With our berth in the last 8 of the League Cup secure with 2 penalties against Burnley, and an entertaining 0-0 against Swansea behind us, I wasn’t expected a goal explosion against Villa. Villa also, are in the middle of a goal drought. This was all set up to be a cracker (!). I also base this on nearly every Villa game i’ve been to, which has been 1-0 either way or a draw.
Slightly interesting change in the middle, with Collison coming into the Middle for Diame. Diame has been quite laboured recently so it probably the the right decision. Also Jarvis and Downing started. This was odd, as we had no attackers again, and it was Nolan’s go at playing up top.
Not a lot to report about really for the whole game. There were two incidents in the first half both involving Andreas Weinmann. The first was when James Tomkins fell asleep and allowed Weinmann through. This produced a fantastic block from Jussi. The second was more controversial when he started to lose a race with Morrison, and started to lean into him. As Ravel tried to go round the now impeding forward, Weinmann hit the deck. Luckily Howard Webb saw the right path, and waved away the penalty appeals. I will say Ravel might always not be that lucky. Apart from the odd cross from our wingers, WHU never really bothered Jussi’s opposite number, Guzan.
As usual WHU played better in the 2nd half and probably had Villa on the rack for a while, but no striker meant no opportunities. CC came on with half an hour to go, and was pretty poor, and the lack of pre (and early) season match practice is showing. The quicker Carroll is back the better.
Benteke nearly won the game for the Villa with a powerful header that hit the bar. Joe Cole and Kevin Nolan also missed game winning chances, Joe hitting the keeper and Kevin hitting the hoarding.
Overall , it was another point, and another 0-0 , but should of been 3 points. We are playing on a knife edge, If a couple of these draws were losses, we are looking at a different game. The quicker Carroll is back the better.
Downing was great today despite some serious stick from the away support. Tomkins, apart from one lapse of concentration is justifying his selection every week. Ravel had his moments, but has gone less attack minded. I assume Sam has given him a dogging for trying to attack on his own all the time, and now he has gone the other way. He just needs to learn the right mix.
MOTM today was non other than the much maligned by me Mark Noble, He was magnificent, all over the pitch and making intelligent moves and passes. If this is off the back of his recently publicised personal quest to get in the England squad then fair play. More chance of me playing in Rio than him, but if this raises his game, I’m all for it. BUT, stop the free kicks son, its really not you !
One concern to end on, Winston Reid looked like he was struggling through the game. This could be a wory that we really pay for later on.