Season 2021/2022, Villa Check All the Boxes against the Saints

There were many Villa fans second-guessing their new manager when Phillippe Coutinho came to town and our Villans failed to respond immediately.  Watkins could not gel with Ings, Buendia appeared more frenetic than effective, Bailey looked lost, McGinn tried too hard, and Luiz looked demoralized.

Gerrard’s response?  He did not panic!  It seems he knew what he was doing.  He had the conductor he needed.  The orchestra just had to respond.  On Saturday, they did.

It was apparent very early in the game against Southampton’s Saints that this was the game to check the boxes.  The gaffer had already confirmed he thought one conductor on the field was enough – Buendia only came on the field late, when we had a 4-0 lead (and Coutinho needed a break).  Check.

Our defense, now stabilized, only allowed a dangerous Saints team one shot on goal and that served to keep our brilliant keeper sharp. Another shutout.  Check.

Luiz played up to his defensive potential, breaking up passing plays, then used his speed and anticipation to score our second goal.  Check.

Ollie and Danny got onto the same page as Coutinho, especially on the first goal.  Then, when Ings scored his beauty, the pair were almost lovey-dovey over it.  Check.

Our Villan gave up no unnecessary fouls around the penalty area, blocked two Ward-Prowse freekicks and made the Saints captain a non-factor.  Check.

After being frustrated by a brilliant foot save in the first half and coming close to a hattrick before the break, Coutinho coolly bamboozled four Saints defenders before finding a way to beat the Saints’ 6’ 7’ fast-footed goalie – he shot between his legs.  Three goals in seven games and two more assists.  Check.

Heck, we even got some playing time for former Saint Calum Chambers when Ezri Konsa was sidelined by COVID and benefited from the former Gunner’s excellent defense and the most perfect little chip to beat the Saints’ offside trap and allow Coutinho to lay on the tap-in for Luiz.  It does not get much better than that.

With Leeds in disarray, we only have to worry about our intensity and remember what this Leeds team did to our opening four game winning streak last season and how they burst our three goals in 13 minutes bubble at Villa Park just a month ago and we should be fine.

UTV

Pre-game Assessments

Game Reports

AVFC Women’s Team