BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 18: Richard Dunne of Aston Villa looks dejected as Craig Bellamy of Liverpool celebrates scoring to make it 1-0 with Charlie Adam during the Barclays Premier league match between Aston Villa and Liverpool at Villa Park on December 18, 2011 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
I do not want to write about that game. You do not want to read about that game. My replay crapped out with 10 minutes to go, and while that would normally be the kind of thing that would infuriate me today I feel like adding FSC.tv to my Christmas card list. Liverpool had things put away by the 15th minute; I knew it, you knew it, Liverpool knew it and Villa knew it. There were some decent performances (Charles N'Zogbia, Marc Albrighton, Richard Dunne and Brad Guzan) and there were some terrible performances (Fabian Delph, everyone else to a slightly lesser degree) but it was every bit as terrible a game as I'd feared and yet another example of Villa being lucky not to lose by several more goals.
I just don't have it in me to do anything approaching an extensive recap, so I'll give you the short version; Villa is terrible at defending set pieces and Liverpool is good at scoring from them. Despite being down by two goals for more than 75 minutes, Villa didn't seem the least bit interested in attacking until the final quarter hour of the game. Liverpool sent the majority of the afternoon stroking the ball around the back and deep midfield because they had a two goal lead and Villa weren't at all interested in applying any pressure at all until the ball made its eventual appearance in their own final third. Alex McLeish's style of football continues to be almost unbearably awful, and the players look like they have absolutely zero sense of what they want to do. This was truly a top-down, full-team display of dire, unwatchable garbage. Liverpool wasn't a lot better, but they earned the right to be that way by actually scoring some flipping goals.
It's getting to be a chore to watch these displays. I don't expect this team to win every game, but I expect them to at least try. It just doesn't look like they are. I know that McLeish and the players care and want to win, but the players don't look like they ever expect to and McLeish continues to make me believe he has no idea what doing so entails. There is just way too much talent on this team for them to ever look this bad. That it's become almost expected is beyond distressing.