Blogs & Opinion


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."

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Jamie Redknapp

Jose 'embarrassing'

Jamie Redknapp says that Jose Mourinho should focus on his own failings rather than blame match officials....

Jamie Redknapp

Everton come unstuck

Man Utd's men with a point to prove can take advantage of Everton's midweek blow, says Jamie Redknapp....

Paul Merson

Merson's predictions

Paul Merson says Liverpool WON'T beat Norwich - and Chelsea and Man City will close the gap....

Latest News RSS feeds

Everton double up on Moyes

Everton secured a Premier League double over Man United and former boss David Moyes with a 2-0 victory at Goodison Park.

Arsenal ease to win at Hull

Arsenal cruised to a 3-0 win over Hull City thanks to a double from Lukas Podolski and one from Aaron Ramsey.

Liverpool go five points clear

Liverpool continued their march towards the title with a 3-2 win at Norwich to move five points clear at the top.

Lerner fuels Villa sale claims

Aston Villa chairman Randy Lerner will not discuss his future at the club until the end of the season.

Jose offers 'congratulations'

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho fired a thinly-veiled criticism at the officials after the 2-1 home defeat to Sunderland.

Features

Aaron Ramsey provided a powerful display at Hull to remind Arsenal fans of just what they've been missing

Aaron Ramsey provided a powerful display at Hull to remind Arsenal fans of just what they've been missing

Paul Merson had exuded an air of exasperation on Sky Sports prior to Arsenal’s game against West Ham in midweek. The balance of this incarnation of the team was all wrong, he argued. Where was the pace in this Gunners side?

Raheem Sterling deserves huge praise for his impact in Liverpool's march towards the Premier League title

Raheem Sterling deserves huge praise for his impact in Liverpool's march towards the Premier League title

Norwich were fighting for their lives at the foot of the table. Jordan Henderson, the lungs of this Liverpool team, was unavailable for the first time in this Premier League season. Even 20-goal striker Daniel Sturridge was injured, breaking up the lethal partnership with Luis Suarez.

Comment: Jose Mourinho self-fulfilling prophecy sees him fall off his horse as Chelsea lose to Sunderland

Comment: Jose Mourinho self-fulfilling prophecy sees him fall off his horse as Chelsea lose to Sunderland

Beware Black Cats crossing your path. That would have been sage advice to the trio of Premier League title contenders in the last week of March as Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea all prepared to face Sunderland at home in the run-in.