Aston Villa double post-mortem: Sunderland and Manchester United

I say this is a sort of double post-mortem, because you are not going to get what a normal post-mortem gets, mostly because I am busy, but I've also looked at a few things and I have an opinion. Of that, you will not be surprised, but I also wanted to get it on the dubdubdub.

You see, I could copy and past links to newspaper sites that are publishing stories about us, but we all sort of know what they are saying and you would have read them already. Instead, just for these two matches, I'm going to post what I think are important points to factor in to how we beat Manchester United and Sunderland.

Now, first to Manchester United and for me, it was a game of two halves. The first, we actually had them on the back foot at times, chasing the ball. The second, was very much about holding on and countering. We did both jobs extremely well and I think it fair to say that everyone of us is happy with the performance.

But, did you see how we set ourselves up and did you see how we play? Yes, you did and we did almost the same last night. For the first half in both games it was almost a 4-4-1-1 with Heskey dropping back occasionally and getting involved but also acting as a channel to Gabby. It was nice and I think that suits Heskey.

But also, we are passing it about a lot more and that really does please me.

Against Spurs, a match I really wasn't happy about, we made a total of 230 passes. Not all of them were successful but for most of the game, we looked a little like Birmingham City when we went to them this season. They were more interested in not losing than winning and I think the same could be said with our match against Spurs.

But then we met Hull and we made 275 passes and won 3-0. We then played United and made 239 passes (okay, most in the first half, but still an improvement and when you consider what we did in the second, pretty impressive) and last night we beat Sunderland, with 250.

But, it isn't just about numbers, as I am told so often. We had out and out evidence last night. The first goal was a mix of controlled and intricate passing. Okay, not many passes but all very good and I don't think many players would have seen what Milner saw, but the moment of the match for me was when Webcam struck the post.

I don't know how many exactly, I just remember watching and thinking 'we're doing it'. Was it fifteen passes, maybe more, probably more, but it resulted in us slicing open the Sunderland midfield and defence and it was only a post that saved Sunderland.

Now, I know that passing is a thing I have at the moment but I did put the style of football we were playing down as a big factor for why I was struggling with confidence or as some have implied, my faith, but things are looking up. We might be only taking small steps but they are the first ones and the most important ones.

My views are not going to change overnight, much like they didn't change overnight from blind faith to sitting on the fence, but if we continue this trend, I'll be more than happy at the end of the season, because I would expect us to, if we continue to pass it about and then hopefully one day focus on possession as well as the passing, do better than last season.

But you all know I'd take 8th place if we were to lift some silverware, but watching the football get better helps and while seeing Milner in the middle, make a whole heap of difference is also very pleasing on the eye and if he scores another one or two like the one did last night, I've got a feeling there will be a special award coming to him at the end of the season.

Man of the Match Results

So, the last thing for me to do is tell you who won man of the match votes. For Manchester United it was Richard Dunner with 118 votes (23.2%) and for Sunderland last night and you won't be surprised by this, it went to James Milner with 208 votes (58.9%).