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  • To be honest I don't see things as bad as many of you do. Yes it was a terrible result, but I think some of the analysis here is a bit over the top compared to what I saw. My biggest disappointment is not technically how we played, individual performances, or the shape of the team, but that we had not turned the corner as I thought we had last week in terms of believing we can come back if we just stick to our guns.

    First half hour or so I think we played as well as we have all year, but as we've done all season without putting the ball in the net. I mean lets be fair, the first Villa goal was completely against the run of play and the first chance Villa had created from open play (they had a couple weak headers from a corner and a free kick before that). We had completely dominated them, and it was not just a question of when we'd score, but how many we'd get, so overcoming a one goal deficit did not seem much of a task to me.

    But the second was a gut blow. Got to give Villa credit it was a piece of class football. Up until then I think we'd played very well, but after that our heads went down, the football became more direct, resulting in us giving the ball away way to easily.

    For those who are critical of the so called tiki taki football, and want a more direct style, and point to this result as proof we need to be more direct to score, I'd say you've got thing upside down. First half Downing was effective getting forward and cutting inside. Most our chances were the creation of short passes between Stevie, Suarez and Sterling. But second half our passes got longer, and often straight down the middle. Result Villa got bodies in the way and pumped the ball back out.

    So my critic is that heads went down, and we defended awfully for the 3rd Villa goal, but most of all that we did not have the courage to stick to what we know works. It may take us more chances than most teams to score, but then again we create many more chances than most clubs. But second half we quit on the formula and just tried to pump balls into the box either from the back or from the flanks, and then wonder why we did not score, when we hardly created a decent scoring opportunity.

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    • Hi Dave

      I agree with some of that but would point out that we shouldn't make the mistake of confusing hopeful shots with chances. I know that sounds odd but what I mean is a lot of our "chances" against Villa were hopeful efforts through a crowd. To me, Villa created far more clear cut chances than we did on the day and therefore were the more effective team and fully deserved the win.

      Some will argue that we underperformed, some will argue that BR hasn't got the tactics right, some will argue that we don't have good enough players. My guess is that it's a little bit of all of those.

      • 1 Reply to Paddy
      • I don't disagree with that, but would submit the half chances were predominantly in the second half, while our best chances were during the first, when we better stuck to the game plan. I'm not saying we don't need better players, we do, especially a little more depth, and at least one creative player who can help unlock a stubborn back line. But I am also saying we are better than our results would suggest when we stick to our game, but on Saturday we lacked the confidence or the character, unlike the week before in East London, to stick to what works for the full 90 minutes, and it’s that which I’m most disappointed with.

        But I also think sometimes you do have to give the other side some credit. That happens sometimes, and even the best teams can be beaten. For example look at how well Chelsea did against Barca and Munich, but then again look who's taken down Chelsea this term. Point being not winning every game is not failure, so I don't see the need to go overboard about the loss at the weekend. Was it a step backward, yes, but imo should be viewed as a wakeup call after a series of small, but definite steps forward this season.