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This was a classic case of what happens when a team trying to play attacking football (but doesn't have the players) comes up against a team that is great from set pieces and generally good defensively.
First half we were the only side that played football and were deservedly 1-0 up. Had we just been able to do the simple things right – Aston Villa had no threat whatsoever unless we were going to gift them a free kick, penalty or corner.
In the first half they had a couple of good chances. One was a free kick that Taylor was stupid to give away. And the second was from a free kick which Given saved well.
I said to may mate that we'd need at least one more because we were bound to concede from one of the above.
Second half we failed to clear on numerous occassions from the left back position. We were trying to be clever. An Allardyce ‘boot it upfield' approach would have been beneficial. Next thing, the balls across on the left and a terrible deflection plus poor goalkeeping makes it 1-1.
We should have gotten rid, but still they were extremely lucky to be back in it and NEVER looked like scoring from open play before then.
The goal that followed from the corner was fully expected. But the goal from open play was a fluke and really killed us.
Then, the thing I'd predicted earlier occured. Set piece after set piece. I think they scored from two corners. Oh and then another from a penalty.
They are set piece specialists. We have a sh*t defence and was poor in finishing with only Michael Owen that seems working hard alone while his partner Alan Smith was not helping him at all through the games. Both are the recipes for disaster.
We look better than them with the ball on the floor but we're still toothless and Barton-Butt combinations in midfield aren't good enough. We also need a striker who will make things happen.
4-1 flattered a side that fails to play good football but has a good defence and is excellent from set pieces. We decided we didn't want this type of football at SJP so we can shut up and deal with the consequences.
With an average set of players – teams like Everton, Villa, Middlesborough and then the top 4 will all look forward to playing us. Keegan's approach will only work if we throw money at it. Those Sam Allardyce's players just aren't good enough to attack for 90 minutes.