Last week, WHU breathed some life back into a season that was heading southwards at an alarming rate, and they come to Villa today hoping to push into the top half of the table and almost guaranteed safety. If im honest i expected a re run of the win earlier in the season
WHU have replaced their wingers Vaz Te and Jarvis with Nolan (!) and Joe Cole. Pogatetz came in at the back ultimately replacing Demel. No surprises that Carroll keeps his place up top. But this looks more of a 4-3-3 formation rather than a 4-5-1.
Gabby Agbonlahor is not in the starting line up for the Villains, so not good for them.
Villa came out all guns blazing and had Wienmann had an open goal chance put wide after 2 minutes following a shoddy rebound by Jussi. Villa , one of the worst teams at home this season , have the best of the early exchanges, against the team that have the worst away record in all the English professional leagues.
West Ham took some big bangs in the first half hour with a saving tackle from Joey O’Brien ending in another early finish for JOB and Guy Demel coming on in his place. The impressive Tomkins also got a kick in the face from Delph. It was very accidental, and more of a result of putting his body on the line.
Aside a few half chances, the first half came to an end at 0-0, which was fair. I would say WHU moved the ball around better, but Villa were more direct in the attack.
In what has become Villa’s trademark this season, WHU started the second half way on top. But the Villa defence held on, and the WHU attack didn’t make the pressure tell by way of shots, which is a tad worrying. Corner after corner with nothing to show is not good form Sam ! By the way, your 4-4-2, looks worrying like 4-5-1.
Just after the hour mark, on comes the former WHU transfer target Darren Bent. Bit of a worry for me, if im honest. And after being on for at least 2 minutes, he clears an Andy Carroll goal off the line following a corner from Taylor ! Then RVT comes on for Taylor.
Nathan Baker picked up a silly card just before 70 mins, for taking out JC who was rampaging down the right,. The resulting free kick from JC was put over by Nolan. Villa sent straight up the other end, and N’zogbia was fouled by Noble and Villa get a penalty. Benteke took the pen very cooly into the bottom right. One nil Villa. Sam makes an unusual change by putting on CC for Noble !
CC had a chance almost immediately, but got it caught in his feet.
2 mins later, N’zogbia pops a great free kick into the top corner, to make it 2 and over as a game.
WHU throw everything at Villa in the last 10. And it pays off when a mistake in the Villa defence leads to an own goal from Westwood. Despite all this Villa hang on for a win. Not deserved, but a win anyway. A draw would of been a more fair result.
So where does this leave WHU. Nowhere as usual. Sam needs to move on at the end of the season. I think the board have this in mind with him having no contract. Nolan could go with him as well at this stage. Nolan especially pisses me off as he has the skill to play, just decides not to bother. I imagine we also lose Carroll if BFS disappears at the end of the season.
Tomkins played well today, and hopefully has graduated back into the first team, or he will be off at the end of the season. Diame seems to be getting back to normal. CC looked lively when he came on.
MOTM for me should be Tomkins, but leaking 2 goals means he is out. I’ll give it N’Zogbia for his free kick and winning the penalty, and his constant attacking down the right flank.