Statshack – Wolves 1 Aston Villa 2 – Jekyll And Hyde Performance

Written by Dan on September 27, 2010

A tale of two halves, or Jeckyll and Hyde as I sometimes like to think of performances so different either side of the break. That might be overstating things, but at half time Villa had 49% of possession, by full time that had shrunk to just 42%.

That might not seem like an enormous swing, and it’s an oversimplification, but if you assumed the ball was in the possession of one team or the other for all of the 90 minutes, it’s possible to calculate the possession for the second half alone and it comes out as 65/35 in favour of Wolves. I could believe that.

Further, both teams had completed 112 passes by half time, but by the time the final whistle was blown, Wolves had completed almost 100 passes more than Villa.  To put that into perspective, Wolves completed 169 passes during the 2nd half and failed to connect with 34, which is a 83% completion rate.  Villa completed just 72 and failed with 41, that’s a completion rate of just 62%.

When you consider the estimated 2nd half possession of 65% and Wolves’ share of the completed passes during the 2nd period was 70%, it’s easy to appreciate how they managed to get back on terms, but more difficult to understand how they lost.

I expected Wolves to have a bigger go at Warnock than they did and while David Edwards did push up on that side, it was actually Matthew Jarvis, the goal scorer on their left, who pushed on and impacted the game the most. He may well be responsible as much as anything for taking Albrighton out of the game, neutralising a key weapon.

In the end, as is so often the case, it came down to one moment. Stephen Warnock, who wouldn’t have been on the pitch if the manager had made the logical substitution earlier in the game, sent in just the right ball and Emile Heskey not only timed his leap to perfection, but executed the header to milk every last inch of power and also nailed the perfect direction to leave Hanhemann no chance.

And that’s it. All the control, all the possession, all the tactics, all the strategy, it all goes out the window and comes down to one moment of individual brilliance. You can’t legislate for that.

It could be claimed that the withdrawal of Kevin Foley and Edwards, who together had been the source of Warnock’s tough time down that wing, was the root cause of their downfall, but that’s easy to point to with hindsight. It could easily just be coincidental, of course, but the ball was moved up through that channel and sent in from that side to the waiting Heskey.

The point? Well, once again, let’s not get carried away. We got a great result, but hardly one carved out from a great performance. However, it’s an away day derby game, all bets are off and all that matters is the result.

I’ll take it, on to the next one.

1 Wolves September 26th 2010 Aston Villa 2
58% Possession % 42%
16 Shots 10
7 On Target 8
5 Corners 4
1 Offsides 3
61′ Jarvis Scorers 25′ Downing, 88′ Heskey
Craddock Booked Warnock, Sidwell
Sent Off
281 Good Passes 185
60% CPS % 40%
78 Bad Passes 77
78% Completion % 70%
21 Interceptions 27
32 Tackles Won 44
43 Tackles Lost 34
43% Success % 56%
0 Blocks 5
23 Free Kicks 15
Starting XI: 1. Friedel 2. Young 3. Warnock
29. Collins 24. Cuellar 19. Petrov 20. Reo-Coker
14. Albrighton 6. Downing 7. Young 18. Heskey
Subs: 4. Sidwell 15. Davies 9. Ireland
11. Agbonlahor 22. Guzan 30. Lichaj 25. Bannan
Average Position Maps

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[Original data and graphics courtesy of ESPN and The Guardian]