Rodriguez 48′ Osvaldo 69′
Agbonlahor 15′ Kozák 64′ Delph 80′
St.Mary’s - 4th December, 2013
Referee : Jonathan Moss
Attendance : 29,814
Okay, here goes.
Quick player by player, because I'm at work and it is lunchtime, but just a bit of the way that I saw the game and a few special mentions, positive and negative.
Gazzaniga ... honestly, although he didn't have a lot of chance with the first and the last, if Artur had been playing, the second one would not have gone in. I think he would have come and got it, or made the save if not possible to reach it. Saying that, he was very unfortunate to be put behind a nice copy of last year's comedy defence. He doesn't fill me with confidence, but he is the best we have left, which makes me think our recruitment policy needs a good slap.
Clyne ... Yesterday he was in turn, quite good and then quite indifferent. Ultimately though, we lost it all when he went off, if we hadn't already when Victor got crocked. We will miss him, but honestly, I think he will come back better for the rest, the younger players are suffering with this "one team however big the squad" policy we have.
Dejan ... Should have shown Gabby onto his left for the first goal, but was pretty exposed, so I can't blame him too much for that. Showed his vulnerability in the air. It comes to something when Cork is the one that has to take control of Benteke when it comes to an aerial attack! Hopefully not damaged too severely when trying to be the brick wall to Benteke's battering ram?
Maya ... Why was he playing? Made no sense to me whatsoever, if he did need to cover José he should have used Jos who, at least, has played this year in the first team in the premiership. Honestly, a pretty dreadful performance that did improve but by then it was way too late.
Shaw ... Basically played as a left midfielder, as far as left midfielder's go he was pretty average, with a distinct tendency to be unable to cross the ball with his left foot past the outside of the full-back. A distinct liability. If I could think of somebody to replace him with £30 million, I would buy him on last night's performance. Thankfully I don't expect this to continue to be the case, but nevertheless it was disappointing.
Big Victor ... Looked good for a while, still tried to do some things the hard way, but wasn't he a big miss when he was gone? I don't know what his injury is, but it could define our season if it is a long one.
Adam ... Very tricky, but couldn't do anything about being double teamed all night, should pull the trigger more often as well. Not the worst performance from him though and he was very lively if not as effective as he has been.
JWP ... I thought he was a little ineffective, but didn't really understand why he was brought off when he was. Maybe he was injured? Nevertheless, is looking tired and is one of a number of our younger players that could really do with a rest. He's not going to get one though, which is a bit worrying.
Davis ... He was excellent, without a doubt our Man of the Match. Very good going forward, intelligent and terrierlike. I thought his performance last night was excellent, considering we still lost and he is a little out of practice himself.
Rodriguez ... One of his better performances. Alternating between great shots and headers and poor ones, but nevertheless, an important goal and good running.
Lambert ... Still our most intelligent player. If only we had another few years left in those legs, and two of him. Thought the freekick was a little poor, but we looked better with him on, than we do without him.
Dani O ... I've had it with him now. Too many times last night he did things that were just inexplicable. This is nothing to do with him not being used to playing with the other players and everything to do with his style of play. He is clearly not a bad player, he has skill and dedication to the cause, but he just can't play in our team and unless something dramatic changes about that in the next two days, I can't see he's going to be useful to us at all. On last night's performance, honestly I would sell him and get someone else. Not sure who, but definitely someone else, someone who actually does what a centre forward is supposed to do, or what a Southampton player is supposed to do, neither of which he does.
José ... Shouldn't have been brought on, don't really know what to say about him?
Cork ... Got better, but honestly looked about as poor as I've ever seen him look. Indecisive and off the pace, all things I'm sure can be improved with gametime, just not sure we have the downtime to allow this? Anyway, the way injuries are going, it doesn't matter, we will see him again and I hope he will be sharper.
Ultimately, very disappointing game last night, not because of the result. The winning goal for them was an absolute screamer and there's no shame to losing from those kind of things, it was more our lack of decisiveness upfront and our tactical frailties which were very apparent against Chelsea.
In fact they were exactly the same frailties we had last year when we played WBA, that's an inexcusable oversight.
I have been asking to see plan B for a long time, and now I've seen it, I wish I hadn't.
The only other thing I want to say is that our supposed strength in depth is now more than ever being shown to be what it is, an illusion. If you can't make a few changes and keep things consistent against a bad team (and Villa were bad), then even more injuries against City will be scary to behold.
5th December 2013
02 Clyne (Fonte - 59' Booked )
12 Wanyama (Cork - 45' )
16 Ward-Prowse (Osvaldo - 38' Booked )
07 Lambert Booked
04 Vlaar (Lowton - 45' )
08 El Ahmadi (Weimann - 86' Booked )
27 Kozák Booked (Benteke - 66' )
Aton Villa 22%
Aston Villa 6
Aston Villa 3
Aston Villa 2
Aston Villa 13