What The Gaffer Said
Sam Allardyce felt that the Villa win was a massive result for the football club, acknowledging that although the performance wasn't particularly great it was the three points that we achieved that matters most:
I’m relieved after that, it was a game we really needed to win and it was important that the players took responsibility.
There were occasions today where we didn’t play our best, but we did something we’ve not been able to do for a while - we got the first goal and that goes a long way in settling everybody down.
When Villa scored we stuck at it and didn’t let our heads drop, that’s not just the players, but the fans too . They got their reward at the end; seeing Jermain Defoe score two goals at the right time.
I thought we were solid at the back and we took chances when they fell to us and that’s critical. This is the first game we’ve won without a clean sheet, which is important to us, because we can’t always expect to win a game by keeping a clean sheet.
It’s a very important win for us; Villa are the only team beneath us and it was a massive six-pointer today.
I’ve seen us lose our nerve after conceding a goal but this time we played our way back into the game and we got our reward for that, and then Defoe was inches off getting a hat-trick!
We’ve done everything right today and got the most important thing, the win.
It's clear that by winning the game a massive amount of pressure was lifted from Sam Allardyce's shoulders and his tone in comparison to recent weeks has noticeably changed - a massive sigh of relief from a man who must have been wondering where the next win for his side was going to come from, after what has been a tumultuous run of defeats throughout December.
It Won't Always Be Rosy But Persisting With Defoe Is Key
It's often debated whether or not Jermain Defoe is our best option for the lone striker role but the fact of the matter is that when he plays up top we are more likely to score. His first strike of the day was something out of nothing and I feel that he's the only striker we have capable of scoring those types of goals.
Danny Graham, Steven Fletcher, Ola Toivonen and Fabio Borini are just not the answer in that position. Jermain Defoe, however, is. Our next move is key - do we wait around and persist with what we've got or do we go out and buy someone that can play up along side Defoe?
I feel we have to go out and sign a mobile, quick, physical player who will help create the space for Defoe to get into goal scoring positions. Someone who may well be available is Mame Biram Diouf from Stoke - he'd be ideal.
Write Off Wes Brown At Your Peril!
The former England International defender rolled back the years with a vintage performance and comfortably dealt with Rudy Gestede and pretty much everything else that came his way on Saturday. Although there is no doubting that Brown is well past his best, I think he deserves alot of credit for the level of performance he provided.
His experience could be a vital component in plugging the holes in our leaky defence.
Time To Bring Lens Back Into The Fold?
I'm really not sure what Jeremain Lens' relationship is like currently with his manager but since the issues he had after the Watford defeat have been dealt with he's been used off the bench. I have to wonder whether or not we're going to persist with him, or whether we're happy to let him go in the January window.
If we decide to let him leave, then fair enough. If his attitude off the field is as bad as we are led to believe then I would fully support any decision to move him on in the coming weeks. Make no bones about it, Lens has failed to live up to the hype since joining from Dynamo Kyiv in the summer.
Out wide we are really struggling for quality - Borini and Watmore weren't at it on Saturday and Adam Johnson has been given a more central role in recent weeks.
Andros Townsend has been linked in the last week or so with a move to the club and he'd definitely improve our side - that said, I just wonder whether or not Jeremain Lens could be brought back into the fold to play Arsenal at the weekend and given a chance to show why he should be starting games. If he's focused, and we're past the issues between him and Sam Allardyce, he could be a key player for us heading into the latter stages of the season.
Van Aanholt Now Needs To Show Consistency
Having watched Patrick Van Aanholt put in a great performance at the weekend it left me perplexed as to why he can't do that every week. The lad clearly isn't short of confidence or he wouldn't be taking on shots from distance and free kicks from outside of the area, so just what is his problem?
Sam Allardyce hinted earlier in the season that the Dutch left back would benefit from listening to the advice given to him by the coaching staff more often, and perhaps that's why the the consistency of his performances are all over the place right now.
If he plays like he did on Saturday every week, we'd be alot better off. He was up and down the left hand side and caused Leandro Bacuna all kinds of problems going forward. When Villa winger Adama Traore was introduced midway through the second half he was given plenty to deal with, and struggled at times, but ultimately played very well and showed just why he should be starting games in the Premier League.
He's no longer a kid - Patrick will be twenty-six in the summer. He needs to start showing consistency.
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