One of those days and one of those results that meant frustration and annoyance at what might have been.
That we totally dominated the first half and hit the woodwork says nothing – we did not score and they did. Simples! We then had to chase the game and rarely threatened in the second half, and Aston Villa promptly scored again. When we got our consolation goal it was too little too late.
Many thought that Villa were there for the taking, and they played as such in the first half, as we dominated the play. They then scored against the run of play, with their first shot, and their second chance gave them their second goal.
These are killier stats, with our 13 corners to their six telling its own tale. Jerome Thomas’ miss right at the death would have earned us a deserved point, but it was not to be.
Albion seemed to miss the holding play of Youssouf Mulumbu, as he has been man of the match at the Hawthorns for most of the games he has played. His omission from the starting line-up seemed puzzling.
Graham Dorrans also seemed wasted in Mulumbu’s holding role, and as the game wore on Di Matteo might have withdrawn a relatively quiet Somen Tchoyi to be replaced by Mulumbu, which would have allowed Dorrans to be pushed forward to hurt the Villa defence.
Thomas was given the man of the match (website); we had 52 per cent possession overall (considerably higher in the first half); and we slip back to 11th.
Important stat: we have not won against the Villa since the 1978-79 season (John Trewick scored the only goal at Villa Park), and in the last eight games against them there have been four draws and four 2-1 Villa wins. History repeating itself?
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.