These match reports become increasingly difficult to write following under-par performances and what we witnessed yesterday at Villa Park, was no different to the dreadful performance last week when we lost to Newcastle.
Despite stating he would make several changes, Steven Gerrard stuck with ten of the players that started in the defeat to Newcastle with Danny Ings in for Ollie Watkins who dropped to the bench.
Villa dominated throughout but hardly looked like a threat in front of the goal. Watford sat back, soaked up the pressure and hit Villa on the counter-attack to good effect.
The home side probably should have taken the lead on 34 minutes through Ings. Emi Buendia slipped a nice little ball through for the striker whose effort hit the base of the post.
Villa continued to create half chances but the away side looked comfortable. Phillipe Coutinho hit a shot from long range but his effort was just over the crossbar.
Ismaïla Sarr, started his first game after helping Senegal win the African Cup of Nations assisted the only goal of the game when his chip into the box found Denis Man who beat Ashley Young to head home.
The game died off after the goal as Watford held on for their first win in twelve games and complete the double over Villa this season.
Villa stay twelve but will have one eye over their shoulder as they are now closer to the relegation zone than a European spot.
- It’s hard to think of any positives for this game and that statement alone tells you everything you need to know about the performance.
- With all the attacking threat we have available to us, having just two shots on target in two games isn’t good enough. Something isn’t working. It’s easy to point out certain players but this is a team issue and something Gerrard needs to sort out quickly.
- One change – I was rather disappointed to see just a single change following the defeat last week and Gerrard’s comments. There are a number of players who are desperate to make an impression and when the same players continue to underperform, what kind of message does it send out when you continue to play those players?
- Villa Park atmosphere was once again poor yesterday. The quality of football on show doesn’t help but the atmosphere hasn’t been great as a whole throughout the season. It is easy to support the team when they are doing well but surely they need us most when they are not performing?
Brighton v Aston Villa
Saturday, 26th February
Both sides will be hoping to bounce back from poor performances this weekend. Both are in danger of allowing their seasons just to pitter out and will be desperate for all three points. A defeat to Villa could see the natives start to get restless.