Gameday Opinion

Five Talking Points from West Brom 2 – 2 Aston Villa

We’ve picked five talking points from yesterday’s draw against West Bromwich Albion, including the handball, to discuss post-game.
Words by Harry Trend (@HazaTrand)

Aston Villa were robbed of three points at the Hawthorns last night, here’s five talking points from the 2-2 draw:

Abraham’s off-day

The Chelsea loanee has been banging them in recently, with eight goals in his last four games going into this one, but it seemed the striker just didn’t have his shooting boots on. Abraham missed a whole host of chances in both halves; a pea-roller and weak header in the first, and another close-range header, this one off-target, in the second. However, his best chance came when he received a square ball from Yannick Bolasie, with only the goalkeeper to beat, Abraham slipped and allowed the ball to trickle through to Sam Johnstone. Let’s hope he bounces back against Stoke in a week.

“Didn’t see it”

Villa have been the subject of some questionable refereeing decisions this season, but this one takes the biscuit. With the game in the dying stages, Matt Phillips’ cross was won by Jay Rodriguez who steered the ball over the line with his arm. Looking at the replays, the linesman had a clear view of the incident too. What makes it worse is that Rodriguez admitted the handball in a post-match interview.

A mixed bag from Hutton

Ahmed Elmohamady was perhaps unfairly dropped for Hutton at right-back, and it’s fair to say the Scot had a mixed display. For the most part he marshalled Harvey Barnes and Dwight Gayle well, at one point he mirrored the former stride for stride prior to blocking his cross. But, as is the nature of playing as a defender, his mistake played a huge part in the opposition scoring. Hutton failed to clear the ball after he’d initially tackled Barnes, allowing the 20-year-old to cross for Gayle. Still, that shouldn’t overshadow what was a solid overall performance.  

El Ghazi on form

Some were saying Anwar El Ghazi’s inclusion in the starting XI was down to Johnathan Kodjia being rested, but the Dutchman’s recent form is what really got him picked ahead of the Ivorian. El Ghazi was Villa’s standout player on the night, with a fortunate first and a superbly taken second. From the edge of the area, the Lille loanee rocketed the ball into the right-hand top corner leaving Johnstone with no chance. Soon after, El Ghazi was turning Kieran Gibbs inside out with a drag-back which took two Baggies players out of the game. There’s a lot more to come from this man.

It’s time to start getting excited

But for some lackadaisical finishing and dodgy refereeing, Villa would’ve easily taken three points back to Villa Park. Since Dean Smith has put his stamp on the side, The Pride have looked the better side against every team they’ve played. A defensive improvement, possibly in the goalkeeping department, is all Villa need to challenge for automatic promotion. 

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