Matchweek 26 facts and figures, for KB Extruders and beyond….
Needless to state, the Aston Villa narrative is overflowing with dread. The club can’t seem to turn anywhere for salvation. Not even the trusty farm system is offering much to boast about, not when AV is struggling against the likes of Southampton and Sunderland down in the Premier League’s reserve development season.
Alas, almost as if predestined, there has been one thread that has kept the Villa resistant to all the many outside forces closing in: The Holte End. The energy brewed by Villa Park’s south stanchion has been thriving, even while the crumble since 2010 has intensified. AV has 30 Holte End goals during this troubled span. Opposing teams have 22. And Villa, which has the league’s worst total for goals conceded (47) and home goals conceded (27) this season, has held opponents to four goals in all the 540 minutes they have defended The Holte side of the field.
Below is the scoring comparison between the Holte End and the North Stand during these last three beleaguered seasons.
North: Opposition 14, Aston Villa 5
Holte: Aston Villa 4, Opponents 4
North: Opposition 14, Aston Villa 8
Holte: Aston Villa 12, Opposition 11
North: Opposition 12, Aston Villa 12
Holte: Aston Villa 14, Opposition 7
*Seven matches remaining
Shoddy defending tends to be the focus for everyone droning on about all the recent failures on the pitch. But murky initiative with the ball has been almost as costly, if not more.
(For instance, in last weekend’s 3-3 draw at Everton, the team’s total possession time finished way down at 28 minutes, 52 seconds. It was 38:39 in the recent West Brom meltdown at the Hawthorns and 27:51 when Manchester United stormed back to overtake the team in November.)
Sadly, that possession problem probably won’t be addressed unless the capabilities within the midfield get immaculately better within weeks. Still there are measures that can be taken to keep Villa from ceding the ball back so fast, which puts those purportedly fearful defenders back to work tirelessly. One doable method is to get Brad Guzan and the back line a bit more involved in working the ball upfield instead of launching the 50-50 balls out to the attacking end for every goalkeeper entry. Below is a look at how possession times this season appear to be influenced by those long, unpredictable entries from the keeper’s box. (Each time reference is how Villa performed within those slots.)
Above 49:00 in possession
Long GK Entry: 52 passes
Short GK Entry: 28 passes
% of Long: 65.0
40:00-49:00 in possession
Long GK Entry: 137 passes
Short GK Entry: 45 passes
% of Long: 75.2
Below 40:00 in possession
Long GK Entry: 200 passes
Short GK Entry: 35 passes
% of Long: 85.1
Below is the breakdown for what boot brands Villa players have been wearing this season.
Bent (switched from Umbro in December)
—Patrick Kinmartin (PKtype@Gmail.com …. Facebook.com/TypePK)