There were a lot of positives in today’s 0-0 draw with Newcastle and some negatives also. Let’s explore these.
First only 30,000 for a home opener after a good win at Stoke last weekend. Congrats Mr. Lerner, your poor leadership pretty much cost you a quarter million pounds in just turnstile receipts in one game. Hopefully the positive of the signing of Mr. Fox and some decent looking cheap signings will bring the missing fans back.
To those Villa fans that turned up, brilliant applause for John and Liam, the Newcastle fans so tragically murdered. Although I didn’t get to see it I heard the Holte enders put up a banner.
Two games in a row without a goal conceded is brilliant, the defence looked overall solid. The midfield is stronger, but up front still no creative mid and very poor up front. Weimann as a creative or wide midfielder is NOT working. He is to football creativity what Paris Hilton is to science. Station him as the forward and he’ll score. Unlike Gabby who has got into 2 scoring positions in 2 games and fluffed his lines both times.
The difference from last week was that Villa respected Newcastles pace on the counter. As a result Villa had 6 players many times in the opponents box last week and only 2 this time.
Villa got into the game by half-time and although the Toon had 2 better chances, 0-0 was a fair score at the time.
The second half, Villa didn’t show up for a while. It was like the 2-0 loss to West Ham last season when Delph gave away those goals early. This time he didn’t and the defence was at least on the field if the attacking play wasn’t there.
PL made some strange subs at this time. N’Zogbia came off and it was the right call. He had again shown up a little short of his usual pace and had shown his frustration one too many times. One more foul and he was going to be red carded. At least he’s showing more of a willingness to try to beat players though. The replacement seemed odd at the time as I said. It was Carlos sanchez. We needed to attack more and we took off an attack minded player and put on a defensive minded one.
It turned out to be a good move as Newcastle never could work around Villa’s area again. Plus those that haven’t seen his first touch, missed a real bit of class missing from this side in a while.
The second sub got to me though. Richardson had played okay and was keeping us strong in midfield. Weimann had now hit boiling point. He handled a cross-field pass and when the whistle went he kicked the ball in petulant schoolboy manner earning a cheap yellow card. Moments later he went off on the linesman for an offside call that he did kind of have point on as the right back on the other side of the field may have been playing him on. He should have made way for the sub.
Darren Bent was the sub. It was nice to see him back, but his contribution wasn’t much.
Villa won a lot of corners, but only one was a decent ball in and Krull scrambled that one away with both hands.
Bad news came when the once again impressive Cissokho limped off after twisting his leg after a jump. Richardson could’ve moved back to left back and allowed Cole on, but as he’d just been subbed Baker had to take his place. Baker did a good job though in all fairness.
Villa didn’t play well. Newcastle weren’t much better. Better teams will kill us on this performance. Newcastle wasted about 4 superb chances that were all mis-hit. New boy D-Jong saw a good hit brilliantly saved by Guze. Unlike last season, defenders followed up and made sure Newcastle didn’t get the winner on a follow up.
A lot of poor discipline by Villa players actually ended up hurting the Geordies. Mike Dean was hearing it from Villa fans that felt their side was getting the shaft on too many decisions and with Villans following each other into the book the ref was acutely aware that he had to even things out rightly or wrongly. His booking of Williamson was very harsh and a few minutes later when Delph put a good move on the young defender the ref had no choice but to issue another yellow. A lot of Villa fouls were on Newcastle signing Cabella who looks very adept at winning free kicks. He seems to show you the ball then quickly turn his body to shield as you make your move. It would be useful if Newcastle find anyone that can bury the crosses from resulting free kicks.
The biggest positive from this is we lost our games at Stoke and at home to Newcastle 2-1 last season. We got points from those games this one. The big challenge next is to match or improve on last season’s 3-1 win against Hull. Remember how we won Mr Lambert? Weimann was upfront!!!!