It was a Lambert 11 lining up against Spurs, with the exceptions of Grealish and Lescott that closed out the Sherwood era. A poor looking line up that screamed “LOSS!!!” before a ball was even kicked.
The line-up smacked of politics as if Kevin McDonald was snubbing his nose at the scouts that had recruited the French lads in the summer, like he was saying Sherwood didn’t want those players and look what we are left with?
Villa was behind in 2 ½ minutes and the uphill struggle was now a mountain for a side with 9 goals all season. Clarke playing out of position at right centre back was too tight on Dembele who turned him inside out. Clark kept holding on, but had to let go inside the area as referee Mike Dean waved advantage. DEMBELE hit a low strike and as usual the ball went through Guzan’s legs and it was 1-0.
Villa actually defended well for the rest of the half and Sinclair worked hard upfront, but overall Villa’s effort in the final third was shambolic, with poor passing.
Just before half time Westwood got an elbow to the face from Dembele and had to leave the field. Ayew was an odd replacement, but as the game went on it showed to be a shrewd substitution.
In 1st half injury time, Lescott’s poor header fell to Dele Alli who was not closed down by 4 players quickly enough and he cooly finished.
Villa added Gestede to the team for the clean shirted Agbonlahor who had done less than nothing for 45 minutes and might as well have stayed on the team bus.
Spurs looked in control without ever looking particularly good and after two more poor passes by Grealish McDonald had had enough and Carles gil came on. Gil immediately provided the spark missing and villa actually began to look decent. It now began to seem as if Spurs had been playing against 8 men previously.
Ayew began to wake up and realized that Sinclair was being left to take on 3 players with no help, once he came over to help, Villa had longer possession. Still Ayew holds the ball too long and missed a great opportunity to give Gestede the service he craves.
Ayew went on one jinking run seemingly going nowhere and laid off to Bacuna whose shot hit the post from 20 odd yds out. Not long after Spurs messed up in defence and Gestede hit a shot that Deier blocked for a corner. Villa finally got the lead. Again Spurs were in a mess and Gestede won the bal, lost it and then Ayew won it again. He ran forward and his shot took a big deflection leaving Lloris stranded, 2-1.
Ayew had a fizzing shot that went a foot over and Bacuna’s cross to Gestede caught Lloris off his line but the header went tamely wide.
Spurs caught themselves and took control of the game and late in stoppage time Villa was stopped as it pushed forward and Kane was unmarked on the far post as Spurs worked the ball right to left and back again to make it 3-1.
Again, Villa kept it close, but a battering does seem likely especially with man City up next.
Garde can take some positives, but he needs to cut out the shoddy passing. Richardson, who didn’t play that badly, had the ball in acres of space on the left when it was 2-1. He looked right, then looked upfield, saw no better option, looked right again, pushed the ball ahead and wound up for the pass. By now the entire Spurs team knew where the ball was going, not to mention the entire crowd and perfectly accurate cross field pass was easily cut out by a defender.
Grealish hit a through ball to Sinclair with absolutely no pace on it. Even without two defenders, I doubt the ball would have reached him. Moments later he looked up and saw Richardson moving down the left. As soon as he looked up and shaped his foot I could see it would be cut out. Clive Allen called it poor.
Gil is 10 times the player Grealish is right now and why he isn’t starting only Sherwood and Mcdonald can explain. Hopefully garde will figure out who his best starting 11 is and soon.
Guzan 6.5 better clearances made a good save and again let a goal through his legs.
Hutton 6.5 Great work, poor crossing, not sure he even got a cross in.
Clark 6 Played out of position. Needs to be on the left, Okore would be a better option or Ilori. Poor on the goal
Lescott 6.6 Overall better than recent games. Bad clearance on the goal.
Richardson 6 Only, Amavi’s tendency to give the ball away is why this player is even thought of as a starter. Hurry up and learn Jordan!!
Westwood. 5.5 I am joining the Westwood out bandwagon very slowly.
Sanchez 6.7 Great heart. I know there is one VillaMad poster that has it in for him, but he was pretty damn good out there.
Bacuna 6.5 The lad can play a through ball. He has a decent shot. He works hard, but his short passing is scary. He loses possession too easily, but you can’t rule him out, he hangs around.
Sinclair 6.8 Tries to do too much, but had our best 1st half chance and really got little support. I’m not a big fan of his, but he gave it everything for the new manager in attendance.
Ayew 6.7 Got better as game went on. Tries to do too much. When he learns to release the ball, he will find defenders won’t be all over him when gets the ball at other times.
Gestede 6.6 Wins so many headers from clearances, but too many times his team mates aren’t responding fast enough. Twice he won the ball and had to retrieve the glance on himself.
Agbonlahor -1 I think minus 1 is generous. If Kozak doesn’t beat him out, maybe there’s some under 11 kids out there that could. They couldn’t be any worse.