[Editor’s Note] Every match, Liam - our young writer - selects a ‘man of the match’ - win, lose or draw.
The scene was set in the County of Hertfordshire as the Villans arrived at Vicarage Road knowing that a win would further release the pressure on the boys in claret and blue. During his pre-match press conference, Dean Smith emphasised the required performance levels against the Hornets. “We finish the year off with another tough game. Yes, they’re in the bottom three, but we’ve seen some great performances since Nigel’s gone in. They’re on the up at the moment and we have to make sure we go there and perform at our best.” With Grealish returning to a wide position as well as a new combination of midfielders starting, could Aston Villa win their second consecutive Premier League game?
Watford started brightly in the opening minutes with Kabasele forcing the experienced Heaton into action. The home side continued to pressurise Villa’s defence but were unsuccessful in opening the scoring until the 42nd minute when Troy Deeney broke the deadlock. The Englishman side footed the ball into the bottom right hand corner.
Troy Deeney extended his sides lead in the 67th minute after calmly slotting the ball in the middle of the goal after the penalty was conceded by Douglas Luiz. Ismalia Saar secured all three points for the Hornets 4 minutes later after he powerfully struck the ball past a helpless Heaton.
The boys in claret and blue end the month of December with one win in seven, a miserable period for last season’s Championship Play-Off Winners. Once again there were many disappointing displays from Dean Smith’s players, coincidently meaning that for only the second time this season I don’t believe that anyone deserved the title of yesterday’s Man of the Match.
Something needs to change. Personally, I believe that Grealish needs to play in the centre of midfield as he is often isolated on the wing and by playing in the centre he is able to become more effective due to the fact that you gain more of the ball. The Birmingham-born player is well suited to the central midfielder role as his able to bamboozle defences with his skill as well as possessing a clinical edge which is finally blossoming in front of the Villa faithful’s eyes. Maybe Smith needs to adjust his tactics or formation as it seems that his side are too predictable as well as being constantly outplayed and outfought. Aston Villa posses players that are good enough and hopefully the Villans are able to maintain their Premier League status for another year.
Can Villa start 2020 with a win against Sean Dyche’s Clarets? I sincerely hope so!