that he gets behind a front two and is starting to show signs of stepping up towards the sort of form he had showed when playing there with Wigan. So unlucky on 22 minutes when he hit a superb shot from a Benteke header that flew past the keeper only to cannon off the post and hit an effort into the side netting on 58 minutes.


Darren Bent– 5 – Made a decent run on 5 minutes and almost got something onto the ball. Like Benteke starved of service in a first half after which he was then replaced.


Christian Benteke – 6 – Forced a save from the keeper on 47 minutes when N’Zogbia found him on the edge of the box and he worked a shooting opportunity for himself. He then stepped up to convert our 49th minute penalty sending the keeper the wrong way and planting the ball into the corner of the net. He likes a penalty doesn’t he? An offside decision then sparred his blushes on 73 minutes when he turned a Lowton cross wide when the ball was his to tap home and on 86 minutes he was unable to get anything on a bouncing ball from a Guzan free kick.


Substitutes:

Gabriel Agbonlahor – 7 - Replaced Bennett for the second half and earned our penalty when he was brought down on the edge of the box. Really tried to make things happen and this should lead to a run in the side.


Andreas Weimann – 7 – MOTM - Replaced Bent at half time and turned inside the box forcing a reaction save from Krul on 46 minutes after Gabby had found him inside the box. Benteke then found him with an inch perfect ball on the hour and he forced another good save from the keeper. Injected pace and gets shots in and on target. He needs to start at Everton.



Stay up the Villa and Stay Strong Captain!
John Lewis

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Disagree with Bannan's rating - and EVERYONE was ineffective first half (a nice way of saying "**** shite")

 

At least Bannan doesn't hide

 

Another catastophic result not helped by a shitehawk of a ref who booked us at every chance but was happy to let BarCode Ballbags waste time a plenty, especially the keeper.

 

Sack the board/manager please

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Disagree with Bannan's rating - and EVERYONE was ineffective first half (a nice way of saying "**** shite")

 

At least Bannan doesn't hide

 

Another catastophic result not helped by a shitehawk of a ref who booked us at every chance but was happy to let BarCode Ballbags waste time a plenty, especially the keeper.

 

Sack the board/manager please

 

What would you have rated bannan ?

Edited by IrishVilla10
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"Sack the board/manager please". Do we have a board to sack rjw63? I would see the owner as the man who selects both the manager and those that sit around a board room table with him (if anyone does)so would not this be a case of him sacking himself (although I agree it is something that currently merits his consideration). But that is no doubt one for another topic.

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I was just being flippant.

 

Although Randy apparently is in "deep depression" following his marriage breakup, he needs someone to take over either permanently or temporarily if it's true

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