Robbie Keane departs as Villa stalemate

Robbie Keane departs as Villa stalemate

Aston Villa travelled to Wigan Athletic on Saturday in what was a much-needed away win for Aston Villa but the afternoon turned into a frustration fuelled affair at the DW Stadium.  The fixture in recent times has been a good one for Aston Villa; in the last six Villa have won 3 drawn 2, this includes Saturday’s 0-0 draw. For the best way to catch Aston Villa, and the rest of the Premier League live, make sure you have access to NBCSN. DX3 will have the best deals on DirecTV packages that include specialty sports networks.

Aston Villa were given a boost to the team lineup as Gabby Agbonlahor returned from his niggling hamstring injury which saw him miss three games.  Richard Dunne was a notable absence from the Villa squad and is scheduled to be out for at least 2 months following his fracture to his right clavicle.

Aston Villa said farewell to Robbie Keane who played his last game for the club before moving back to the MLS following his short-term loan featuring for the claret and blue army for 6 games.  During his stay at Aston Villa Keane contributed 3 goals, 2 of these came in Aston Villa’s 3-2 win in January, the pick of the bunch came against his former club Wolverhampton Wanderers with a rocket of a shot.

Aston Villa’s game had a lot of hopes riding on the game against Wigan as earlier discussed it has been a fixture that Aston Villa have been on the better side of the team affairs.  But the game was very frustrating for Aston Villa and their fans.  Wigan Athletic found themselves bottom of the Barclay’s Premier League and were expecting a big of a backlash from Villa who lost to 1-0 Manchester City a fortnight ago.

Wigan Athletic dominated the game with 60% of the possession and managed more shots at goal that Villa. Wigan managed to get 12 attempts on goal but only managed to find the target on 2 occasions.  Aston Villa on the other hand had fewer shots at goal of the 9 shots they attempted they were only able to find the target on 3 occasions.

Wigan’s ability to keep possession was due to the fact that their passing was far more accurate than Villa’s, Wigan managed to get 74% of their passes completed from attempting 393 passes they actually managed 291.  Aston Villa on the other hand found themselves with a lesser figure of 65% attempting 249 passes and only finding intended targets on 162 occasions.

In a game which was very scrappy and seemed that neither team had the ability to break the deadlock as they was only a handful of clear-cut chances.  Aston Villa’s best chance in the first half was when Darren Bent latched onto a through ball from Robbie Keane who managed to chip the last defender allowing Bent to run in on goal.  However Bent was denied by Wigan’s outstretched Al Habsi with the one-on-one exchange.

Both Wigan and Villa went into the half-time interval with goalkeepers having clean sheet but it was Villa who emerged from the dressing room first, this surely meant that Alex McLeish’s team-talk was straight and to the point leaving reverberations in the players ears.

The deadlock was nearly broken just moments after the restart with Villa putting Wigan on the defensive back foot and were almost rewarded with a goal. A cross into the Wigan area was glanced by James Collins straight into the path of Cuellar who used all the power in his neck to power it towards goals but Al-Habsi read it well and saved comfortably.

Frustration began to grow among the travelling 3,500 Villa fans who travelled up to the North-West to witness in their eyes was a 6 pointer of a game.  The fans became restless and frustration crept in on a cold Saturday afternoon with nothing to cheer about.

Taken by a Wigan fan: a view of the Villa support on Saturday

The Villa fans were very vocal from the start and the biggest applause or sign of appreciation was directed at Stephen Ireland who warmed up on the touch-line.  This was greatly received by Ireland who respectfully acknowledged the fans support towards him following his alleged outburst following his substitution at the start of February when Villa travelled to Newcastle.

Midway through the second half, after the introduction of Emile Heskey, the fans would have appeared to turn on McLeish with many chants ranging from “We Want Our Villa Back!!!” to “You don’t know what you’re doing”!!.  The chants never seemed to disappear and McLeish just looked on trying to block out the chants from the Villa fans.

Matters went from bad to worse as 10 minutes before full-time as Darren Bent was carried off on a stretcher; it is thought Darren Bent will definitely miss England’s friendly game against Netherlands on Wednesday night at Wembley Stadium.  It has been reported that Darren Bent was seen leaving the ground on crutches wearing a protective boot.

Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish confirmed in his post match interview that Darren Bent would be having a scan on his ankle following the tackle to check the extent of the damage.

Aston Villa managed to pick up a point but will feel that it will be 2 points dropped and rightly so with Aston Villa travelling away to Blackburn Rovers next weekend. Aston Villa are going through a patch where they need to be obtaining points ahead of the tough run-in, Aston Villa are yet to face an array of top 4 candidates such as Chelsea,Manchester United,Liverpool,Arsenal and Tottenham.

Following Villa’s draw at Wigan now Aston Villa find themselves occupying the 15th position in the Premier League 8 points above the relegation zone. Aston Villa will face two teams that currently occupy places in the relegation zone and this is a very unfamiliar territory for Villa fans.

Latest odds from Paddy Power on Villa to be relegated are now 16/1

Latest odds from Paddy Power on McLeish to be next Premiership Manager to get sacked is 10/1