Aston Villa welcomed Everton to Villa Park today in what can only be described as a game of two halves. The first half was a very scrappy game with neither side dominating and quite simply cancelled each other out.
The game finished with a 1-1 draw with goals from Aston Villa’s Darren Bent early in the second half, following some good teamwork from Marc Albrighton but it was Villa’s Stephen Ireland who provided for Darren Bent to tap in from close range. Aston Villa led early in the second half but it was a smart substitution from David Moyes to bring on Victor Anichebe to equalise for Everton midway into the second half.
But there was only one player on the field that stood out and that was Aston Villa’s Stephen Ireland, who was also voted Barclay’s Man of The Match. Even though Ireland wasn’t able to get on the score-sheet he was able to contribute so much to the game and his fellow teammates and played the full 90 minutes.
Stephen Ireland created 4 chances and 3 of these chances came from open play. One of these chances was converted into an assist as he squared for Darren Bent to score after 55 minutes.
Stephen Ireland made his touches count with a total of 65 and only failed on 3 occasions and was only dispossessed on 2 occasions. Passing was another attribute that Ireland managed to keep at an impressive 87% accuracy rate throughout the 90 minutes with 40% of them being forward passes.
Ireland’s passing accuracy success came from 17 passes within his own half finding the correct players on 15 occasions but it was in the attacking half where Ireland found himself more affective totalling 88% success rate this came from 31 accurate passes and found intended targets on 27 occasions.
The midfield had to work hard and Stephen Ireland was not afraid of getting stuck in, shirking his attacking attributes and defended well. Stephen Ireland earn’t himself a 100% success rate in his tackling completing 3 tackles and winning them all.
It was great to hear chants from the Villa fans “There’s only one Stephen Ireland”, this is something that I thought would never hear at the game. It has taken Stephen Ireland a long time to settle at the club and get a chance to replicate his ability from his Manchester City days after been frozen out of the game by ex Villa boss Gerard Houllier last season who sent him out on loan to Newcastle United.
But Alex McLeish has gave Stephen Ireland a clean slate and has welcomed him back to the side, Ireland incidentally scored his first goal for Aston Villa against Chelsea on New Years Eve in Villa’s 3-1 win.