The dust has finally settled after last nights emphatic 3-3 tie to Chris Wilder’s high-flying Sheffield United, after feeling shock, anger and frustration (all in that order) as Billy Sharp masterclass was in full effect. Lets talk through last nights affairs and how this will effect Villa in the long run, both positively and negatively.
Same old Villa?
It only took the Blades eleven minutes to break the deadlock from a corner kick from Oliver Norwood which had the Villa defence at sea. Billy Sharp calmly slotted away from the six yard box, with Tammy Abraham’s effort to keep the ball off the line unsuccessful.
Villa have conceded the first goal in two of their last five games, away from home against a struggling Wigan Athletic in a humiliating 3-0 loss and at home against Hull in a 2-2 draw.
There is no question about it, Sharp was offside for their second goal.
I thought Lovre Kalanic dealt with the initial shot from Kieran Dowell well, and seems to have recovered from Gary Medine’s header as he had both hands on the ball, when the offside sharp pounces on the Croatian to double the Blades’ lead.
Since dropping down to the Championship it seems as if all I have done is criticised the standard of refereeing, I for one am glad that was live on Sky Sports so people up and down the country could see how poor the officials are in this division.
I was also glad that Smith called the referee out in his post match interview too, but shocked at the revelation that it was the same referee from our humiliating 3-0 loss to Wigan, coincidence?
No, it wasn’t Neil Taylor’s fault:
If you even try to blame Taylor for the third goal then I guess there’s really no convincing you otherwise, hate for the sake of hating.
This goal came from a lack of positional sense from both Mile Jedinak and Tyrone Mings.
Mile has to track the run of Dowell down the left side, whilst Mings does make an effort to come across to the threat, it was too late.
Before the ball was played he and Elphick are far too narrow which prevented them from stopping the cross.
Sharp headed home Dowell’s cross comfortably and the game appeared to be dead and buried.
Viva Glenn Whelan!
It has to be said, Smith got it spot on with his substitutions, Kodjia and Mile both had poor games and personally I thought Whelan provided some much needed balance and mobility to the midfield.
A vocal minority of fans don’t rate Whelan for whatever reason, but I have to say on the record, Whelan has probably been our best defensive midfielder at the club this season (coming from a guy who promotes Bjarnason propaganda).
So when you see his name on the team sheet next week, please don’t moan.
An unlikely comeback!
A Villa comeback looked on the cards after a Conor Hourihane free-kick was parried away by Dean Henderson, for the first time in over 75 minutes, Villa looked alive.
Despite conceding three I was very impressed with Tyrone Mings’ performance, especially after he opened up the scoring for Villa after latching on the end of a Hourihane corner to instigate the comeback in the 82nd minute of the game.
With the goal came a huge swing in momentum as Tammy Abraham scored his 20th of the season, breaking Peter Withe’s record set in the 1980/81 season, by following up from a shot from Elphick which Henderson parried out, and Tammy latched onto the end of to give those remaining in Villa Park some much needed hope.
And finally, in the fourth minute of the additional five added on, El Ghazi’s blocked cross was picked up by Mcginn in the box who took all four United players out of the game with a magnificent cross with his weak foot, which was met by substitute Andre Green’s head and saw him score his first goal of the season infront of the (pretty much empty) Holte End, stuff of dreams!
Due to the equaliser being scored so late, I feel as if we didn’t really have enough time to celebrate that well earned point.
Smoke and mirrors?
Don’t let the comeback taint the absolutely woeful first 80 minutes of football, with the exception of Mings, Kalanic, and of course the substitutions Green and Whelan, collectively the performance wasn’t good enough.
Taking into account it is well documented the Blades play a back three system, and we play with three forwards, Villa should have been an absolute nightmare for them.
With three forwards you are essentially man for man, the wide men in Kodjia and El Ghazi have to press more off the ball and work the channels to provide space for midfield runners to infiltrate the defence.
Collectively as a team there was no pressing which is why we struggled for large portions of the game to break them down.
The “12th” man:
There was roughly 34,000 in attendance last night, and by 70 minutes I’d estimate about 20,000.
I for one am not someone who ever leaves a game early, I understand people have their reasons for leaving early, but not on seventy minutes.
For all the people missed that comeback, may that be a lesson learnt for some of you, wouldn’t want to miss out on a comeback like that again, would you?
With that being said, there needs to be a huge change in culture as to how Villa fans “support” their team, from boo’s at half time to the deafening silence. It seems we sing Holte Enders in the sky, S**t on the City and the one we all know… VILLA VILLA VILLA right at the start of the game, maybe if we score, but that’s all.
Us as fans have to take responsibility and understand we can aid in lifting the performance with a positive atmosphere, singing for 90 minutes and supporting the lads all the way.
But who am I to say this?
This can be a catalyst for the lads and see a change in both attitude and performance, like the opposite of West Brom away, as silly as it may sound, our season starts now.
We are within touching distance of the playoff places, with some big games coming soon, lets hope that Villa can fire themselves into contention again!
Tweet me your thoughts/abuse, my handle is @danmorgi34, I look forward to reading your comments.