The Good, Bad and Ugly of Spurs and Legia
Another week in the headlines for Villa, first as the villains against Spurs and then as bystanders when Legia Warsaw fans decided to have a violent huff at their ticket allocation. The Good, Bad and Ugly nearly writes itself this week.
I can’t lie, beating any of the media big six is a delight, but beating Spurs after they were crowned Premier League Champions in August, September and October was particularly sweet.
The game itself was your typical game of two halves if one team decided to blow their load of energy reserves inside the first 40 minutes.
From not being impressed with the naivety of Ange Postecogleu and Angeball, seeing it in full flight is quite something. Complete disregard for defence and an almost kamikaze ethos with the squad he has will blow a lot of teams away. However, if you survive until they tire, they are there for the taking.
In truth, the game never felt truly safe, but Villa had more than enough in reserve in the second half and should have made it more comfortable.
Douglas Luiz ‘putting one in the mixer’ before half-time for Pau Torres to head home changed the game, and Villa never looked back, a few saves from the best in the world and the three points and top-four position were secured.
Unfortunately, the width of the crossbar stopped Villa from making sure of the top spot in the Europa Conference game against Warsaw, but a win is a win and good performances from the returning Alex Moreno, Jhon Duran and Luiz, left Villa needing a point in the last game.
Villan of the Week – Pau Torres
A second goal for Villa and it should have been a third after a miss in the early stages. The calm Spaniard is slowly moulding attacks the way he wants and becoming more confident in defence. His block on the line after Kulusevski hit the post has gone unreported in the media, much like most of his work.
True tests of Pau Torres will come in the next few weeks as Haaland, Saka and others come knocking at Villa Park.
Matty Cash seems to be a player that bad luck follows. A couple of seasons ago, a committed tackle injured Spurs’ Matt Doherty and again against Spurs a mistimed hack on Bentancur injured the Uruguayan.
If he hadn’t been out of action with an ACL injury and only back, people wouldn’t have made such a fuss. It wasn’t a horror tackle, the same kind of tackle happens in every match at every level and sometimes more than once. It’s pure bad luck that Bentancur injured his ankle on it, or on an incident soon after.
It begs the question if Cash’s tackle was the one to injure him, why did he play on for a few minutes until he went over on it again?
In any case, the online reaction from so-called Spurs fans wasn’t warranted and references to the holocaust are particularly poorly judged considering the traditional fanbase of Tottenham Hotspur and the wider global situation. Still, this wasn’t the ugliest thing of the week.
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What on earth did Legia Warsaw fans think they were doing? It’s like Scrappy Doo picking a fight where ever they go. There’s no beef with Villa, no historic rivalry and there wasn’t any comparable trouble in the first game between the sides.
The civil disorder and battle with the Police was expected purely from reputation, as they had done the same when they played Real Madrid and Leicester City a few years ago, and earlier this season against AZ Alkmaar.
The ugly truth is, it achieves nothing. It’s likely to get the team a European ban (to add to their previous ones), sooner rather than later and it ruins the match for everyone.
When the draw was made, most Villa fans looked forward to the hostile atmospheres that Villa would be playing in, and then recreating the atmosphere at Villa Park. Instead, Warsaw’s ‘fans’ were kept outside of the ground because of their behaviour and Villa fans were left somewhat surprised to be watching a game that had the atmosphere of a project restart Covid match.
It has put a bit of a dampener on what should have been a stellar week for Villa. Despite the spectacle, the thuggery has gotten Legia Warsaw nowhere, but then what did they want it to achieve other than a few grainy phone videos of an idiot slipping while throwing a bottle of sauce?
Hopefully, UEFA just ban them from Europe, it seems to be what they want anyway.
Follow Phil on Twitter here – @prsgame