Aston Villa VS Crystal Palace 0-0 Review

Wow, another game another goaless result. We truly are in the middle of something special here at the Villa…


In recent years Aston Villa have found this ability to only do one thing at a time and during this stage in the season our chosen ability is possession. Now of course, possession is a great thing for any team, but as we have proven on more than one occasion earlier on in the season, you can have less than 40% and still win the game.

We started the game with Gabby, Benteke and Wiemann up front in what I can only assume was the hope that given consistent back to back games (as if they haven’t had all season last season and the season prior), the trio would finally start to form some kind of bond and score some goals between them against a team that is struggling just a bit more than us and in previous years would have been considered an easy 3 points. This was not the case.

From the get go, we held the majority of possession (74% in the first half) and passed the ball mostly through the midfield and defence. I actually thought our defence and midfield looked as strong as they have ever been. A lot of people may argue, but Bacuna looked good on the pitch, fancied his chances in front of goal (those that rarely appeared) and liked to try more creative passes. This was proven on the 9th minute when he broke forward with a refreshing attacking purpose only to rush the shot and miss. There was a perfectly good opportunity to pass to Gabby on the right hand side of the box as he had made a good run and was in plenty of space, but at the time, I remember thinking that i’m glad he shot because a lot of our players would have been too shy to attempt anything. In hindsight, I wish he had passed the ball.

The first 10 minutes of the game was a shaky one for Crystal Palace as they sat all men behind the ball until they figured out our game plan. It was also a bit depressing for us as the inevitable happened and Vlaar took a knock to the knee which minutes later ended his day.

Different matter entirely but I believe that Ron Vlaar should leave the club during this transfer window and we should attempt to maximise the selling price whilst he is still considered world class through his world cup appearance. He is old, very injury prone and with fresher legs on the bench who are proving themselves to be more than capable, it is time to let go. 

Clarke was brought on to replace him and he did a more than good enough job as he put his body on the line later in the game to prevent a  tap in goal.

Crystal Palace, although achieving less chances, they always seemed to be the ones that would score if given the opportunity and it almost happened when Bolasie burst through the line completely tearing the just on Clarke and Okore apart and hitting the cross bar in th e process. We was lucky and credit to Clarke for not taking the foul and red card for the team because it would have been a easier decision to make.

The only major intake from the pair came from Okore in the 11th minute when he scuffed he ball allowing Delaney to force Guzan into a save. He did save and it was offside anyway.

The game was pretty lack lusting, Sanchez seemed to play both defensive mid and at times he actually looked like the 3rd CB and the rest of the time he was a play maker. His work rate was incredible, it’s just a shame the front 3 did not match this notion.

Between the 3 forwards, the style can only be described as static and appalling. Benteke’s presence may be a nice pressure for the opposition, but what is the point if it isn’t utilised? The same happened with Bent. He didn’t help either as he expected the ball to be passed, at least he was there to receive it when it was passed.

Before the review gets too long winded, lets take a look at Grealish who replaced Cleverly with 25 minutes to go. He did make some mistakes this game, but in the big picture, the mistakes was results from him trying to break the defence and make the space for the rest of the team. His first touch of the ball got us a corner and it is getting to the point now where he must start a game and I honestly believe that Blackpool is the best opportunity to start and test the youngster. I’d also like to see Robinson get some play time and I mean why not? Why not test these players who want to play for us and score for us?

I’ve honestly got to stop writing now because I’m becoming wound up with the thoughts of if and why.

I think overall, Villa may not be scoring but the possession is a positive and the way our defence and midfield are starting to work together is a very good sign. We now lack the effort from the forward 3 who in my opinion should all have their wage packets docked for inconsistently failing to do the job they are being paid to do.

This transfer window needs a heavy enthuses on attacking ability with a glancing look at bringing in another CB to replace Vlaar. If we sell both delph and vlaar, we should have a good bit of pocket especially if Lerner adds more to the pot (and I believe he will).

This club still has the potential to be something great, we are keeping clean sheets, we are keeping possession, we now need to keep goals coming.

Mr cheese out hahahaha!


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  1. Hitchens 60
    Hitchens 60 January 2, 2015 at 5:32 pm . Reply

    Take your point Mr Cheese on the front three but our midfield is woefully short of quality in providing the sort of service that will consistently create goal scoring opportunities. It’s all very well playing the ball around in the midfield but the players need the ability to move it quickly when needed particularly to players running the channels (which our front three don’t seem to do that well – why?) Generally movement off the ball seems poor. I’m beginning to believe the overwhelming message from Lambert to the players is “don’t lose the game”

    1. Mr_cheese
      Mr_cheese January 2, 2015 at 6:13 pm . Reply

      The front 3 need to move. You could see that Lambert had given the front 3 a talking to during half time because they picked up in the seond half, but they shouldn;t have to be told things like this. When they moved, passes actually happened because they created the space for the midfield and defence to feed it through.

      I still believe the Midfield played a good game and if the strikers moved around more in a tactical manner, then we would be on to something. 2/3 of our team is currently seems to be playing. We just need that final 1/3 to get going and I honestly think we will start to see some good football.

      I do not know what will happen if Lambert doesn’t get funds for this window to buy for those areas. But I do know that what we are currently trying is not working and i’d much rather see 2 up front than 3 at least the way these lot are playing anyway.

      1. Hitchens 60
        Hitchens 60 January 2, 2015 at 7:33 pm . Reply

        I think we miss Westy more than we realise; Sanchez for me is special – how long before the big boys come snooping? I’m not convinced by Cleverley; perhaps it’s just about confidence? He did take a hell of a battering from the manure boo boys last season.

        1. Andrew
          Andrew January 2, 2015 at 7:40 pm . Reply

          Sanchez is 29 in a month. I think we got him at an age where none of the big boys will be looking to take him off us, unless it’s possibly a bigger club in Spain or Italy, maybe Germany. But that’s largely if they want him, but they seem to want younger quality players. And he has 48 caps for Colombia, so it’s not like he’s a new name so I think we’ll be fine with keeping him.

          1. Hitchens 60
            Hitchens 60 January 2, 2015 at 8:09 pm . Reply

            So why would any of them want Vlaar who is also injury prone?

          2. Andrew
            Andrew January 2, 2015 at 8:47 pm . Reply

            Vlaar confirmed they don’t though. He said no one of the caliber of teams he’d leave us for have come in. Plus lasting as a CB is easier than lasting as a DM.

  2. Andrew
    Andrew January 2, 2015 at 6:16 pm . Reply

    I agree the midfield had a good game, bar Cleverley who didn’t seem to be doing much. I like him as a player but he’s not the kind of player needed against teams like Palace. Bacuna’s stamina and Sanchez’s defensive qualities are enough to protect the defense. Definitely needs to learn when to play which players, Lambert does.

  3. jvillan
    jvillan January 2, 2015 at 10:31 pm . Reply

    when was last time villa midfielder got more than 3league goals in a season

  4. jvillan
    jvillan January 2, 2015 at 10:31 pm . Reply

    or even got ahead of front men

  5. Ifiruledtheworld
    Ifiruledtheworld January 2, 2015 at 10:51 pm . Reply

    Being linked with Sam Byram now.

  6. Andrew
    Andrew January 3, 2015 at 3:37 am . Reply

    Replacing Lowton and Byram… Oh okay.

    1. Andrew
      Andrew January 3, 2015 at 3:38 am . Reply

      Lowton with Byram*

      1. Ifiruledtheworld
        Ifiruledtheworld January 3, 2015 at 11:59 am . Reply

        Cash has been mentioned as well, not sure which way but I imagine it would be Lowton and cash for Byram?

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