Following our surprising collapse against Arsenal yesterday, Lambert revealed that a nasty sickness bug has been doing the rounds at Bodymoor Heath. A sickness bug is never pleasant and is even less so when there are 40,000 people waiting to see the team give the Gunners a proper game.
Yesterday’s result was disappointing but let’s not panic yet. I always try and take a bit of perspective into my post-match analysis but I see that the defeat sent a few people into meltdown on Twitter and the ‘Lambert out’ crew have started to murmur again, with cries of “It was as bad as last season!” Well, it wasn’t.
The Villa boys battled the bug and had a very bright first half-hour in which they didn’t allow their opponents to play their game, closing them down, hassling and harrying and making their presence felt. It could have been a very different story if Delph’s early shot had whizzed in and he was particularly lively considering he’d been hit by the Bug of Bodymoor earlier in the week. If Clark had sent that header where he should have, as opposed to right at the keeper, we would also have taken the lead but in the end it was a few minutes of madness that cost us so dearly. In my opinion, Clark is not a Premier League defender; Okore should have played yesterday, even if he is not fully fit.
My main complaint about the game was the performance that Sanchez offered. Simply put, he had an absolute howler and couldn’t do the simplest of things properly. Caught in possession far too often, he gave the ball away and messed up the easiest of passes. I know it’s still very early in his time in the English game and that he was thrust into the starting line-up at late notice, after the bug claimed yet another victim in Ashley Westwood, but he needed to get the basics right from the get go. We all need to see a better showing from him the next time he plays.
There’s no need to panic or even to feel particularly down. Yes, we lost but it was a loss to Arsenal, a team full of top quality players who are clinical at times and on their day can beat just about any team they play. We still have ten points, we are still in the top four and have a really easy game lined up in London next weekend against a team by the name of Chelsea… In the immortal words of our glorious leader, we’ll just have to “pick ourselves up and go again”, providing that a plague doesn’t break out on the team bus…