Aston Villa’s 4-1 win over Blackburn was arguably their best performance of the season, having to go back to the 3-0 opening day win over West Ham to see such an attacking display at Villa Park. However, with the likes of Young and Downing taking the plaudits, the centre midfield partnership of Reo-Coker and Pires saw a competence to keep the ball with some pretty resounding success rate stats. Between the two of them, the duo made 129 passes missing their target on just 6 occasions (3 each) with Reo-Coker making 70/73 passes and Pires completing 53/56 in arguably his best display for the club. I signalled Nigel’s improvements in the passing department a few weeks back after he had received criticism from some sections of the Villa support. The weekend’s display saw his success rate of almost 96%! Pires was just behind his midfield counterpart, proving that he is still technically adept, with a 94.6% success rate! Kudos boys!
Despite the centre midfield partnership reaping the rewards, in my opinion due to Reo-Coker’s energy and ability to cover for the fitness downfalls of the ageing French veteran, there were a few other impressive records for passing in the game.
Ciaran Clark has shown an ability to fill in as a ball playing defender this term, deputizing at left back and centre midfield along the way. Playing in a more familiar centre back role alongside Richard Dunne this weekend, due to injuries to Cuellar and Collins, the youngster looked as comfortable and assured as over, both in and out of possession. Superb passing statistics for a defender saw Clark complete 61 of a total 66 attempted passes at a success rate of 92.4%.
Many Villa fans will have been worried when the already deputy left-back Nathan Baker was forced off with a head injury after a blow from Paul Robinson. With Stephen Warnock still not in the squad, it was up to midfielder Fabian Delph to cover in an unfamiliar role. The young prospect did fantastically well when brought on in the first half and looked unphased in his defensive duties. However, his passing stats eluded to the fact that he will be an excellent midfielder in the future having completed 44 out of 49 passes with a success rate of 89.8%.
Finally, lone front man Darren Bent deserves a mention despite a pretty poor performance in front of goal and proved that he is highly capable of being up there on his own with decent passing stats having made 22 of 27 passes. A success rate of 81.5% may not seem amazing but having to hold up play as the sole striker to ensure the likes of Young and Downing got their fill was a credit to the team.
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