Crystal Palace 3-1 Villa – Plan B? Whats plan A?

I have sat here on another Sunday afternoon, the day after yet another Aston Villa defeat wondering how I approach writing about what can only be described as another dismal performance from Steven Gerrard’s men.

At the time of writing both Leeds United and Brighton are both in action, currently both winning and seemingly have game plans. They are not alone in this either. Crystal Palace used their game plan to perfection yesterday as they outclassed another poor Villa performance all over the pitch.

In truth, the 3-1 scoreline flattered Villa as Palace could have easily doubled their goal tally on the day if they had a decent goalscorer.

I have watched on this season as Gerrard stated we weren’t that bad in the defeat to Bournemouth but lacked creativity and that we played well as we very nearly threw a 2-0 goal lead away against a very poor Everton side at Villa Park last weekend.

We are 9 months into the reign of Gerrard and I don’t think he could still tell you his plan. Regardless of the formation, I never know what Villa are trying to do or achieve and I think that’s what makes the defeats hurt even more.

Crystal Palace are no longer a team you believe you should be taking three points from. As I mentioned in the preview, they are a well-organised unit and Patrick Viera is proving to be a very good tactical coach.

Zaha scores two to send Villa home empty-handed

Yesterday we returned to a 4-3-3 formation as Leon Bailey returned to the starting Xi and last week’s goalscorer, Danny Ings dropped to the bench. Ezri Konsa replaced the injured Diego Carlos in defence.

Ollie Watkins gave Villa a dream start when he fired them ahead inside the opening 5 minutes. Bailey raced in from the right to get on the end of a long ball from Tyrone Mings, he nodded a through ball into the path of Watkins who slotted cooly into the Palace net.


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Wilfried Zaha always seems to be a thorn in the Villa side despite one goal against us in twelve pulling the home side level just two minutes later. Villa were hit on the counter-attack when a long ball exposed the Villa defence leaving Zaha running with Konsa but the defender couldn’t get anywhere near him before the Ivorian finished inside the far post.

Although Villa looked better in attack, they always looked fragile defensively and Palace thought they had turned the game on its head after 26 minutes.

Odsonne Eduard was allowed to turn inside the box before finding Jefferey Schlupp to slot past Emi Martinez. Luckily VAR intervened and Eduard was ruled to be offside when running onto a free-kick.

Villa were lucky to go in at half-time level but surely we were going to see a reaction. Nope.

Lucas Digne and former Villan Jordan Ayew were at the thick of the game’s talking point and the point that Gerrard believes changed the game. The Ghanaian once again got the better of Digne but was denied by Martinez and out for a corner. Or so we thought.

VAR once again got involved and it originally looked like Digne had grabbed hold of Ayew’s shirt but after consulting the pitchside monitor, a penalty was awarded for handball. Zaha’s resulting penalty was saved by Martinez but the ball bounced back to the forward who tapped home to make it 2-1.

Jean-Phillipe Mateta made it 3-1 moments after coming off the bench when he got on the end of a Tyreik Mitchell cross to volley past Martinez.

What’s the plan, Steven?

We, Villa fans are known for over-reacting after defeats. For once I think the over-reaction was justified. As I previously mentioned I still don’t know what the plan is under Gerrard.

I would argue, that since his appointment we have probably played one, maybe two good games. The rest we have been outclassed or relied on a moment of magic from one of the many attacking talents we have available at our disposal.

There doesn’t seem to be a clear direction. Viera proved yesterday how tactically astute he can be. His side played 5 at the back and picked up a very good point at Anfield last week but then reverted to 4 against Villa and packed out the midfield.

It seems that when Gerrard’s plan doesn’t work, he doesn’t know how to change it in-game. It was very clear, very early yesterday that we needed more in the middle of the park. As much as I like Jacob Ramsey, I don’t believe he works in a midfield three. I would actually try him as a number 10, a position we are already heavily stacked in.

Going forward, with the players we currently have available to us, if we are to stick with a midfield three, I think that we need to be looking at introducing the likes of Dougie Luiz or even Marvelous Nakamba alongside Boubacar Kamara and captain John McGinn.

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4 comments

  1. I was never in favour of hiring Gerard and although I got a lot of stick for the early results no I e seen gives me confidence that he has a clue what he’s doing either before or during the game. I wish I am wrong but I’m yet to see it. Smith was sacked with a much better record but unless we’re relegated I can’t see Gerard king anywhere. Would Liverpool fans take him if klopp left ?

    • Similar to you, I wasn’t overly excited by the prospect and have sat on the fence and watched on ever since. I wanted a pre-season and we gave him one and we still don’t seem to know we want to play. This concerns me.

      I don’t want to keep chopping and changing managers but already I feel like it’s another dead season. He will get AT LEAST until the next international window as the bare minimum so we can only support them.

  2. He has had bad luck with the injury to Carlos so we are desperately I need of a DOMINANT centre half and a very vocal leader McGinn has too many off days and always has a red card in him other than that the squad is there it just needs direction and at the moment that isn’t there but give Gerrard until Christmas

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