Frustration, anger and disbelief were the three emotions I felt when the Villans were beaten convincingly by Fulham on Sunday.
Before the game, everyone was optimistic about getting a result against Fulham – a side currently lying in the bottom three. It was an away game at Craven Cottage and, because it was an away game, I had thought that the players were going there intending to attack and hopefully score a few goals. Instead, what we got was a very poor display from our team.
Dodgy refereeing decisions won’t cover the fact that we were really bad. It was the worst performance of the season so far and I don’t think anyone can doubt that. The penalty that Fulham got should not have been given and Gabby Agbonlahor should have been given a penalty – but that’s besides the point, in all honesty. The performance was poor and we deserved to be beaten. What I was most disappointed with was that we made Fulham’s aging players look like world beaters.
Second to the ball, no bite, no guile and, I’m sorry to keep bringing up this point, but there’s simply no creativity. The only bit of claret and blue skill and creativity I saw was when Fabian Delph played a neat one-two with Benteke and shot wide from an angle. It’s nice to see and it’s what we would see more of if we bought a play-maker.
Our gaffer needs to react more quickly in these type of situations. To his credit, he did bring on Tonev at half time to change things but the player, who regularly tests the fans in row Z’s catching abilities, didn’t do much to change the game. We simply don’t have a ‘plan B’.
I read a statistic on Twitter today: ‘Villa play more long balls per game (70) than any other team in the Premier League.’ That’s really unsurprising. It’s not a fact we can really be proud of either. I’m sure Tony Pulis wants that crown back. We need a bit of creativity because right now we’re struggling to create anything.
Men lie, women lie but numbers don’t. Going into the Fulham game, we were undefeated in five games. We won two of them and drew three. It was a decent return but we failed to score in two of those games when we really should have beaten a West Ham team that doesn’t even play a striker and a Sunderland one that hasn’t had the best start to the season to say the least.
There were a few players who didn’t perform well on Sunday. Andi Weimann (or Wiseman, as Niall Quinn likes to call him) was very poor. He didn’t receive the ball much but when he did it usually ended up with the other team.
Ashley Westwood probably had his poorest game to date. He doesn’t normally give the ball away, even in games when he isn’t on top form, but against Fulham he wasn’t at the races. It seemed he slipped every time he went for the ball in the second half.
Why, and I really need to know the answer to this, do we keep persisting with those floating corners? They aren’t producing any results at all. These floaty corners usually get headed away or go horribly off target. Why not whip the ball in with pace, allowing our tall players to attack the ball? We have more of a chance to score when we give the opposition less time to think about where the players and the ball are going. It’s ridiculous that Lambert persists with these ineffective corners. It forces our players to generate their own power into the header, which just isn’t working.
Brad Guzan (or Guzman, as Niall Quinn put it), who is usually unflappable, also had a few dodgy moments in goal.
The good news is that Chris Herd came back and played well. It was his first start in a long, long time and he didn’t look out of place. I love the player’s full blooded attitude; he really goes all in.
Benteke seems to be getting back in the swing of things: I saw a few nice touches and he also had two good chances to score so I’m not too worried about him. Compared to the same stage last season, he is one goal ahead. Hopefully, he finds the net against Manchester United – another game that will be shown live on Sky.
Please lads, don’t give us another poor performance – unless it ends with three points!
What did you think of the game? Leave your comments below.