Season 2021/2022, Villa winning streak hits a roadblock called Man City

So near and yet so far.  When Villa’s 18-year-old academy phenom broke through the Man City’s defense in the 75th minute to receive a silky pass from Emi Buendia, Carney Chukwuemeka appeared destined to signal his arrival as a star in the Premier League.  His first touch was assured and his second, the shot, appeared likely to flash by Edison into the back of the net, but the Brazilian dropped to his knees and got enough of a deflection to send the ball just wide of his upright.

The goalie’s teammates immediately registered their appreciation for him saving the game and possibly the season.  If that sounds like hyperbole, it might be, but remember what happened when Liverpool tumbled at Villa Park last year!  The goal would have tied the game at 2-2 in the 75th minute, two minutes after Jesus had skied a sitter, and would have put Villa on the front foot and City scrambling.  To allow two goals in the second half and not threaten Martinez would have had Guardiola acting like a man possessed on the touchline, while the Villa fans would have raised the rafters.

Even if our Villans did not finish the wounded City off, the game would have gone down as a huge boost for the home team and put the visitors back in catch-up mode to Chelsea and Liverpool.  A matter of inches, that’s all it was.

The save meant that Man City retained the lead and all they had to do was maintain possession.  That is something they can do extremely well, and Villa hardly threatened in the game and were left ruing the way they gave up the first goal.

Perhaps this is something that was to our team’s benefit overall.  We caught some good fortune in our first two game (e.g., Zaha’s early miss for C.P.) and we failed to meet the standard that Gerrard set for each game and deserved to get punished for it.  With the loss, it is much easier to get players’ attention.

What Gerrard did find out early in the game was that the team misses Jacob Ramsey.  He is deceptively fast and rarely gives up possession.  Buendia and Bailey alongside Ollie Watkins meant the team lost much of its spine.  The good news was that that Ashley Young is an excellent universal sub who can fill-in almost anywhere on the field, other than between the sticks.

There is a good opportunity to use the next fixture, again home but this time against a struggling Leicester team to get back on-track and start a new winning streak.


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