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.