Analysis & Ratings: Aston Villa v Wolves

I thought it would be a more open game. A game with lots of chances for both sides. But my supporter friend – on the other hand – at one point believed that we had the lead by three goals to nothing. But he was – I admit – a little drunk.

The referee was right, though, to rule the two first goals by Wolves out. I know that after watching a rerun. One was a clear offside and the other was out off the line before it reached Doylers head. But that showed the effort of our team. That we were on top of the game from start. Villa was not. They had a couple of runs and chances for sure, but nothing of any significance and certainly of no real threat to Hennessey and our defence.

In some way that was what differed the teams in the derby today. Wolves had the will to win, Villa had not. We were the better team because we wanted to win much more than they did. We cared much more. Why?

In my pre-game article I mentioned the row caused by Dunne and Collins in a get-together of the Villa team, but now I believe that was a sign of manager Houllier losing both the locker-room and – according to the noise from the Holte End – the most faithful supporters aswell.

They have the quality in the team to stay up, but player quality is not enough to stay in this league. In my opinion Monsieur Houllier has been out of top football managing too long and he is no longer the man to lead a Premier team. Aston Villa had it all but have squandered it by kicking O’Neill. What a waste!

But today that fact played to the advantage of Wolves and we are not to say that we are sorry about it and we played them very well indeed, not to find ourselves as an underdog to the supposedly big shots from Birmingham town.

From minute one we showed them that we ment business. We had multiple chances from start and our right-winger Hammill was the one who came through from his flank, feeding the box with balls. Wolves were dangerous and looked like scoring from very early on in the game.

The beautiful Jarvis goal did not come as a surprise – even if it was a cool way of doing it – as a volley finding the way into the net by the upright. I  thought that the dangerous front constellation of Villa would cause our defense lots of trouble, but they had very much problems to find a real opening past our defence. They simply couldn’t find the self-reliance to master the craft of attack. Or was it our defence that stopped them in their attempts. Of course it was, but maybe a little of both.

In the second half I expected the villans to come out with a renewed vigour, but  we were in fact still the ones who called the shots. Villa had a couple of fast counter attacks, yes, but they lacked real commitment and precision and our defence was in place, defending the area just outside the box much better than against Spurs.

Last ten minutes was of course an agony and I wanted to go to the loo so bad 😆 but that would have been deserting my team and I – and the team – did hold out to the end. A very deserved victory in a local derby against a team we had not registered a victory against for 31 years. What a treat. surely something to brag about in the workplace come Monday, all around the Midlands (and the rest of the world)!

Looking at the overall stats I find it interesting that we did not win the possession, accurate passing, tackles or corners, but we had the ball where it counts – on their half of the pitch. I believe that our territorial advantage shows that we were worthy winners of this game and that we play with pressure on our opponents in their half. A type of game that will make us successful against many teams in the future.

Looking at the tables we are still not out of the bottom three, but I can predict that we soon will be if we continue to play like this. As the Magpies flies at the moment – not in a straight line at all – we have all chances to fight ourselves to another important three-pointer in a fortnight. Watch this space!

below the ratings for the game against the Villa follows:

Hennessey – 7 – Didn’t have that much to do, actually, but grabbed the ball with both hands on a couple of occasions, so by hinder the Villans from taking advantage of rebounces. Glad to have him.

Foley – 8 – I’ll say it right away. One of the very best performances I’ve seen him do. He didn’t care if it was Downing. Albrighton or Agbonlahor that stood against him. He stopped them all and going forward he was on a couple of occasions instrumental to our attack, finding O’Hara, Doyler and other forward moving players every time. I know that he did one mistake in the game and some people will say that he is rubbish because of that, but wake up and look at all the good he did instead.

Kevin Foley was one of the reasons we could make it to the Premier in the first place and now he showed us that he is the man to make us stay there. Many were not convinced that he would make it in the top-tier, but he has proved them all wrong. He has been a strong deputy as a winger and even played in the middle, but at the right back there is no-one better in the club. Kevin Foley is Paddytheflea’s Star Man.

Stearman – 7 – From star man to Stearman the gap is not too far. As one of the best players in the field for the day he held the back line together and he was composed as always and stopped many attacks singlehandedly. He has become our rock to trust upon and together with Berra he makes us look as a solid team. The clean sheet is proof of that. Almost an eight.

Berra – 7 –  I remember he did a shocking mistake at some point in the game, but usually very reliable in defending. And he was instrumental in taking away a defender when Jarvo scored and I’ll give him an extra point for that. Sadly his header into the net didn’t count because of the offside. But I’m still not pleased at all about his passes. It was 50-50 in this game and that’s about the same in every game. Not good enough. He’s got somewhat of a wooden leg. But he helped out a lot stopping attacks on Elokobi’s flank.

Elokobi – 7 – Was very good in the first half, when Villa targeted his flank as the way to move forward. But with some help from Jarvo and Berra he succeeded in securing the flank from attacks most of the time. He actually outran Albrighton at one occasion. He is not at all as slow in movement as some people insists and he gives the team time to take a breath by kicking the ball far away in contrary to some others that have a nasty habit to give it away to the opposition standing closest.

Henry – 7 – Today he was one of our best and he did no mistakes at all. Faced with a very difficult task – as the inner midfield of Villa was very good and their attacking players are canny – he did go about it with both smartness and firmness. When he players like this he is an asset to Wolves and as a captain he probably has a big part to play in firing the others up both on the pitch and before the game. He is on top of his game now and one of the main reasons for the clean sheet.

Hammill – 7 – He was the best player on the pitch the first half an hour or so, but after Villa substituted their young full-back he had a rougher ride to get through. But he is a fresh feature in the Wolves mix and his crosses are sometimes ‘Beckhamesque’ in precision, a statement of a possible future for our young talent. But don’t move to the U.S. ffs. 😆 If Adam continuous to play like this Kightly will have a hard time to get into the starting eleven this season. According to the stats he tackled three times and he did win all three, which signals to me that he has toughened up. Thank you, McCarthy. 😉

O’Hara – 7 – Didn’t impress me much at first, but when I looked at a rerun of the game I could establish that he had very much ball and as usual he passed it around with high security (79% correct). He didn’t come through in the middle that much, but he had some close calls with his shots. Next time around he will score.

Milijas – 7 – Had a couple of shots on goal and he is actually our best at the noble art of tackling today. Maybe he should have passed the ball instead of taking a shot at one occasion, but we all know that we wouldn’t have had these thoughts if he had reached his target. And I’m sure he will in the upcoming games. With O’Hara and Ned we now have two strong and lethal weapons in the inner midfield and their stable play will be one of the main reasons for us staying up in this league, I’m sure.

Jarvis – 7 – Maybe a little weird to some that I didn’t give him the big star in this game, after Jarvo scoring that fantastic goal. Very well taken and it was not an easy task to put it in the net the way he did it and that will give him an extra point from me, but in play he was only average today, well-kept by the Villa defence. Actually the goal was about all he did at going forward, but he helped up very much in defence against the fast running Villa wingers.

Doyle – 8 – One of the best tonight and a world class player. Sadly he didn’t get the goal with his well taken header, but the referee was correct to dismiss it as the ball was clearly out of play before it reached our ace. He went close in the last stage of the game aswell, but as always it’s his work-rate and ability to hold up the ball that is amazing. When Sylvan cane on (and did a very good job) he dropped down to midfield and caused a lot of trouble to the Villa defence from there aswell. He will get my little star.

Thanx all from me!



~ by paddytheflea on March 20, 2011.

16 Responses to “Analysis & Ratings: Aston Villa v Wolves”

  1. How you can give Elokobi 7 is beyond me. Was rubbish throughout the 94 minutes.

    Great result though!

    • I don’t agree at all, Asleulv. When you play as a full-back the opposition will get through on a couple of occasions during a game, that’s inevitable. Especially when they have such good wingers as Downing and Albrighton and concentrates on getting through on that flank as they did in the first half. But Elokobi stopped them most of the time and helped to clear in the middle many times aswell.

      • I see your point, but how many times did he miss on a simple pass? 4-5-6 balls that should have gone to Jarvis ended up as a Villa throw. Absolutely dreadful distribution.

  2. Sorry, he may be a lovely chap, but George still has a long way to go. At least two very untidy clearances gave Villa serious opportunities. Elsewhere on the pitch you can get away with that, but sadly not at the back in this league.

  3. it was o´hara who should have played at one occation, not milijas.

  4. Why does Ebanks-Blake always get the nod over Fletcher when coming off the bench ? Fletcher, in my opinion is a more accomplished goal scorer and pretty good work rate as well.

  5. We’ve got a damn good team! A defender’s most important job is to defend, and Elokobi defends well. He has also improved his passing game, and will continue to do so. The players around him has a responsibility too – to make it easy for him to play it simple by being more mobile, and giving him several passing options.

  6. Thanks for the write up Paddy, a great result for all in old gold. For me Elokobi is one of the most entertaining Wolves to watch, and you are right about his turn of pace! With Jarvis tracking back, Berra sweating down oponents shirts, and Big George’s wry grin looming quickly closer I felt pretty confident about our left side for most of the game. Something I thought was interesting though, after reading through your post and the comments and reflecting on Elokobi’s game I was reminded of MM’s recent line in the press about the best advice he ever got was to ‘get the ball back first and then giving it to someone that can play’.
    or something along those lines…

  7. Great result but still in bottom 3 been there too long I think. Not confident we can stay up I am afraid.

  8. Paddy, have you noticed there’s 6 ponis between 18th place, and 8th place?
    I mean, imagine Wolves going on an unbeaten run until the season ends, where could we finish? Let’s be optimistic!
    Wolves play very well to be in the bottom three guys.
    It’s a matter of time before we get out of there and someone else is trapped down there for good.

    • I tried that predictor gadget at the BBC a couple of weeks ago, Erick and we will occupy position nine when this is over. 😆
      Newcastle have been on a bad run for a long time now and they were among the three going down in my prediciton.

  9. Looking at our remaining games I can’t see anything we should be concerned about – we could even go unbeaten if we keep playing as we are at the moment. Only Sunderland looks tricky – and I had thought Newcastle but they are on a stinker of a bad run and their home form isn’t too hot. I just wish we would stop trying to defend 1-0 leads and try to kill games off – Villa were there for the taking yesterday and I only hope the lack of extra goals doesn’t cost us in such a tight league. Plus let’s not forget the five first choice players who will be available again for the run in!

    • Yes, the future looks bright, ChrisR, but I’m sure that we will witness a couple of setbacks before the season is over. But that should not hinder us from staying up. We have the quality and the work-rate to do it.

  10. I am not sure I totally agree with your markings of our central defenders. Although both continued to play well Stearman has to be worth a point more than Berra from what I saw, surely??

    • You are correct that Stearman was the better one of the two in overall play, Terry, but Berra gets an extra point from me because of his contribution to the Jarvis goal. He fought Cuellar in the air for the ball. Without him the ball wouldn’t have dropped to Jarvo (and he may not have got his call-up from Capello to play for England). 😆

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