With very little going on on the transfer front, bar the imminent N’Zogbia deal, and very little else to come, I have decided to have a look at Villa’s stats from last season to suggest areas in which McLeish will be looking to improve, building on the abundantly obvious downfalls from last year.
The new management will be hoping to build on a pretty meagre 48% possession over the course of last season, ranking Villa level 13th in the league, one place ahead of McLeish’s Blues with 47%. However, if you can up you control of the ball by 2% to average half of the possession over the season, which should be a target for Villa, teams finish in behind the top 6 on 50%, including the likes of Fulham, Everton, Newcastle and even Wigan! Stoke did little to dispel their stereotype as a long ball team by holding less possession than any other side in the top 5 European leagues with just 38%.
Villa’s pass success rate was also a weakness, alluding to their less than impressive possession statistics, with the players reaching their target with a modest 74% of attempts, 14th in the league. Relegated West Ham and Blackpool were both better in this regard with 76%, while the likes of rivals West Brom fared excellently in 6th with 78%. Stoke were again bottom with 64% while Birmingham, under McLeish notched up 72%, again a place behind Villa in joint 15th.
Villa ranked slightly better in terms of aerial duels won in joint 10th, but figures were again below the average with 49%. When you compare centre-back pairing of Dunne and Collins individual figures of 66% and 63% with the likes of John Terry on 71% the duo could be more commanding but it is a lightweight and diminutive midfield which is the main factor for bringing the sides success rate down. Sadly this seems to be an area that is set to be neglected with no new signings expected.
Some lacklustre defending and individual errors led to the mistiming of plenty of tackles last season, with Villa picking up 71 yellow cards overall, second highest in the league. The likes of Ciaran Clark and Stephen Warnock were main culprits and although their commitment in the tackle cannot be questioned, their timing certainly needs improving.
Having seen an average of 16 shots fired in at goal on average per game, only the relegated teams of Blackpool (20), West Ham (18) and Birmingham (18) conceded more chances per game, with defence a real weakness last term.
When you consider the likes of Downing and Young were in the side last season, Villa’s amount of dribbles completed per game of 6 is pretty average. Compare this with the N’Zogbia driven Wigan’s joint second figure of 10 and you can see why the club have pin-pointed the Frenchman as a target.
Shots Per Game
If you had said Villa would attempt as many shots a match as Manchester City most Villa fans would have been happy to hear that. However, attempting just 10 shots a game, a full 6 more than they conceded, Villa again rank below mid way in 12th from last season.
I apologise for putting a downer on things but was just scouring the general statistics and they strengthened the opinion that we had a dismal campaign last year. I think we will improve this season, despite selling big names, and Birmingham’s inclusion in some the poor stats aforementioned should be taken into context as they did have a weak side! Personally looking up not down and think if we can get our defence in order it should be a good season.
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