With yesterday’s game being little more than a dull, low quality match, it’s difficult to be positive about Villa’s home form this season. There are things that make my mind spin when I am watching the boys in claret and blue.
Firstly, why is Lowton not in the starting XI this season when he had such an amazing season last year and provided Benteke with service? In my opinion, Bacuna looks uncomfortable at full back as he is much better suited to playing on the wing in his preferred position. Against West Brom he looked panicky throughout the game and made a terrible mistake, which led to Villa conceding the second goal. Maybe Lowton has not been performing in training as he seems out of favour with Lambert but, along with many Villa fans, I am screaming out for his return to the starting line-up.
Secondly, Benteke had his worst game in a Villa shirt yesterday and for once I thought he needed to be replaced early in the second half as he wasn’t doing anything he usually does with ease. This is the most worrying factor for me this season as he was the difference between relegation and survival last season. From his body language, you can tell his mind is not right. Whether his issues are due to a lack of confidence, which could easily be sorted by a goal, or something more complicated like being unhappy at the club and wanting to move remains to be seen.
Finally, the most frustrating thing about watching Villa at the moment is our lack of movement when we are on the ball. Out of our eleven players yesterday, Gabby Agbonlahor was the only one who made anything happen and actually ran at Sunderland’s defence. It was obvious when he ran at them that they felt uncomfortable dealing with the threat he posed. Even Delph, who has been doing a similar thing all season, found it difficult to make any runs yesterday with the ball. We were back to the Alex McLeish era – passing the football backwards. At times, I was amazed that players who are playing football in the top English league found it difficult to pass the ball one metre to a team-mate successfully. Around me, fans were getting frustrated and expressing their anger vocally, whilst others just sat with heads in hands either through frustration or because they had fallen asleep from the lack of action.
I am hoping that we start to find form again, as we should be beating teams like Sunderland every day of the week; from watching yesterday’s match, it’s clear why Poyet’s side is one of the worst teams in the league.
Negativity is high around Villa Park and there are many reasons for it. It is difficult not to worry about the outcome if we do not start to pick up our home form. To stage a brilliant comeback against West Brom in the local derby, the Villa players found their form in the second half but yesterday that was a distant memory and again we were back to inconsistency.
We need to try and take each game as it comes because it is clear that we are going to have another up and down season as the players try to find the form we expect from them. Let’s get behind the boys and put yesterday’s dismal performance behind us.