Aston Villa returned to winning ways with a fantastic 2-1 win over Brendan Rodgers and his Leicester City side on Sunday evening.
Steven Gerrard was looking for his side to bounce back from their defeat to Manchester City in mid-week while Leicester were looking to build on their recent two-match unbeaten run.
Gerrard claimed that he had a few choice words with his side at half-time as they once again fell behind to an early goal. Leicester were sharp out of the blocks and took a deserved lead through Harvey Barnes who was causing Matty Cash all sorts of problems.
The hosts hit back just minutes later as they exploited Leicester’s set-piece problems. Jonny Evans struggled to clear a Douglas Luiz free-kick and Cash headed the ball back into the danger zone. Emi Buendia then nodded the ball towards the goal and the stretching Ezri Konsa got the finest of touches as the ball dropped into the corner of the goal.
The game became an end to end thriller and a great watch for the neutral as Villa looked to have taken the lead just before half-time.
Cash once again, headed back Luiz’s cross which Kasper Schmeichel attempted to claim before Jacob Ramsey scored from close range. The goal was then ruled out through VAR who judged that the Leicester goalkeeper had control of the ball despite only having a couple of fingers on the ball.
Villa eventually got their deserved goal nine minutes into the second half. Once again, from a set-piece, John McGinn sent over a corner and the ball found Konsa who towered over Caglar Soyuncu and into the back of the net.
James Maddison came close through a long-range effort but it was Villa who looked more dangerous especially when Jacob Ramsey scuffed his chance when he was through on goal.
- Through all the positives of Gerrards appointment, Villa needs to shift the slow starts. It is something we witnessed too often under Dean Smith. Villa needs to be quicker out the blocks.
- VAR is once again at the centre of controversy. The rule states – Law 12: Fouls and Misconduct…A goalkeeper is considered to be in control of the ball with the hand(s) when:the ball is between the hands or between the hand and any surface (e.g. ground, own body) or by touching it with any part of the hands or arms except if the ball rebounds from the goalkeeper or the goalkeeper has made a save
holding the ball in the outstretched open hand
bouncing it on the ground or throwing it in the air
A goalkeeper cannot be challenged by an opponent when in control of the ball with the hand(s).
Obviously, the rule doesn’t back the disallowed goal – hence the highlighted bit. So what did?
- The high press is becoming more clear and making Villa a much better team to watch and also a stronger team.
- You can see what Villa are trying to do with the one-touch passes in triangles. Its simple but effective and enables Villa to get up the pitch quicker.
- A special mention to Ezri Konsa. I could have mentioned all the players as I felt they played really well but Konsa finally got on the score sheet – twice! Its a small reward for his consistently solid performances over the past 2-3 seasons.
Saturday, 11th December – 15.00
Villa will have their work cut out against a Liverpool side who are once again on fire. It will be interesting to see how the new system works against a side that play in a similar style.