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John

Player Match Ratings – Can we stay up? Yes we can!

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We have come back from a goal down to win games only twice this season. The positive thing about that statistic is that we have done so in our last two games now and a second crucial 6 pointer has been secured as a result. We are not safe yet but two more wins might just prove to be enough!



We really needed this win and the reaction to the defeat of those QPR players who sat on the pitch devastated at full time showed how important this game was to both teams and it brought a nice memory from 1982 of Bayern players doing the same at full time in Rotterdam.



It will be hard for QPR to come back from this a game they came into with the momentum that comes from two wins but they played a big part in making this the game it was. We started the game passing the ball neatly and keeping possession well in a manner that was pleasing to the eye. Harry then pushed his team forward to play a higher line and they started to look more than a little threatening for the rest of the half. Had it not been for the heroics of our keeper the game could have already been beyond us before Gabby for the second time in 2 games gave us a goal in the dying moments of the first half. That goal proved a turning point and the confidence it gave and the reaction it brought from our fans set up a great second half of football that turned one way and then the other. It was also so encouraging to see that when QPR pulled us back to level the game we were not prepared to go into our shell and instead we claimed the win and clung onto a lead without conceding our customary late goal.



It had been 68 games since we had last managed back to back wins. Those wins have opened up a 6 point gap between us and the bottom three albeit one that Wigan if they do not become too distracted by their FA Cup semi-final and potential final might expect to shrink with two games in hand of us. But we must now aim to get our noses in front of a couple of those clubs who are ahead of us now on goal difference and by three points or less to bring them into the dog fight that a couple of home wins against say Fulham and Sunderland who are among those six clubs may see us near to safety.



My player ratings from a game that took us 6 points clear of the drop zone and to 30 points and in which Townsend and Jenas along with Gabby and Benteke hit the net as they did last weekend are:



Brad Guzan – 9 – MOTM – Kept us in the game with a chance to come back into it with three superb one handed first half saves. The best of which was on 10 minutes when he somehow kept out a Samba header that was bound for the top corner with an exquisite one handed save. Followed that up with another one handed save from a shot from the edge of the box from the same player within a minute when the ball found Samba on the edge of the box. On 38 minutes he then got his left rather than right hand to keep out a curling Remy shot from the edge of the box. Brad was beaten on 23 minutes by Jenas who did more for QPR in this game than he did in a season with us sliding in to force the loose ball home after Guzan had kept out Zamora’s effort with his foot. Bosingwa hit a post from a free kick that could have given them a 2 goal cushion which was for some reason allowed to be taken from the edge of the box rather than where the offence was actually committed and their second on 73 minutes from Townsend took a deflection off Vlaar on its way from the edge of the box to just inside Brad’s post.


Matthew Lowton – 7 – Another encouraging display and he almost gave us a second goal on 65 minutes when he pulled a shot past the keeper but just wide of the post.


Ron Vlaar – 6 – A solid performance.


Ciaran Clark – 6 – Has shouldered a lot of responsibility this season and gave another good display yesterday. Had a header from a corner gathered by Cesar on 69 minutes.


Nathan Baker - 6 – Put his head in where others fear to tread coming off worst when trying to get to a low Westwood cross and his head came into contact with the man mountain Samba. Left the field on 20 minutes and was replaced by Bennett.


Yacouba Sylla – 6 – Looks value for the money we paid and will get better with games and experience.


Ashley Westwood – 7 – A very encouraging display.


Barry Bannan - 5 – Played his part in the win and in holding onto possession in the middle.


Andreas Weimann – 8 – Had a header from a well placed Bennett header tipped over by Cesar on 58 minutes after Benteke had steamed into the box and through their massed defence with great power. Hit our second a minute later after Bennett had pounced on a clearance from a corner found him on the edge of the box and Andreas then turned and drilled a left footed shot past the keeper. His tenacity then led to our winner.


Gabriel Agbonlahor – 7 – His pressure forced Bosingwa to help the ball back to his goal keeper at the near post but referee Friend showed not for the first time yesterday that he is no friend of ours by ignoring righteous claims for a free kick due to the back pass. Connected well with a Lowton cross on the stroke of first half time and his downward header beat a statuesque Cesar and got us out of jail.


Christian Benteke – 7 – A quiet first half but he was engaged in a heavyweight battle with Samba throughout and neither player asked or was given any quarter. Hit our winner on 81 minutes when N’Zogbia played the ball to Weimann inside the box and his persistence left defenders in his wake as he pulled the ball back to an unmarked Benteke who applied the finish to give us all three points. Turned a header wide of the far post on 85 minutes from N’Zogbia’s free kick.


Substitutes:


Joe Bennett – 6 – Came on for Baker on 20 minutes. His misplaced pass on the half way line was pounced upon by Jenas in the build up to their opener but he made up for that as the game progressed and looked particularly good when moving forward.



Charles N’Zogbia – 6 - Replaced Sylla on 58 minutes and made a good contribution to securing our win.



Jordan Bowery - Replaced Weimann on 84 minutes. Not on long enough to earn a rating but did put himself about on his introduction.



Stay up the Villa and Stay Strong Captain!
John Lewis

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I'll question your rating for Bannan. Please justify why you think as a 5/10 he was the worst Villa player to grace the pitch on Saturday?

I thought he was the least effective but not by much TheSufferingVilla and he was close to a 6 but I hope for more from Barry given the games he has under his belt now and for me this was a step back on what he gave us at Reading. I keep expecting him to step up to the plate week in and week out and make it very difficult for the boss to drop him. I do not think he quite did that on Saturday but it is a matter of opinion and we will see if Lambo gives the same team a run out again after 2 wins. I think he just might or bring in Delph for Sylla given the extra experience he has.

Edited by John

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Agree with MotM - Guzan was simply outstanding.

 

marks for inept bent referee?

 

Minus ten million

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I'll question your rating for Bannan. Please justify why you think as a 5/10 he was the worst Villa player to grace the pitch on Saturday?

I thought he was the least effective but not by much TheSufferingVilla and he was close to a 6 but I hope for more from Barry given the games he has under his belt now and for me this was a step back on what he gave us at Reading. I keep expecting him to step up to the plate week in and week out and make it very difficult for the boss to drop him. I do not think he quite did that on Saturday but it is a matter of opinion and we will see if Lambo gives the same team a run out again after 2 wins. I think he just might or bring in Delph for Sylla given the extra experience he has.

And when did Lambert start picking players with experience ?

Also although I agree we needed this win and it can only be good for the team, I also agree we stopped QPR`s winning streak BUT bear in mind our winning streak is against the team`s in 20th and 19th position.The reason these 2 yeams are in those positions is because everyone is beating them,so I do`nt want to rain on your parade but can we wait until we beat a team worth beating before getting carried away ?!

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"marks for inept bent referee? Minus ten million".

If he was worth a mark rjw63 I think that is a fair one!

"can we wait until we beat a team worth beating before getting carried away"?!

I think QPR are better than bottom 2 on current form PussEKatt but I take your point on the boss making selections with an eye on experience although I think beating the likes of Reading and QPR is worth more than a win against say Liverpool at present because it denies them points at the same time as giving us some. We are in a mini league now at the foot of the table and I am not getting too carried away following these 2 wins and Wigan's result showed things can quickly turn on one result. But after 22 months without 2 wins on the trot and given how vital those wins were we need to enjoy the wins and try to take something positive from them. The job of staying up is not done yet but 6 points from 6 makes it a more likely prospect for us.

Edited by John

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I'll question your rating for Bannan. Please justify why you think as a 5/10 he was the worst Villa player to grace the pitch on Saturday?

I thought he was the least effective but not by much TheSufferingVilla and he was close to a 6 but I hope for more from Barry given the games he has under his belt now and for me this was a step back on what he gave us at Reading. I keep expecting him to step up to the plate week in and week out and make it very difficult for the boss to drop him. I do not think he quite did that on Saturday but it is a matter of opinion and we will see if Lambo gives the same team a run out again after 2 wins. I think he just might or bring in Delph for Sylla given the extra experience he has.

 

Excellent response.

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