When the game started, I wondered what was going on, as it became immediately apparent that the three centre backs were pretty much holding each other’s hands, while the wingbacks seemed to take their normal positions.
Even though we’re normally quite narrow for the most part, it was just something that immediately hit me and something I’d never noticed before.
I don’t profess to be a master tactician and I don’t really study our positioning etc, but it seemed that as the game went on it was a specific tactic in going out of our way in stopping the Man City attack coming straight down the middle, something they always do to great effect.
I’d appreciate your comments on that, if indeed there’s anything to talk about there, but to me, it just seemed different. Something that seemed at odds with the way Lambert normally sets us up.
Back to my usual generalities then and didn’t we look poor for the first twenty minutes or so?
It was totally backs to the wall stuff and I believe possession at one stage was down to 22 or 23%.
Exactly what I didn’t want to see from a side that had nothing to lose.
But, even though City had chances, the defence held out and then around the 30-40 minute period, we actually had the audacity to outplay the Champions-elect on their own turf.
“I knew we should have gone at them” I was saying to myself.
But City’s class brought them back into it and both teams went in 0-0 at half time.
What was pretty much a siege continued and it was pretty obvious we’d concede eventually.
When we did, our heads dropped somewhat, as you’d expect.
But the lads didn’t give up and indeed came back with some play of their own.
A few minutes later, it was 2-0 and then with the pressure off City, there was only way things were going to go.
Not that we deserved to lose 4-0, after holding out so well for an hour.
The gulf in class was there for all to see tonight.
But do you know something?
I was actually proud of that performance.
Ok, it wasn’t the out and out entertainment I wanted, but I felt they tried their hearts out and you can’t ask more than that.
At least we didn’t totally roll over from the off (McLeish anybody?) and we put up a fight, that earned a ten out of ten award for effort from me.
But then, I’m not totally happy.
I don’t want to see a Villa team play like that.
It’s just that we aren’t good enough to have realistically done anything different, are we?
Let’s hope that changes next season.