Well, it’s not very often any side comes back from 2-0 down against Man Utd, let alone the Villa, but that’s exactly what we did and it was enough to change me from another Man U game of despair to being somewhat disappointed that we didn’t get the third goal to go on and win it.
It’s a bit difficult to aim the sights at players when we’ve just demonstrated great fighting for the cause, but I think we have too many issues to just gloss over things.
Let’s concentrate on the first half, where we were scandalously poor.
Martinez’s mishandle from a straightforward shot from a free kick was incredibly sloppy and normally would get a goalkeeper absolute pelters. The trouble is, he’s been so good for us that even miserable old me thinks he deserves a break. I’ll let him off then.
But the fact is that error after just a few minutes led to us being on the back foot and not being at all at the races.
We were making too many mistakes, giving the ball away too much and we just had too many players that were totally ineffective or worse still, just plain invisible. Our continued poor passing, even over just a few yards is beyond words.
Ramsey may have got the man of the match award, but he was one of the biggest culprits in being invisible.
But just as has been far too often the case, he wasn’t alone.
Luiz was in my opinion very poor and Ings was just totally non-existant.
I said it in the previous comments, but I feel Ings just does not do enough and it’s almost like we’re playing with a man down. I know he can add things occasionally, but for me, it’s just not enough.
When you have a midfield that’s just being overrun (again), I just feel you’d be way better going with just Watkins up top and bolstering the midfield with a fifth man. At least until we have another grafter who can be the counter to our creative sort of players.
Things did get better in the first half, but it still wasn’t good enough.
We came out much better in the second half, but then a hideous backpass from Sanson, who’d until then had a very decent game gave them another chance for an easy goal.
I thought it was pretty much all over at that point, because it didn’t seem our day again, but Coutinho came on and we were looking too good for Man U.
Buendia, who was head and shoulders my man of the match (although I can see why Ramsey gets the plaudits) was the driving force behind much of our game and his vision and passing can be a delight to watch. That does leave plenty of things to go wrong, but I think he’s a fantastic player and he’s only getting better.
Digne made a very promising start, adding some decent attacking width on our left and the truth be told, a lot more than Matt Targett offers. I have to be honest and say I never really considered how he did from a defensive point of view, although I do remember one Man U effort where Digne was near enough on our goal line.
After me slating Ramsey for his non-existent first half, he had an earlier chance that didn’t net. And then he received a ball from Coutinho after good work from Chukwuemeka and shot into their net to send the ground up to volume 11. Scoring against Man U is such a fantastic feeling.
And then Ramsey returned the favour and fed Coutinho who scored in his Villa debut. 2-2 it was and we were all dreaming of a 94th minute win, just for a pleasant change.
But it wasn’t to be.
Our defence worries me.
Man U were gifted 2 goals. Martinez’s howler was out of character, but I do wonder if he’s now lacking confidence in our back four and it’s rubbed off on him? He’s made a couple of mistakes recently, but he’s still an excellent goalie. I suppose we just have to hope he gets through it, which I’m sure he will.
Konsa seems to have hurt his hip and that would now seem to make our search for a centre back even more important.
We need a box to box midfielder who’s going to show when the rest are lacking and this is the area where we ought to push the boat out.
Bissouma is supposedly the answer and if so, we ought to get in there and just get him. There was a time when we wouldn’t have considered a player who has been accused of sexual offences, but I’d guess we’re a lot more forgiving nowadays and the good news is that I’ve noticed that while his friend in his forties has been bailed and has to go back to the police, Bissouma himself has been released while investigations are carried out and he has no restrictions wrt his travel. In other words, there’s a good chance he’s totally innocent and will be freed from any charges.
Back to the game and normally we’d be very happy with this result.
To some, I can understand that it seems like a victory after being two down.
But to me, it feels like a loss.
When oh, when will we do the double over those Red Devils?
Maybe next time eh?
Onwards and upwards!