It’s with great pleasure that I post an opinion that isn’t mine.
It actually comes from “Hitchens60”, who’s a regular participant on the site.
Remember, if you have an opinion, just drop me a mail and I’m always happy to put it out there;
I read a number of reports and articles on the West Ham game and was surprised to see the level of critical comments from some fans.
‘We were pathetic’ – ‘players showed no fight’ – ‘didn’t chase back’ – ‘static like tailors dummy’s’ ‘would have lost if they hadn’t a man sent off’ – ‘gone backwards and playing Steve Bruce type football (really?-that’s my comment)’ – to quote just a few.
I must have watched a different game although that’s not to say it was a great all round performance! In summary, we were well organised in defence although less impressive going forward.
Not a few fans I spoke to before the game thought we would lose and a draw was generally thought to be an acceptable result so why the sudden dive into negativity? I suspect it arises primarily from the sending off of Masuaka.
There seems to be a view that once a side goes a man short then the other team are guaranteed to win – not in modern football where the use of substitutes and tactics can negate the man advantage particularly with only 20 odd minutes to play. It seems some have quickly forgotten that, had it not been for a travesty of justice, Villa would have earned a 1-1 draw with Palace having played with 10 men for a good part of the second half!
We are only five games into the season with a new and relatively inexperienced team so it seems to me it’s too soon to start over reacting to a single result. Let’s face it we all acknowledged the players would need time to gel and it seemed to me, that this lack of playing time contributed significantly to the loss of shape and control following Masuaka’s dismissal.
However, there are valid questions to be asked about tactics.
Why did we set up 4-3-3 with Jota playing wide on the right? We need to make room in midfield for either Jota (who is a No 10, not a winger), Lansbury or Hourihane thus allowing Grealish to play further up the field rather than continually coming deep and receiving the ball from the centre backs. Given also our acknowledged lack of depth up front, wouldn’t a 4-4-2 system work better with (for example) Trezuget or Davis playing alongside Wesley. It also occurs to me that a 4-4-2 system is, where necessary, more easily adapted to a more defensive system without fundamentally changing the team set up?
Of course I was disappointed that we didn’t manage to secure a win but I didn’t feel the performance warranted the level of subjective criticism levelled at the players by some fans, nor do I think it’s particularly helpful at this stage in the development of the team.