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Very Telling Statistics For Villa


Yesterday's Times came up with some telling stats that presumably fit with everyone's perception. Against West Ham Villa made 58 crosses from corners and free kicks and centre's, as against an average for the whole season in premier games of 23 crosses per game.

We are thus mono-focused on one style of play - get it wide, get it in the box - nearly always up in the air. No surprise there. But even more of concern, the average success rate of crosses finding one of your own men in the premier league for all games this season is also 23%. Yet against West Hah only 4% of Villa's crosses found a Villa man on the end of it.

As for Ashley, the chief culprit, only 1 of his 28 crosses found a Villa player!

These are the stats, the conclusions to be drawn from them perhaps seem fairly clear, but are not completely black and white.

Firstly, Ashley is crap at crossing at present - yet I used to think he was brilliant just 15 months ago. I have no real idea why he keeps over hitting them, or in yesterday's example playing them all in the same area where West Ham and Green in particular were dealing with them very effectively. But he does .....

Secondly as a result our strike rate is poor, and we aren't scoring goals. The answer is again get Ashley to get his form back, or give him a rest because he is becoming increasingly ineffective. Milner is brilliant, and his effort 1000%, but his crossing is very mixed too - it is not just Ashley, and everyone is guilty of this one over-focused style of play - presumably following instructions.

But these stats can themselves over-focus on the problem. The crosser is only as good as the strikers who receive them, and reliance is on them to make something of them. You need mobility, presence, and surprise, great positional sense, to make the most of the crosses that are coming into the middle. Just think of how everyone's expectations went through the roof when we knew we had Martin Laursen waiting on the end of them - but also remember what he was like waiting for them - he was perpetual movement in motion. He knew what to do.

Perhaps why Ashley is therefore so much more ineffective is that there is no ML and secondly, no in form 100% committed Carew to get on the end of them. As a result his crosses look worse and have probably compounded themselves and become worse. So the solution is perhaps not our crap crossing, it's back to the bleeding obvious - our crap strikers.

If that sounds negative, it is not meant to be doing anything other than expressing the realities of the different strengths of Villa, and our players. We are excellent throughout defence, have a very good midfield, and in Gabby, Heskey, and Carew all also have their strengths - but incisiveness and clinical finishing is not one of them. We need a goal machine, or at least something more approaching one, alongside a bit more variety in our style of play.


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The Journalist

Writer: stennyvilla Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday January 19 2010

Time: 10:00AM

Your Comments

Good article. But something I've been bitching about MON's influence for over more than a year. And people worry about him replacing SAF and Manure. Lolz
Kiwivillan
Good article. But something I've been bitching about MON's influence for over more than a year. And people worry about him replacing SAF and Manure. Lolz
Kiwivillan
Why do we cross so much? I actually think we are better going through the middle, Gabby aint great in the air (bar that goal at Old Trafford) and he is brilliant going through on goal (barring that chance in the 89th minute against West Ham)
young_jonah
Why do we cross so much? I actually think we are better going through the middle, Gabby aint great in the air (bar that goal at Old Trafford) and he is brilliant going through on goal (barring that chance in the 89th minute against West Ham)
young_jonah
I have said it before and I will say it again. We should of signed Darren Bent!
leelindsay
I have said it before and I will say it again. We should of signed Darren Bent!
leelindsay
facts are facts stenny just confirmed my gut feeling , we can cross the ball as much as we want but with only Gabby in there we have little chance of scoring from a cross . with the current midfield we are are set up to cross but those lads can also play the ball about and look for a run from the strikers , who lets be honest never make any runs except out wide . 6 of one half a dozen of the other , we need to get some coaching from somewhere !
villan57
facts are facts stenny just confirmed my gut feeling , we can cross the ball as much as we want but with only Gabby in there we have little chance of scoring from a cross . with the current midfield we are are set up to cross but those lads can also play the ball about and look for a run from the strikers , who lets be honest never make any runs except out wide . 6 of one half a dozen of the other , we need to get some coaching from somewhere !
villan57
Great article and comments, I'm not so much worried about the WHU game, it was very frustrating but some credit has to go to there line-up, preparation, stout defence and Green, although alot of the crossing was cr@p. If we are going to just cross all game, then we may as well just stick Mule and Carew up front and give Gabby a rest and A Young for that matter.

Please O'Neil use the squad that you have assembled, please make a sub, change a tactic, just do something.

God bless James Milner and our keeper(s)/defence :-)
davidsands1982
Great article and comments, I'm not so much worried about the WHU game, it was very frustrating but some credit has to go to there line-up, preparation, stout defence and Green, although alot of the crossing was cr@p. If we are going to just cross all game, then we may as well just stick Mule and Carew up front and give Gabby a rest and A Young for that matter.

Please O'Neil use the squad that you have assembled, please make a sub, change a tactic, just do something.

God bless James Milner and our keeper(s)/defence :-)
davidsands1982
Well teams have worked out how to play against us - stick five in midfield and double up on the wingers. I even saw at times that west ham had 3 players on ash - of course he is gonna send in poor balls. Then since our midfielders almost never get into the box you are sitting with gabby and carew against 4 defenders and the defensive mid. Petrov seldom gets past the half way line now days and milner runs up and down between boxes but never gets in. Simple tactics... Not to mention playing i score 3 in 23 games with 1 assist emule heskey. Give gabby a rest and try out delph in a 4 3 3 - give the opposition something else to think about!
Astriel
Well teams have worked out how to play against us - stick five in midfield and double up on the wingers. I even saw at times that west ham had 3 players on ash - of course he is gonna send in poor balls. Then since our midfielders almost never get into the box you are sitting with gabby and carew against 4 defenders and the defensive mid. Petrov seldom gets past the half way line now days and milner runs up and down between boxes but never gets in. Simple tactics... Not to mention playing i score 3 in 23 games with 1 assist emule heskey. Give gabby a rest and try out delph in a 4 3 3 - give the opposition something else to think about!
Astriel
I think we suffer from playing the same 11, 2 times a week. They're always going to tire. Look at what happened to Gabby in the first Blackburn league game after he had had an (enforced) break the game before. MON talks about building a "squad" but he doesn't even use them. WHam would have been a good oppourtunity to use Albrighton and Delph, both of whom look more incisive than our current midfield (save for Milly).
claret&blue82
I think we suffer from playing the same 11, 2 times a week. They're always going to tire. Look at what happened to Gabby in the first Blackburn league game after he had had an (enforced) break the game before. MON talks about building a "squad" but he doesn't even use them. WHam would have been a good oppourtunity to use Albrighton and Delph, both of whom look more incisive than our current midfield (save for Milly).
claret&blue82
we played two games in 3 days and only 1 more before that this month so rotating the team should not have been and issue. ffs they are pro athletes and the only time tiredness gets mentioned is when a player has a run of bad form or the team dont get an expected result.
themightyatom
we played two games in 3 days and only 1 more before that this month so rotating the team should not have been and issue. ffs they are pro athletes and the only time tiredness gets mentioned is when a player has a run of bad form or the team dont get an expected result.
themightyatom
mightyatom - I absolutely agree that players should not get tired given that they are professional athletes, and with all the benefits they have. But on the flip side, continually playing the same XI has it's downsides because of predictability. The defensive unit ideally needs to be as settled as possible, but the attacking players need to be rotated to keep everything fresh and to keep the opposition guessing, IMO. After all, there is a reason that you never really hear people say that defenders look tired...
Sheriff Kimbo
mightyatom - I absolutely agree that players should not get tired given that they are professional athletes, and with all the benefits they have. But on the flip side, continually playing the same XI has it's downsides because of predictability. The defensive unit ideally needs to be as settled as possible, but the attacking players need to be rotated to keep everything fresh and to keep the opposition guessing, IMO. After all, there is a reason that you never really hear people say that defenders look tired...
Sheriff Kimbo
spot on -Mr....Stenny. especially the last bit. We need someone who can actually be in the right place in the box. Although you do wonder about the tactics if MON hasn't spotted this yet. Ashley can cross - but to who? Milner is much better through the middle as his crossing was always the weak part of his wing play. I have to question the intelligence of these guys though, if you consistently cross to one spot and no-one gets on the end of it you would surely think of tryng something different? Ah well- it is still apleasant change to be cogitating on how to make the next step up into the top 4, instead of having nightmares about DD dragging us back down to the lower leagues.
1981claret
spot on -Mr....Stenny. especially the last bit. We need someone who can actually be in the right place in the box. Although you do wonder about the tactics if MON hasn't spotted this yet. Ashley can cross - but to who? Milner is much better through the middle as his crossing was always the weak part of his wing play. I have to question the intelligence of these guys though, if you consistently cross to one spot and no-one gets on the end of it you would surely think of tryng something different? Ah well- it is still apleasant change to be cogitating on how to make the next step up into the top 4, instead of having nightmares about DD dragging us back down to the lower leagues.
1981claret
 

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