Villa 0 – 0 Sunderland; Hard to call this one

What is it about the Villa going down to ten men?
That’s the third time in four games I believe and it’s either incredible bad luck or there’s something basically wrong.
I’m tempted to go with the first option myself.
While I don’t think Delph was malicious in the tackle and it looked fairly innocuous when seen live, I believe the ref called it right in giving the red. You just can’t go in like that these days, especially with the slippers that the players wear, which afford little to no protection.
Metatarsals and all that stuff springs to mind, so no complaints from me on that front.

As for the game generally, I don’t know what to think.
It was played between two very average teams and was strewn with errors, poor passing and poor crossing.
The truth is neither of us looked much like scoring and the less said about the first half, the better.

That said, again I’m struggling to really criticise anyone, as none of them played particularly badly.
If I have to pick flies about some of the players, I actually think Lambert got the subs right.

Bacuna was a good replacement for N’Zogbia, who although he was better than of late was not particularly great. The team needed beefing up once we’d gone down to ten men, in my opinion.

Okore replaced Clark and while the latter hadn’t done much wrong, he hadn’t done anything that I noticed either.

And Grealish came on for Cleverley.
Another correct call, as for me Cleverley offers absolutely nothing.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.
We really shouldn’t be looking to buy him unless it’s a squad player type price, ie a couple of million quid.

I know I’ve previously said that Grealish needs treating carefully, but the fact is he created more in a few minutes than the rest of the attack did in all of the previous part of the game.
I’m now joining the clamour for him to start, especially against the weaker teams, like Palace.

Benteke had a bit of a torrid time and in fairness Sunderland marshalled him pretty well, although I thought he was harshly done by on at least a couple of occasions.

On the plus side, I thought Vlaar was excellent, one howler apart.
And what about Sanchez?
Yes, he gave the ball away a few times, but he was no worse than anyone else and I really like the player. He has great vision and an eye for a pass into space.
Good enough to possibly move further up the field and maybe be the creative No 10 that we so crave, in my opinion. Not that that’ll happen under Lambert.

All in all, it was a boring game mostly, although it did liven up near the end.

While I said in the preview that only three points would be good enough today, I suppose you can’t knock the fact that we held on for the point.

I still feel that’s two points dropped overall though and we have to beat the teams around us, especially at home, if we’re to stay away from yet another relegation fight.


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  1. Jay Dee
    Jay Dee December 29, 2014 at 5:46 pm . Reply

    I really hope we bring in a more creative Midfielder to fill Delphs boots.I also hope we bring in someone to take Westwoods place as he isn’t much cop either.Time Villa spent some proper money in the right places instead of 2nd div muck utv

  2. OriginalLondonLion
    OriginalLondonLion December 29, 2014 at 7:50 pm . Reply

    I thought I would add to the praise for Sanchez – who played his best game for us and really showed up Delph by doing his job as well when he went off.

    On to the topics of Lambert’s success with the defence and failures further forward. The key thing IMO is the defence now play for each other. Individual blunders apart – they do not make the mistake of leaving one opponent unmarked while double covering another any more. They also anticipate what a colleague will produce with a tackle and are moving to the best place to cover as he makes it.

    There are excuses why the midfield do not show the same cohesion, they are never the same 4 or 3 players from one game to the next. but I think Sanchez and Westwood can form a partnership and I would like to see them selecting the other 1 or 2 players and telling them their roles. I would like to think Grealish could play in the position that Ramsey Wilshire or Rooney (lately) play in, but I am not sure he is robust enough yet.

    The real failing though is in the attack, who do not have the excuse of constant changes. Weimann, Gabby and Tekkers play like strangers – moreover strangers who do not like each other. Any two or all three will need to be changed before it improves.

    If you can get the whole team to play for each other, pass to anybody, not just their mates, and cover for each other you can achieve a lot with jobbing players. Look at Bournemouth for proof.

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