Aston Villa left the Reebok Stadium wondering why they hadn’t picked up all 3 points on Saturday after collapsing to a 3-2 defeat having led twice in the match. A penalty miss from Ashley Young at 2-1 up turned the game on its head, and defensive casualties caused an inexperienced back-line to capitulate from set pieces, with former Villan Gary Cahill capitalizing twice before a late Ivan Klasnic winner from the home side. But who and what was to blame, other than an inability to finish, with Darren Bent being the main culprit despite an early opener. Having looked at the passing and tackling stats there are couple of interesting points and equally some unsurprising downfalls.
In my opinion the right-sided pair of Albrighton and Walker stole the show, with the former perhaps pipping the on loan full back to the man of the match award, netting his fifth league goal in the process. The winger was a constant thorn in Wanderers defence and ran at Paul Robinson for fun, delivering balls which should have been converted into goals. What I like about the youngster is his work rate and commitment to not only attack but get stuck in as well. The wide man attempted 13 challenges in the game and despite only winning 4, puts himself about far more than Downing on the other flank, who won none of the challenges he made.
Walker on the other hand, has been criticised defensively having impressed so much since joining on loan on the offensive side of his game. However, the 20-year-old not only looked threatening on the attack, superbly setting up Bent’s opener, but also more assured at the back, completing 8 of 10 tackles. His passing stats, although unspectacular, were also the best of the unfamiliar back line having made 30 of 44 passes (68.18%). On the other side young Nathan Baker’s passing stats were not promising but we should remember that the 19-year-old is predominantly a centre back and looked solid defensively. He was only successful with 13 of his 39 attempted passes (33.33%).
Reo-Coker’s passing has greatly improved of late but he was unable to emulate his outstanding 70 of 73 passes from the Blackburn game (96%). He completed a respectable but far less impressive 30 out of 41 passes at a rate of 73.17%. His tackling was good on the day though and his willingness to get stuck in something the side will undoubtedly miss if he leaves this summer. He attempted 10 challenges winning 7 and was only topped on the day by Kevin Davies who won an impressive 13 out of 17 tackles against Villa’s centre back pairing of youngster Ciaran Clark and full-back Luke Young.
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