After a roller-coaster week, Aston Villa look ahead to vulnerable Manchester United

Bryn Lennon

Everything you need to start your Aston Villa week for December 9, 2013.

Lots to get to today. Wrapping up a wild two-match week, and looking ahead to Manchester United on Sunday.

Just The Facts, Please


Position W D L GD Pts
Aston Villa 10th 5 4 6 -2 19

Note: No matter what happens in this evening's match, Villa will slide to 11th. A Hull win would put them at 20 points, a Swansea win would put them at 21, and a draw would put Swansea at 19 with a goal differential of 1. So this is accurate as you're reading it, but for all intents and purposes, Villa are 11th.

Form (Last 5, most recent first): L W D D W

Results Last Week: Southampton 2-3 Aston Villa (EPL), Fulham 2-0 Aston Villa (EPL)

Upcoming Fixtures:

  • First Team:
    Manchester United (EPL) - Sunday, December 15, 1330 GMT, 0830 Eastern

Tracking Villa's Progress

A look at how Aston Villa are doing compared to corresponding fixtures from last season. For a more full explanation of the corresponding fixtures table, see here.

∆ Scored ∆ Allowed ∆ Points
-4 -18 8

Well, the Fulham loss stunk, but it's the same result (points-wise) as Aston Villa's visit there last season. The 2-3 win at Southampton, though, represents a nice 3-point improvement over last year's 1-4 loss. This week's match against Manchester United is the last chance for a while to make a big improvement. We lost this one last year (remember the match where we had a 2-0 lead after 57 minutes and blew it? Yeah. That one.), so anything is an improvement.

After this weekend, though, there is a string of 12 matches in which Villa got some sort of result last year. Anything fewer than 24 points from those 12 will represent a slide. Good heavens that's daunting.

In another light though: Aston Villa got their 19th point of the season on January 1 last year. Any points in the next four matches assures that they will beat that. And in other news, Villa are almost halfway to their 2012-13 points total. To tie THAT mark from last year, they only need 22 points from the remaining 23 matches. I think they'll do it, guys.

Injuries

New Injuries Last Week:

  • Libor Kozak - missed the trip to Fulham with an unspecified knock
  • Antonio Luna - also had a knock
  • Ron Vlaar - calf injury

Match Notes

Southampton 2-3 Aston Villa (EPL)
Gabby Agbonlahor (15’), Jay Rodriguez (48’), Libor Kozak (64’), Dani Osvaldo (69'), Fabian Delph (81')

  • Look at all those goals! No, seriously, look at them. Over and over and over again. Wasn't that fun?
  • But really, this was a strange match. 23% possession and somehow Villa got three goals. Once you account for stoppage time, it worked out to one goal every ~7 minutes Aston Villa had the ball. Imagine what they could do with that pace if they had 50% possession! (Math hint: approximately 6.5 goals).
  • The downside was Ron Vlaar's injury. Hopefully it wasn't too bad (though we haven't gotten many details yet), because Villa's defense without him looks pretty bad.
  • There's not much more I can say about this match. My instant reaction was here, and my quick and dirty analysis of some of the statistical anomalies is here.
  • The WhoScored recap is here.

Fulham 2-0 Aston Villa (EPL)
Steve Sidwell (21’), Dimitar Berbatov (30’ PEN)

  • Do you really want to read more about this? Really? Okay. No one's forcing you to, though.
  • Well, to start with, Villa had a back four that was 75% second-choice. We always knew it would be tough for this defense to hold even the weak Fulham offense.
  • And it didn't take long for that weakened defense to rear its ugly head. It seemed that every time Fulham made it to their attacking third Villa's defense began a mad scramble to keep the ball out. For a little while, it looked as if that might hold. But then Steve Sidwell got on the end of a terrible mistake from the Villa defense and this happened:
    Sidwell1a_medium
  • A few minutes later, Leandro Bacuna--the man most at fault for the error above--struck again with a pretty poorly timed tackle in the box. It probably wasn't a penalty, but it certainly wasn't the most egregious call I've ever seen. The result was this:
    Berbatov1_medium
  • But it wasn't just the defense. The offense, though they had a few chances, couldn't make anything of it. In the first half, especially, Christian Benteke had a couple of great chances but just couldn't convert. But he wasn't alone. Gabby Agbonlahor was acting as the captain for the day, and cameras caught him yelling (justifiably) at his teammates a few times in an attempt to get them to play smart football. Unfortunately, it didn't really seem to work all that well.
  • You can find our recap here.
  • The WhoScored recap is here.

Looking Ahead

  • Well, after four matches in two weeks, Villa actually get a nice an easy week. Only one match, and this one against Manchester United. And no, I'm not being sarcastic: Manchester United don't frighten me nearly as much as they should.
  • They looked terrible in both of their matches this week, but especially against Newcastle on Saturday. This isn't the Manchester United we all knew and loved. David Moyes is working with a team that could be better, but his conservative style is doing United no favors.
  • That said, they still pose a challenge. For beginners, the match is at Villa Park which has not been a fortress lately. Secondly, thanks to his fifth yellow of the season (nabbed yesterday), Fabian Delph will be missing this match. This certainly won't be a cakewalk.
  • If Villa can win, however, they'll be tied with United on points. If they can win by 5 or more goals, they'll be ahead of United. That would be hilarious. I hope Villa win 6-1.
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