In the calming aftermath of Villa’s 2-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspurs Simon Bunn looks at reasons for the claret and blue contingent to be cheerful:
1) The first half performance – Villa went into half time with the score at 0-0. Although Tottenham edged the play Brad Guzan largely had little to do in the Villa goal throughout the first 45 minutes. The back four had looked solid in dealing with the threat of Defoe, Bale and Lennon and the visitors could even have gone into the break with a lead, if chances had been taken.
2) Created chances – In the same fixture last season Villa only managed a pitiful three attempts on goal. This season they improved that statistic with eight shots at goal, three of which could easily have been converted. It took a wise decision from Lloris to prevent a goal, when he raced from his line to intercept the ball, after Agbonlahor had been put clean through. But it was Benteke that was guilty of squandering Villa’s best chances. Most noticeably a free header, that the powerful Belgian sent wide, from an Albrighton cross just after half time. If that had gone in the game may have seen a different outcome.
3) Possession – Last term Villa were out passed by pretty much every team in the division, home and away. Lambert has tried to rectify that incompetence stressing the need for Villa to keep hold of the ball. Last season at White Hart Lane Villa only accumulated a laughable 30% of the possession. This time around saw a marked improvement, with Villa achieving a respectable 44% of the ball away from home.
4) Bennett’s injury is not as bad as it looks – When Villa left back Joe Bennett crashed into the advertising boards, after a coming together with Gareth Bale, it looked as though the youngster was in extreme pain. With Villa having used all their substitutes he was stretchered off with 12 minutes remaining. Reports have since suggested that the injury is not as bad as was first thought. Bennett suffered a large gash but is not expected to be sidelined for a significant amount of time.
5) Warnock & Hutton are still no where near the first team – Villa fans will be pleased to see that Alan Hutton and Stephen Warnock remain ignored when Lambert names his squad. None of the two made the bench again at Spurs and, with any luck, will be actively seeking a move in the January transfer window. Villa are keen to be rid of the unwanted high wage earners.
Whenever Aston Villa lost a home match the Tannoy speaker, at Villa Park, used to blast out Monty Python’s ‘always look on the bright side of life.’ This article aims to offer the same comforting notion.
image: © nicksarebi