Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Zaniolo grabs point for Villa as VAR denies West Ham win

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London, March 17: After Tottenham’s pain, only a slight gain for Aston Villa. Perhaps a draw was enough when a first defeat in London under Unai Emery beckoned, adding further fuel to growing fears his team have run out of juice at the wrong time.
And it took more than six minutes of VAR deliberation in consultation with Jarred Gillett, the referee, to rule out an injury-time winner from Tomas Soucek, the ball hitting his arm amid a goalmouth scramble, to deny West Ham the points.
After Spurs’ Saturday capitulation at Fulham, there was relief when Nicolò Zaniolo crashed home an equaliser, from Moussa Diaby’s cross.
Emery’s in-game management had rescued a point just when it seemed David Moyes had pulled off a tactical coup. Even more relief, and the boos of the home fans, were to follow.
There is a considerable constituency of West Ham fans who would like their club to be managed by a risk-taking, progressive manager in the style of Unai Emery. So much for the stability – and European trophy.
To misunderstand why so many feel that way may well misunderstand the traditions of the Hammers; playing off the cuff paired with sweating blood and tears for the cause is a rough primer on what is expected. That Villa, poor until Emery made his changes, were there for the taking, will add to the doubters.
That Moyes’ team, despite considerable talent, often play percentage-game football, and look to the counterattack in the old-style fashion rather than that employed by the game’s younger, hipper protagonists, also counts against him.
He rather enjoys putting one over on such types, but his team could mirror their defeats of Brighton, Tottenham and Arsenal, old-school values triumphing over high-minded pressing and counterpressing machines. (Agencies)

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