Aston Villa Club Focus – McLeish frustrated at the end of Villa’s unbeaten run

No-one really gave Aston Villa a chance at the Etihad Stadium anyway. The magnitude of stars adorning light blue Manchester City shirts were expected to defeat Alex McLeish’s gutsy Aston Villa side, but not by such a margin and not with such ease.

Villa’s defending was hardly worthy of their Premier League standing for two of the four City goals and whilst unlucky at times, they can’t complain with the footballing masterclass they were shown. Gabriel Agbonlahor had a great chance early doors for Villa and if that had gone in, then the game may have been completely different.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t and Villa have to dust themselves down and prepare themselves for a Midlands derby against West Bromwich Albion at Villa Park next weekend. McLeish will take to heart that the Villa defence takes the negative plaudits, especially after being a defender in his playing career, but those weaknesses will be worked on in training and they will be watertight against West Brom next weekend.

McLeish took some of the positives from the game, but was disappointed with the free run Vincent Kompany was given for City’s third goal and the marking from the opening goal which Mario Balotelli smartly finished.

The Scotsman said: ‘It doesn’t matter if it’s Manchester City or an amateur team, you’ll still lose goals if you’re not organised at set-pieces. To lose goals the way we did was comedy cuts. When they see the goals, they’ll just think – that was horrendous defending’.

Villa’s consolation came from a thumping finish by left-back Stephen Warnock and gave the travelling support some joy before they made the trip back down towards Birmingham. They will have no complaints at the defeat and will be eager for their side to put things right, just as their manager has promised them that they will do.

Striker Darren Bent has been backed to fill Wayne Rooney’s boots for at least the group phase of the upcoming European Championships next summer in Poland and Ukraine and showed good endeavour throughout the game. Bent was in good scoring form before the weekend and is looking to work back the nickname of the ‘Mailman’ that Villa chairman Randy Lerner has given him, on account of the fact he always delivers.

Villa fans applauded former midfielder James Milner after he refused to celebrate following his tremendous finish to seal the game. Milner produced a man of the match performance against his former side and showed the quality that Villa missed in the centre of the park.

McLeish will make changes for next weekend and try and get the team back to winning ways after a season that has been filled with draws and negativity over the way Villa play. Their attacking football will come freely against the Baggies on Saturday and they can expect three points to fire them further up the table.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Aston Villa v West Brom

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