Three points in the bag. A rather accomplished performance (barring the last 10 minutes) and some interesting displays from some players…
We totally dominated the first half, had 14 shots and did not concede one shot…We were passing the ball smoothly and creating chances and Aston Villa was all over the place. We score on set pieces first through a Partey header and then an Auba rebound from a saved PK…The score line was fair and the PK was obvious.
In the second half, Aston Villa changed their system and were a bit more coherent going forward and also defensively. However, after some good passing, ESR scored through a deflected shot but as a result of a potent counter-attack. Martinez made a few saves, we conceded some chances and then Ramsey scored a screamer for AV. Few minutes later, we almost conceded another one through a header following a throw in…The last minutes were nervy but we managed to see the game through.
So what did we learn?
- Lokonga is a much better option than Odegaard next to Partey in a double-pivot
- ESR is more at ease without Odegaard and playing through the middle or coming in from the left. He is in good form and really is showing that he can be a key player for us.
- Laca is really a key clog in our team especially for the press and hold-up play
- Tavares is showing early promises of a good left-back. What are we going to do with Cedric?
- Tomy had a good first half but then faded. Shall we rest him a bit?
- Partey had one of his best outings yesterday and his goal is a deserved reward. I hope that his injuries will leave him alone because it seems he has finally found his rhythm.
- Saka also had a good first half but also faded…Shall we rest him too?
- Auba had some good looks at goal and seems happier with Laca in the team.
- Gabriel was impressive last night especially in the air.
- Ramsdale’s passing is much better than Leno’s and he is also much better at launching our attacking play
Some pundits say we played a 442 but I am quite sure we were set-up as a 4231 with Auba just playing higher up on the left.
Here the ratings:
MOTM: Emile Smith Rowe
Ramsdale – 6
Tomy – 6
White – 6
Gabriel – 7
Tavares – 7
Lokonga – 7
Partey – 7
Saka – 6
ESR – 8
Auba – 7
Laca – 7
Next up is Leeds in the Carabao Cup, a chance to play some subs like Martinelli, Pepe, Balogun, AMN…However, I d not want to see Leno in goal to be honest…