Fulham weren’t anything close to spectacular, yet the stats show that their point wasn’t undeserved, contrary to what a lot of Villa fans felt at the final whistle, which begs the question of why we should find much to be encouraged by.
Well, four academy graduates in the side and all did well, Bannan’s superb pass and Albrighton’s take down and shot set those two apart. The chalkboards will reveal exactly why Houllier didn’t want the ball in the air much with Delfouneso leading the line and, perhaps, point to an area of improvement.
Statistically speaking, our share of possession and passing – key metrics – wasn’t vastly different from this same fixture last season, although it has to be admitted that Fulham were better this time around. Last season’s encounter at Craven Cottage was won with two first half strikes from Gabby, this one proves the importance of finding that 2nd goal.
With Reo-Coker forced off with a knee injury after 34 minutes, but no real change to the shape with Clark coming on to replace the captain, we had two central midfield pairings during the game; Reo-Coker and Bannan, and Clark and Bannan.
I thought I’d take a look at their passing for these two periods to show the subtle differences. As a centre half, Clark is obviously going to perform a defensive role in midfield, but his map shows how his left foot places him naturally on the left and how he actually likes to get further forward than might be expected.
Bannan roves around the pitch and provided the creative force we’ve been missing for a while. His eye for a pass, especially that pass (shown in white), defies his age an experience.
Albrighton’s fantastic goal aside, the right sided player wasn’t able to get forward quite as much as we’d prefer, the passing maps and average position map show that Downing was far more advanced.
Far from a dirty player, Albrighton’s three bookings this season pay testimony to the risk of having him pegged back too much. The foul at the death of the game that provided the opportunity for Hangeland to score was soft to say the least, but it remains an area of improvement for Marc.
The match at Stoke, with Gabby leading the line, showed how we can struggle to penetrate the final third without winning what is categorized at “aerial duals” and once again we might look to the fact that Delfouneso was completely dominated in the air by Hangeland and Hughes for our failure to find the killer opportunity.
Nathan was involved in 16 such aerial battles and lost 12, the cluster on the map is quite striking.
With Heskey and Carew out for some time – who knows with Carew – it’s a problem that needs a solution post haste. Otherwise, how are we to bring Ashley Young into the game? /sarcasm.
|1||Fulham||November 6th 2010||Aston Villa||1|
|Hangeland 90′||Scorers||Albrighton 14′|
|Average Position Maps|
You can find Statshacks from other games here.