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Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert salvaged his side a draw at West Brom, says Jamie Carragher

Jamie Carragher - Jamie Carragher Posted 25th November 2013 view comments

Shrewd substitutions and a switch of system helped Aston Villa snatch a stalemate against Midlands rivals West Brom.

That was the view of Monday Night Football pundit Jamie Carragher after witnessing the Villans fight back from a 2-0 deficit at the interval to draw 2-2 at The Hawthorns and take their unbeaten run in the Premier League to three games.

Paul Lambert: Aston Villa boss praised for his substitutions

Paul Lambert: Aston Villa boss praised for his substitutions

Baggies striker Shane Long had put the hosts in the ascendancy with an early brace (3 and 11) but Carragher says the emergence from the bench of Fabian Delph, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann just shy of the hour mark altered the complexion of the contest.

And the ex-Liverpool defender also cited Paul Lambert's decision to change to a back three as crucial in his side earning a share of the spoils following late strikes from Karim El Ahmadi (67) and Ashley Westwood (77).

These young Villa lads are progressing and they are a far better team than last year; they showed a bit of naivety last season but had the character to get through and are now showing real quality.

Gary Neville
Quotes of the week

"It had to be a different story for Aston Villa in the second half as the first-half performance was not really acceptable," said Carragher.

"And the changes Lambert made meant three very important players - and three players who would be in his best team - came on.

"But going to three at the back also gave them the opportunity to get three players up top and get a bit more support to [Christian] Benteke.

"And it also got [Ciaran] Clark and [Leandro] Bacuna at centre-half and wing-back respectively, positions where they are most comfortable, after they struggled at full-back in the first 45 minutes."

Carragher compared West Brom hitman Long's opening strike - in which he controlled a long, raking ball 18 yards out and swept his shot past Villa keeper Brad Guzan - to Dennis Bergkamp's goal for the Netherlands against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup whilst analysing the first-half action at The Hawthorns.

And the Sky Sports expert was equally glowing in his full-time appraisal of the Irishman, who was linked with a move to newly-promoted Hull during the closing stages of the summer transfer window.

"You know you are always in a game with Long," added Carragher.

"He is not the tallest but his spring is as good as anyone you play against, he has power, too, and he is always on the move looking to cause your problems.

"His first goal was great, his second, a chip, was Kenny Dalglish-like, and he was definitely the man of the match."

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