When Paul Scharner was sent off for possibly the most stupid and blatant second yellow card of the season and with Villa having been decent enough in the first half, a defeat on Saturday was inconceivable. Don’t get me wrong, these things happen when teams go down to 10 and win but this was hardly helped by Gary McAllister’s completely laughable and nonsensical move to replace Nigel Reo-Coker with Robert Pires, a switch which would hardly have had Roy Hodgson quaking in his boots. When the opposition lose a man from their midfield you need to get energy in to the side not lose a player yourself.
I’m not one to judge a player who has been outstanding in the past but Pires is less than a shadow of his former self and it’s frankly embarrassing to see him fail to run around a pitch. It’s an injustice to the young players at the club who have been unfairly cast aside this year after showing the ‘experienced pros who have got us out of this mess’ how it’s done in the early part of this dreadful campaign. How you don’t exploit the number of chances someone like Albrighton creates once you’ve signed a proven goalscorer is beyond me. The young winger has chipped in with 16 goal contributions in practically half a season, the half of the season in which Villa had no-one who could score goals.
Now Albrighton for Reo-Coker wouldn’t have made sense due to positional differences but on the bench you have Delph who has been completely hampered by injuries but also by the club in my opinion. If you buy a young prospect you have to afford him a role in which he plays best before you throw him in at left back and other defensive minded roles. Where was Barry Bannan after it was said that he would travel with the squad, maybe he was injured I don’t know. Michael Bradley was also available and despite looking off the pace, understandably in his one start in a joke of a line-up against Man City, surely would offer more than Pires?
Who knows whether we would have won the game or even got a mere point, which still would have been a disappointment, but it was just a move which typified some terrible managerial decisions over the course of the season and the caretaker manager’s defence in saying “it was just totally to get another forward player on”, is as comical as the decision itself. A late 30s veteran who can’t move is not an attacking option, in fact it’s the opposite. It counter balanced Albion’s loss of Scharner perfectly as they didn’t need to mark a man who is stationary 90% of the time. Rant over! Just to confirm I mean no disrespect to Pires in this rambling, just to another woeful ‘tactical’ surrender. Maybe I’m completely wrong and you disagree and please comment as all opinions are welcome. I’d like to know how the Baggies fans felt when they saw Pires enter the fray! Joy and relief I would assume.
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