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!