Sometimes in football, you’ve just got to admit to being outplayed. That’s what happened today for Villa. Pure and simple. Cardiff only had 35% possession, but outplayed us in every area of the pitch.
It was a lively start from both sides. Scott Hogan went close a couple of times, before Sam Johnstone gave everyone in claret and blue a heart attack by nearly dropping the ball over the line.
The warning signs were there in the opening ten minutes first ten minutes for Villa. With Kenneth Zohore, Nathaniel Mendez-Lang and Junior Hoilett looking like the perfect combination of pace, power and strength.
Cardiff’s opener came from, surpise surprise, a Villa mistake. Hutton failed to clear and the home side took full advantage, turning the over quickly before hoilett crossed to Mendez-Lang who nodded in.
The first half was pretty dreadful for other reasons too. Ahmed Elmohamady had to go off on a stretcher after landing awkwardly.
It would’ve been two before half time if Neil Taylor hadn’t been in the right place to block Zohore’s rebounded shot.
In the second half Villa did hit the bar twice. Firstly through Chester’s free header from Lansbury’s corner, then from Gabby’s shot (cross). But in all honesty, we didn’t deserve a goal today.
There was no attacking movement from Villa. Everything was sideways, after the first ten minutes, Scott Hogan hardly had a sniff.
Cardiff were so much better in all areas of the pitch. Sol Bamba was first to everything at the back for the Welsh side. I haven’t seen an opposition defender neutralise an attack like Bamba did today for a long time.
With nearly an hour gone, Hoilett made it two. Zohore beat his man before chipping the ball into the box for the unmarked Canadian to head in.
Ten minutes later, things hit rock bottom for Villa. Mendez-Lang, who we made look like Ronaldo, was given way too much space and time in the box to execute a couple of step overs before hitting an unreachable shot past Johnstone to make it three.
After that, a lot of Villa fans left, and understandably so. It seemed as if we had given up.
At one point, Cardiff’s keeper came out to smother Albert Adomah, but missed completely. This left Adomah with an empty net. But all the Ghanian could do was cross the ball into a box littered with three Cardiff defenders who just headed the ball away. Only Villa could make scoring in a goal with no goalkeeper in look like rocket science.
Aside from the result and the general performance, there were a few promising signs for Villa. Sam Johnstone had a good game apart from the early fumble, saving a fair few shots with his legs, as well as a one on one.
Plus Josh Onomah and Callum O’Hare looked good. The former, who started the game, stood out among the rest of Villa’s midfield with some good touches and trickery.
Ultimately, this is a game that Villa should just forget about. However, Bruce needs to start winning soon, as the Bruce out brigade is growing in size.
Callum O’Hare – After an outstanding performance against Colchester, then an impressive cameo today, does he warrant a start against Reading on Tuesday? Bruce could do worse than blooding some youngsters.