Martínez again, VAR and West Ham up next

According to the BBC, Jack was man of the match yesterday, but for me it was Martínez again. I say again, I'm not sure I've mentioned him in many posts, but he's such a commanding figure and makes things happen that others haven't for us in that position for some time.

When you watch the match without that dodgy supporter background noise getting piped in and the ball is in our box, you hear him. He talks to the players and that talking is calm and composed. He's making a big difference for us and he's also helping the defenders. He is also making some very good saves, to top off all the other good work he's doing.

This is where I'd normally write we were lucky or fortunate, but I think with him in goal, it's not about luck or fortune. He's that good. And sure, we could look to the two VAR decisions and had the game ended 1-1, I don't think many would say it was unfair, but sometimes you need VAR decisions to go your way.

Before VAR and when a decision looked dubious or was clearly wrong, the pundits would write and talk about how these things even themselves out over the course of a season and I write about this because if we learnt anything from yesterday, and in particular I'm referring to the offside decision the linesman got right, we don't need VAR.

All VAR is doing is taking away the decision from the three men on the pitch and giving it to someone else. Mistakes are still getting made. Keep the software and technology that tells us if a ball has gone over the line and I'd say extend it to all around the pitch, so linesmen don't need to worry about it, but until VAR can instantly make decisions and until it doesn't rely on other people, it has to go.

We are only a year or three from having the decision made by software, so why not wait. Have VAR running in the background so the software can learn, but it's ruining the game and it's not necessary. It's not necessary and we know why from yesterday; things even themselves out over the season, with VAR and without.

We've got West Ham on Wednesday and I'll be watching from the pub I think, if I can. Not nice to write that to most people stuck at home, but if I can, why not?

The stats from the BBC

  • Aston Villa have beaten Southampton in the Premier League for the first time since December 2013, ending a run of eight such matches without victory (three draws and five defeats).
  • Southampton have lost three consecutive Premier League games for the first time since November 2019.
  • They have failed to score in five of their past seven Premier League games, having only done so in five of their previous 41 in the competition beforehand.
  • Villa have gained their 10th win of the season in their 19th game, the earliest into a Premier League campaign they've done so since 2009-10 (18 games).
  • Jack Grealish has been directly involved in 15 league goals (six goals, nine assists) in a single season for the first time, eclipsing his tally of last season (14 - eight goals, six assists in 36 games) in just 19 games.
  • The last Aston Villa player to register more assists in a single season in the competition was Ashley Young (10 in 2010-11).
  • Emiliano Martinez has kept 10 clean sheets in the Premier League this season, only Manchester City's Ederson (12) has more in the competition in 2020-21.

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