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Player Match Ratings: Just the 3 points from 3 games then!


John
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The third of our tough opening fixtures brought Liverpool a tenth victory at Villa Park from their last 16 Premier League visits which is a habit we need to break. Most of us would have taken 3 points from these 3 games before the season began but having won the first losing the next two and particularly this one is a tad deflating.

We allowed Liverpool to dominate the first half in what seemed too much like a re-run of last season’s defeat. We stood off and failed to pressure them, showing them far too much respect. The second half and the last couple of minutes of the first was much different and we were as unfortunate to come away with nothing to show for our efforts as we had been at Chelsea. They created very little but for their well taken winner and for a third time this season we found ourselves needing to come back from a goal down, sadly this time we did not trouble the scorers and demonstrated that without additional creativity in the middle we may find it easier to score goals away than at home.

The negative side of 3 points from 3 games is that a point a game gives us just 38 points at the end of a season that would represent another long relegation battle. We have also now gone 25 games without keeping a clean sheet. But the positive side which is how I view our start is that we have three more points than we got last season from these three fixtures and a much improved goal difference. Having got these three games out of the way we now face two winnable games and need to take a minimum of 4 points from these to keep us at the right end of the admittedly early season table when we entertain Manchester City in a month.

My player ratings from a game that we were unable to add a second home win in 16 league games against yesterday’s opponents and that suggested that referees stick together following any criticism of each other are:

Brad Guzan – 6 – A relatively quiet game for Brad. Beaten on 21 minutes after a ball from Enrique was allowed to run through to Sturridge by Coutinho and the forward took the ball past Luna and then his despairing dive before hitting a shot into the roof of the net and over the two defenders who were guarding the goal line.

Matt Lowton – 6 – Steady enough for the 65 minutes he was on but has had much more effective games for us.

Ron Vlaar – 6 – Generally solid enough alongside the assured Okore.

Jores Okore – 7 – Very solid other than for a weak back header on 90 minutes which was meant for Guzan but which Sturridge was able to reach first before going down in a heap on the edge of the box when Guzan dived at his feet. Reads the game well but does currently seem a little short of pace at times but I anticipate this will come with further games and training sessions.

Antonio Luna - 8 – MOTM – Tony Moon was solid at the back and looked very, very good when moving forward showing the sort of skills, flair and jinking runs that can worry defences throughout this season.

Leandro Bacuna – 5 – Some distance off being man of the match for me. These are early days though and this was a difficult game for a debut but I back this young player to show us more as the season progresses as he did yesterday in the second half when playing in a different role.

Fabian Delph – 7 – Not quite so marvellously effective as he has been in the past 2 games but still the best of our midfield by some distance.

Ashley Westwood – 6 – Improved as the game wore on but he was still some way off his very best.

Gabriel Agbonlahor- 6 – Applied a disappointing finish on 75 minutes when he badly miscued his shot after Toure’s weak headed clearance under pressure from Benteke fell to him just inside of the box. Did not sustain the level of performance he had showed in our first two outings.

Andreas Weimann – 6 – Found by Lowton on the edge of the box and was unlucky to see his shot sail just over the bar having taken a deflection off Agger. Glanced a header from a Bacuna cross on 72 minutes and was substituted a minute later. Not his best performance and could not manage to make much of an impression from the wide position he filled yesterday.

Christian Benteke – 7 – Faced a tough battle with Toure yesterday who he was unable to dominate in quite the way he does so many defenders but he was still the player who was most likely to pop up with our equalizer. Hit a measured shot on 41 minutes that Mignolet pushed out for a corner after he had made space to get a shot in having picked up a Westwood corner. Headed a Westwood corner wide on 70 minutes and then looked odds on to hit an equalizer when found in space on the edge of the box on 86 minutes only to be denied by a very good save from his international team mate.


Substitutes:

Karim El Ahmadi – 6 - Replaced Lowton on 65 minutes and gave us something we had been missing in the middle up until then making a positive contribution and having a shot blocked by Gerrard on the edge of the box on 66 minutes.

Aleksandar Tonev – 6 - Replaced Weimann on 73 minutes. Had a speculative shot from outside of the box gathered by the keeper on 79 minutes and 10 minutes later hit a firm shot from distance having taken no run up that flashed wide and past a surprised Mignolet.

Nicklas Helenius - Replaced Westwood on 83 minutes. Not on long enough to earn a rating but did well to head on an El Ahmadi header finding Benteke in space on 86 minutes.

Up the Villa!
John Lewis

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Correct John. We allowed Arsenal, Chelsea & Liverpool too much respect in the first 20-30 mins of our opening games & unsurprisingly found ourselves a goal down & chasing the game.

 

The first goal nearly always proves significant in the Premier League & we need to develop a habit of doing this. On a more positive note at least we have proven that we can now recover from these set backs as we did at Arsenal & to an extent at Chelsea where we were undoubtedly robbed by either totally incompetent or corrupt refereeing.

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We should have finished off Liverpool IMO. Had more chances, better chances and Mignolet was by far the busier keeper. We started very very slow (not really a big surprise give the busy week first week in the season) but once we got going I think we were the better team, as per against Arsenal and Chelsea. If I compare how we played against the same teams last year we are obviously a much better team by a long way, but like John I have a slightly bitter taste in my mouth. Hopefully the players do too and this will spur them on to a decent run of victories through September. UTV

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Seems a bit negative to me - we were playing our 3rd game in a week and it showed.

 

It has been a vibrant and spirited start and other than the first 35 minutes of this game it carried on against Pool.

 

They are always going to get a fair bit of possession it is how they play - for the third game running the opposition had the busier goalie again however.

 

I dont see any relevance in how many games we dont keep clean sheets for - we are clearly improving all over the pitch including defensively.

 

Cant disagree with player ratings, but think we were vastly better second half all across pitch.

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I dont see any relevance in how many games we dont keep clean sheets for - we are clearly improving all over the pitch including defensively.

 

 

 

Really?  Well, it means that when we don't score, we lose the game.

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I dont see any relevance in how many games we dont keep clean sheets for - we are clearly improving all over the pitch including defensively.

 

 

 

Really?  Well, it means that when we don't score, we lose the game.

 

Not sure whether that deserves a reply, patronising as it is, but here goes.  My point was about a running total of games.  It is irrelevant in my view.  25, 15, 3, 12, 8, 99.  irrelevant. For example, had we happened to have kept a clean sheet last weekend, it would only be 2 games since one, but all our points last year and this would be exactly the same.  Or say our last clean sheet had been against Sunderland at home, and so on.  Like much sequential statistics it looks important but isn't really.

 

Now that is NOT the same as saying clean sheets dont matter at all - just that 'how many in a row' is not relevant, in my view.

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"I dont see any relevance in how many games we dont keep clean sheets for - we are clearly improving all over the pitch including defensively"... "Like much sequential statistics it looks important but isn't really. Now that is NOT the same as saying clean sheets dont matter at all - just that 'how many in a row' is not relevant, in my view".

I see your point and agree that we do look to be showing improvement and that this does include in our defence terrytini. Had we kept a clean sheet in one or two of those last 25 league games it would have been 24 or 23 out of 25 league games without a clean sheet but the figures do show there is a trend of being unable to go a game without the opposition scoring as we also demonstrated twice against Bradford and once at Milwall in the cups during the period. We now have additions at the back who may well given time address this issue and it was not unexpected that we might go a goal down in the first 3 games we had this season giving who we were playing. But this has become a trend and we now need to show it is behind us by keeping clean sheets in a couple of our coming games such against the likes of Rotherham, Newcastle, Norwich and Hull.

I agree that as villa-revolution says above "The first goal nearly always proves significant in the Premier League & we need to develop a habit of doing this. On a more positive note at least we have proven that we can now recover from these set backs as we did at Arsenal & to an extent at Chelsea.." & as AshVillian adds "If I compare how we played against the same teams last year we are obviously a much better team by a long way". Thanks to all for the comments and points made concerning my ratings and observations.

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