Analysis & Ratings: Aston Villa v Wolves

Despite very accomplished strikers in both teams the game ended a goalless draw. suprising? Not, really, both McLeish and McCarthy thinks safety first and strives to get all the players to defend all over the pitch and get behind the ball.

The first twenty minutes or so it looked like either or both of the teams would score, though. Wolves had their best chance in the game when Stephen Hunt came on to a long cross from Ward, but under pressure from a defender he headed straight into the arms of Given from up close.

After that Villa started to take over possession more and more, but both team defended well so the chances were few and far between and the defences were very good at holding their own and keeping hold on the danger men on both sides.

My thought after the first half was that Wolves would not be able to get a point from the game if they continued to play like they did in the second half of the first half and my fears almost came through.

If it wasn’t for a change of tactics after the hour Wolves would have lost this game, I’m sure, but McCarthy substituted both wingers and Foley came on for Hunty while Elokobi occupied the left back position while Ward moved up in midfield in Jarvis place.

That did the trick, really, Foley is our best holder of the ball and with both him and grafter Ward in midfield we seized more control of the game and a point didn’t look that distant anymore. We even managed to pull pressure on the strong Villa team with a row of corners towards the end of the game, but went never really close of taking the lead.

This was the ultimate test of our team and they passed it. It was first and foremost a tactical triumph for Mick McCarthy but also for our defending all over the pitch. We are a hard working TEAM most of all and the ability to defend well will give us many extra points this season, in contrast to the last.

Boring? Perhaps, but I rather see a boring team picking up extra points than a spectacular one going forward and ending up losing games. To the ratings.

Hennessey – 7 – Had a very good game again, but our players upfront didn’t manage to take control of the balls he kicked out for some reason. Made three good saves and was very alert in the area. Hennessey is the cliff we need in the back and he helped the team to secure a point. He gets the smiley!

Stearman – 8 – Had the hardest task of all this day. To stop Agbonlahor. This was one of the two big battles on the pitch and Stears came out of the ordeal on the fore.

Yes, Agbonlahor managed to get through on a couple of occasions, but he is one of the very best forwards in the world and looks to be in form, so to hold him back is a great accomplishment from a young, unknown defender from the West Midlands. Richard Stearman is Paddytheflea’s Star Man!

Johnson – 7 – Managed to contain Bent, practically making him invisible to his peers on the pitch. Also the manager of the back four, a job praised by todays Star Man Stearman among others. A large part of the clean sheet is in his doing.

Berra – 7 – In play he had more to do than Johnson and he did it very well. Very good in the air. Potentially Villa has one of the very best forward lineups in the league and to stop them renders high grades for a defence.

Ward – 8 – Fantastic play in three games now. Consistent in the back and strengthened our midfield when most needed. Also close to an assist and had a penalty claim.

Had a hard task stopping N’Zogbia and – like Stears with Agbonlahor – did well most of the time, irritating him enough when he typically moved towards the center of the area trying to get room for a shot or finding the pass. Ward gets my little star!

Henry – 6 – Excellent in first half before Villa started to put more pressure on our back four. His passing was though not good enough and he is not good enough when under pressure. Does not find our wingers with his passes, but helped out the back four defending very well on many occassions.

O’Hara – 7 – Had a hard time when Villa started to press on and their midfield looked stronger than our. Had a lot of ball, but didn’t manage to get it up and to hold it up. Came back very strong after Foley came on and Ward moved up. Our midfield became much stronger then and allowed him to do what he is best at.

Hunt – 6 – Started very optimistic and was the engine we love to see in action. When Villa gained more and more of the game he disappeared more and more from the game. Gets an extra point for the chances he created and got the first twenty minutes. Very close to score.

Jarvis – 5 – Had a very hard time against young Ossie Herd who was the best player on the pitch. Neutralised him most of the time and he didn’t get the space to work his magic. With Capello watching he should have done better, but he will be back.

Doyle – 6 – Found himself against a very good Villa defence and weren’t given the time or space to get hold of the ball most of the time. Defended well from upfront as usual, though, which renders him an extra point, but I want to see more from him.

Fletcher – 5 – The same as Doyle, but he doesn’t possess the same skills as Doyler at defending from the front and became invisible at times.

Elokobi and Foley came in to late to get ratings, but they both helped a lot to hold the ball up, by that securing a point in this game.

Highlights in link in the right margin



~ by paddytheflea on August 28, 2011.

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

  1. Difficult to disagree though I was disappointed in the passing skills from the midfield. Certainly pushing Ward and Foley into midfield helped solidify the team but some creative spark from there was missing. I would rather have seen Milijas come on in place of either Fletcher or Doyle (both of whom were very average at holding the ball up). Milijas, unlike, Henry, can pass the ball forward, has a shot on him and can supply good quality dead balls.

    • I second you on that, Bill. Milijas for Doyle or Fletch would have been to strengthen our chances in the games latter stages.

  2. I was expecting Milijas to add to Midfield instead of switching the wingers. I also thought O’hara was very poor and aided considerably to the poor game Doyle and fletcher had. He kept chipping the ball and sending slow long passes which were easily intercepted. When playing smaller men against big unmobile defenders, why continuously chip the ball onto there chests and heads?? Looked un fit as played better early on.

  3. We’re solid defensive unit but lack alternatives to Doyle and Fletcher up front. Some teams get desperate before transfer deadline. Wolves should be one of those teams. Emnes scored for Midlesbrough, again, and would be an excellent alternative.

  4. A good appraisal Paddy! I agree with you entirely about our back four, they were immense today and earned us the point. I also agree with Stearman as your choice for “star man”. He achieved this despite having to play out of his preferred position.

    My only quibble is over your marking for JOH – I thought he was poor and not up to his usual level. He almost seemed lost as to what to do with ball at times during the second half. To be fair other than our back four and of course Hennessey I felt the rest of the team seemed to lack a bit of drive and direction but after our great start it seems almost churlish to criticse!

    I would also like to pay tribute to an astute use of substitutes by Mick.
    It proved to be exactly what the team needed and was implemented just at the right time. Our manager does seem to have grown into the job along with the team.

    We have two home games next against Spurs and then QPR. There is no reason at all why we should not come away from them with our unbeaten run extended and at least 4 points. [although 6 would be cushtie!!]

  5. A good report Paddy and i agree with most points. I know you are not a great fan of Henry and Foley really steadied the side when he came on.
    With Stearman and Zubar contesting right back do you think Foley would be a more accomplished choice in front of the back four ? I also agree that a few outstanding performers against Fulham had an offday yesterday.

  6. Totally agree with what others have said here. Thought Ward was our best player with some great runs past several players and that Hennessey was fantastic cutting out two or three dangerous crosses. Also agree O’Hara had a poor game and gave the ball away too often and would have liked to see Milijas on – especially with the free kick towards the end. Still think we are short up front with SEB picking up an injury – if either Doyle or Fletcher had to go off I don’t feel Vokes is going to cause the opposition enough of a threat.

  7. Agbonlahor….one of the best forwards in the world!??! Stearman did ok but is really a cb playing at right back. I’m sure mr reliable foley will be back there before too long

  8. Vokes hasn’t really had his chances to prove otherwise. And Maierhofer’s playing time was just tragic. Dzeko needed a lot of time before he started banging them in, and it wasn’t just adjustments to premier. It was the players around him as well. The stronger the Man city team grew, the better played Dzeko (last night the distribution was formidable and he scored 4). When Maierhofer arrived we hadn’t nowhere as good a team as we have now a days. Last season we were the team with most crosses.

    And why didn’t we sign up J.Barton? Too bad he went to QPR. They are really on spending spree. Barton(Newcastle), Young (A Villa), Wright (Man City) and a striker from Celtic. If they get Wright they have too much quality to get relegated.

    The biggest underachievers so far have been Sunderland. If Bruce don’t get more out of his squad or buy some new players to change his team’s luck, I would set my money on him getting fired first of all the managers in premier league.

  9. I agree it would have be nice to see The Hoff a bit more to be able to judge him better. However MM has been proved right in the past about the likes of Freddie Eastwood who many of us said the same about so hopefully he got the decision to allow him to go right too. My concern about Vokes is on loan in lower divisions he’s hardly been a huge success – even with playing time, so can he ever cut it at the top level?

    • Actually The Hoff played his first game for Red Bull yesterday. A goalless draw like ours. He played beside their striker Alan who was injured towards the end of the game, so maybe Maierhofer will play alone upfront in the future. This system (4-4-2) didn’t work anyway, but a draw against Rapid Vienna is a good result.

      I don’t believe that Maierhofer has a great future in football and absolutely not in Premier League. Nobody else wanted him then Salzburg for just a million so that speaks words to me. I’m also sure that McCarthy and TC has watched him enough in training to make the right decision about his future in the club. That is not to say The Hoff want be a success in the Austrian Bundesliga. I believe he will score a lot of goals as the standard is about the same as League Two or lower.

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