Becoming a Soccer Fan Pt. 3: Aston Villa F.C. versus Derby County

No Streaming Availability For A Soccer Fan

Ah, the life of an American soccer fan. I’m beginning to discover it isn’t so easy following European soccer. I sat down to watch Aston Villa F.C. versus Derby County on Saturday only to realize it’s not available on this side of the pond. Not on ESPN, Fox Sports 1, or Sling TV. The English Premier League is one of the most watched leagues in the world and widely available, but the English League Championship is not. This must be what it feels like to follow a small-market NBA team from overseas.

Standings

For those following along, Aston Villa F.C. lost to Derby County 2-0 on Saturday. They’re now tied with Sheffield United in terms of overall points, but I believe as it currently stands, Aston Villa would win a tiebreaker scenario based on their overall record and so they remain in 5th place. Following their win on Saturday, Derby County built a slight advantage and draw closer to third place Bristol City. There are several games left and the standings suggest there is still plenty of time to climb the ladder. We lost to Derby but we’re far from out of contention.

English League Championship
2017-2018 GP W D L F A GD P
Wolverhampton Wanderers 22 16 3 3 42 17 25 51
Cardiff City 22 14 5 3 33 16 17 47
Bristol City 22 12 7 3 36 23 13 43
Derby County 22 12 5 5 35 21 14 41
Aston Villa 22 10 7 5 29 20 9 37
Sheffield United 22 12 1 9 34 27 7 37

 

How did they play?

Not very well. I’m not a soccer expert, but to my untrained eye Aston Villa didn’t appear to be on the same page for much of this contest.  This was most evident on an errant backwards pass from Aston Villa’s Glenn Whelan to Derby County player, Matej Vydra. Vydra took advantage of Whelan’s mistake and challenged Aston Villa’s goalkeeper, Sam Johnstone, before eventually finding teammate Andreas Weimann for the score. From that point on, impatience or poor timing plagued Aston Villa as passes found themselves routed towards defenders rather than teammates. To me, the Villans looked their best when running designed setups off of corner kicks. I know little about soccer or how a team designs its offensive schemes, but Derby County did appear to be sharper when making passes and filling lanes on their opponent’s side of the field.

As a final thought, it’s interesting to me how time of possession played out in this match. After scoring early, Derby County seemed to take a more defensive approach and allowed Aston Villa to become more aggressive. By the end of regulation, Aston Villa had control of the ball for 67 percent of the time, according to ESPN. Aston Villa did have opportunities in the second half but came up short at the end of 90 minutes.

Why Aston Villa F.C.?

Revisit the “Becoming A Soccer Fan Pt. 2: Aston Villa F.C. Fighting for Promotion” article from last week.

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