Following another disappointing defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion, Aston Villa were looking to get back on track this evening as we travelled to the taxpayer funded stadium to face off against the Claret and Blue Bubble Blowers – aka West Ham United.
Head coach Dean Smith’s side have faced a few starkly disappointing results so far in 2020/21 but nobody can deny it has been a better year (and set of performances in the main) than most expected. Whether we can get there or not (likely not), win our games in hand and we would be joint top. I’d consider that massive improvement, even if we are far from perfect and still have plenty to learn and improve upon.
It was certainly a bright start, but not for us. 1-0 to the hosts two minutes in and it looked like it would be ‘one of those’ performances as we were disjointed again and nowhere near as sharp as we’ve proven ourselves capable.
We were working our way more into the game and with chances falling to a few players, Jack Grealish made no mistake to level the scores up in minute 25. Game on…
Apart from totally avoidable errors, West Ham didn’t really get a sniff and we were more dominant and on top, but with no breakthrough. 1-1 at the break, which Villa would join us for the second half?
Shock horror, the same one that started the game. A minute in and it was 2-1 and we had everything to do again having completely blown our own momentum. It’s not like some of the team had turned up even when we were on top.
Having seemingly lost the plot totally again for ten or so minutes, we upped our game and Trez, in particular, missed another guilt-edged chance – but at least there were signs of a fightback.
Slightly back on top and looking more dangerous, the chances kept coming and we ended up with a stonewall penalty that Ollie Watkins ballooned off the bar.
One of these days we might stop making life difficult for ourselves and despite being poor, West Ham were utterly there for the taking.
We did have the ball in the back of the net, but Watkins’ front tooth was apparently offside (never offside) – the game has gone (like we didn’t already know that) and those Christmas Turkeys at PGMOL and IFAB should put themselves out of our misery before the New Year.
But we can’t blame VAR here, we beat ourselves with stupidity yet again. It doesn’t matter how poor we were in reality, we bossed the game, we had the chances, this was possibly the easiest win of the season but too many under performed (and were allowed to with massively late substitutions again) and nobody seems to be addressing the regularity of almost identical defensive/midfield tracking errors.
Until we now get our heads around the next steps we need to take, this is going to go from a season of improvement to frustration, inconsistency and fury at our inability to learn.
No Man of the Match poll, pick from Jack or Ezri Konsa.
30/11/2020 8:00 pm
Referee: Peter Bankes
|West Ham United
|Ogbonna (2), Bowen (46)