Villa Blog Header Image
Villa Blog Header Image

Aston Villa are quickly becoming a long ball team, playing not to lose

Poor football and poor performances don't bother me that much any more. Knowing that our season is over already also doesn't bother me that much either.

What bothers me is I knew what the manager was going to say after the match, before he said it. And what bothers me even more is it's now become about how many 'clear cut' chances we had in a match.

Yesterday, West Ham were better than us in ever department. West Ham didn't start with a recognised striker and they had lost their last three matches at home and last won on the opening day of the season.

But because we had the better clear cut chances, it's okay to play the way we did. It doesn't matter that West Ham made almost 200 more successful passes than we did, five times as many corners and twice as many actual shots ... no, because we had the most clear cut chance.

What really bothers me is that we didn't go to West Ham to win. We played like McLeish; to not lose.

Long ball football

But what still bothers me more than anything is that we're a long ball team. We sit back and we hit long. Occasionally that long ball happens to drop favourably for us so we create something. When it doesn't, we're just giving it back to the opposition and we're defending again.

Weimann is getting stick for not scoring but it's hardly as if we're creating that many opportunities for him or the other strikers. And people are starting to give a bit of stick to Ciaran Clark and the other defenders because they're making mistakes; but that is because they are having to much more than anyone else and they're busier.

What do people expect when our game is based so much around sitting back?

But don't let anyone tell you any different; we're a long ball team at the moment and it's summed up by Guzan pushing everyone up when he has the ball and him hitting it long.

Yesterday of his 27 passes out of his area, 23 were long. Of those 23, only seven made it to one of our players. That means 16 passes were just given back to the West Ham side. Well, actually, it's 17, because one of his short passes didn't make it also.

Scrap that, let the manager tell us it's not long ball football, instead long passing and if anyone wants to believe that rubbish, then you accept we've got much bigger problems, because of the 64 long passes yesterday, if that is actually what it is, only 27 were successful.

That in itself just goes to prove that it's long ball football, because they were mostly all speculative and not passes. We were just hitting it long hoping that one would fall for us. It's not the right way.

In summary

It's going to get better, we sort of know this. We know this because it can't get much worse. We're playing McLeish football, not wanting to lose when we should be going out to win games.

It will get better because it finally did last season. But it has to get better much sooner than last season or we're not moving forward. It has to happen quite soon otherwise it's going to get messy.

The manager

On balance we had the best clear-cut chances, with Christian hitting the bar and Andreas going through. It was always going to be hard here and it was a difficult, physical game, but we competed brilliantly. Our counter-attacking is a threat and I'm delighted with the lads' attitude and I thought our resilience was excellent.

The captain