I seriously struggle to remember the last time I didn’t want to watch the second half of a Villa game as much as I did today.
There must have been plenty of occasions over the last few years where I’ve felt like that, as we’ve been incredibly poor at times, but I just don’t remember any that made me feel so disinterested.
I stuck with it though and while it might seem we were miles better in the second half after being three goals down at halftime, I don’t think that was quite the case.
So what went wrong here then?
Well, after Leeds overloading Matt Cash, it seemed we were acutely aware that the same might happen today and indeed even expected it.
It didn’t happen like that though, as Southampton’s fullbacks played very narrow and it seemed to me it just caught us out and we didn’t know what to do.
I think I said in the previous thread that I thought we were clueless and I think that probably sums things up. Southampton used the advantage in the middle to good effect and basically just constantly played through us.
It doesn’t help when you give Prowse-Ward free kicks in good positions and to be fair, he did take both very well, with Martinez being blameless.
It also didn’t help when everything you did went wrong, with even the normally reliable Douglas Luiz either falling over or giving the ball away at will.
Fair play to Southampton, they pressed us and we frankly just couldn’t handle it in the slightest.
That worried me and I now wonder if other teams will just use the same tactics to good effect?
When you consider we blitzed Liverpool, you have to wonder how we’re allowing it to happen to us.
The worrying thing for me was the management didn’t seem to see what was going on with Southampton’s narrow play and I have to hold my hands up and say I didn’t either, but nothing changed in that first half, except for Trezeguet coming on for the injured Traore.
To be fair, someone obviously saw what was happening and in the second half Targett was pushed up to assist Grealish, which made us look a more threatening side.
It was pretty much academic though and I always had the strong feeling that Southampton had just backed off massively, which made everything seem quite strange as McCarthy, their goalkeeper, was probably their man of the match in that half.
I’m not going to pick on anyone particularly for that first half performance, but the midfield generally was the liablity and when it’s that lightweight things are going to be difficult for everybody.
It’s Arsenal next up and well, that might be interesting to say the least.
It’s currently looking like we’ll be very glad of our good start in the first four games.