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ANALYSIS: Painful deja vu for Aberdeen as lessons not learnt from earlier in the season

Aberdeen are dejected after the 2-0 loss to Motherwell.

Aberdeen suffered damaging deja vu as their recent revival was derailed by missed opportunities and defensive slackness.

Sound familiar? It is. This 2-0 loss to Motherwell is a carbon copy of the loss to the same side at Fir Park in September.

Aberdeen dominated possession, racked up ineffective shots and switched off at the back at key moments.

Lessons have not been learnt as it was concerningly reminiscent of the 2-0 loss at Motherwell on September 11 amidst the Reds’ recently ended 10 game run without victory.

Motherwell’s Kevin van veen makes it 2-0 against Aberdeen.

Aberdeen had 69.5% of possession against Motherwell at Pittodrie this time and 74.5% at Fir Park- but on both occasions did nothing with that domination of the ball.

The Reds mustered 18 shots at goal, eight on target, four off and six blocked at Pittodrie but couldn’t engineer a breakthrough to keep their upsurge in form on track.

That is despite having their first choice attacking trio on the pitch from the start – Christian Ramirez, Marley Watkins and Ryan Hedges.

In stark contrast Motherwell had just two shots – and netted with them both to exploit disastrous defending for both goals.

Motherwell’s Sean Goss (left) battles with Aberdeen’s Ryan Hedges in the clash at Pittodrie.

Aberdeen’s recent resurgence had been against the bigger hitters in the Premiership with wins against Hibs, second placed Hearts and a draw away at league leaders Rangers.

It is the games against the other teams, when the onus is on the Reds to attack, create and make possession count, that is their Achilles’ heel.

This season they have lost to Motherwell, twice, as well as well as St Mirren, St Johnstone and Dundee. They also dropped points at home to bottom club Ross County.

Aberdeen must find consistency and eradicate the costly tendency of dropping points against sides more inclined to defend, invite the Reds onto them, and hit on the break.

For all the possession and shots at goal Aberdeen were not ruthless enough and got what they deserved for a dismal second half – a momentum breaking loss.

Aberdeen possession stats in 2-0 loss to Motherwell at Pittodrie in November, 2021. Supplied by Opta Stats.

The defensive mistakes that had been so costly during the recent 10 game winless run returned in a disastrous opening spell to the second half that Aberdeen never recovered from.

For both goals it was not individual mistakes that cost the Dons but a collective culpability within a defence that switched off and lost organisation.

It was costly. The second half was also a timely reminder that Aberdeen cannot afford to drop their levels in the Premiership or they will be punished.

Possession stats of Motherwell 2 Aberdeen 0. Supplied by Opta Stats

A disappointing and deserved defeat but it does not undo the positivity of the previous three games in taking seven points from Hearts, Rangers and Hibs.

Aberdeen made their early intentions clear when Christian Ramirez volleyed wide in the fourth minute.

Lewis Ferguson had a looping header punched clear by keeper Liam Kelly and soon after the Scotland international had a 15 yard shot saved.

In the 27th minute Dean Campbell’s superb volley from six yards was pushed behind by Kelly.

Yet again keeper Kelly frustrated the Reds when he blocked Watkins’ shot across goal with an outstretched leg in the 44th minute.

Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass at full time after the 2-0 loss to Motherwell.

In the first half Aberdeen had eight attempts at goal and Motherwell failed to muster a single shot.

It was to rapidly change.

Motherwell’s Kevin van Veen flicks home to make it 1-0 against Aberdeen.n

The first blow came when the defence switched off and lost its shape in the 49th minute to leave van Veen unmarked when meeting a cross from Sean Goss in the penalty area.

He unleashed a superb right footed shot that went beyond Lewis from 12 yards.

It was 2-0 in the 57th minute when a  free kick from the left deep to the right sided back post was headed back along the face of goal by substitute Rickie Lamie to van Veen who was yet again was unmarked.

Motherwell’s Kevin van Veen celebrates making it 2-0 against Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

The striker punished slack defending by unleashing a right footed drive beyond Lewis who was left completely exposed by the back-line.

After the recent resurgence in form the defensive frailty that had been so costly in a 10 game winless run returned with a vengeance in a damaging start to the second half.

Aberdeen fought to salvage something from a game they slip as  Funso-King Ojo and Lewis Ferguson both had shots saved.

Aberdeen’s Scott Brown at full time having lost 2-0 to Motherwell.

Keeper Kelly produced a sensational save in the 77th  minute to deny Ferguson from close range.

Some Dons fans made their frustrations clear at a poor second half showing by booing at the full-time whistle.

ABERDEEN (3-4-1-2): Lewis 6; Bates 5, Brown 6, McCrorie 5, Ojo 6, McGeouch 5 (McGinn 60), Ferguson 6, Campbell 7 (Hayes 79), Hedges 6, Watkins 6, Ramirez 6.

Subs: Woods, Emmanuel-Thomas,  Gurr, Samuels, Longstaff

MOTHERWELL (4-3-3): Kelly 6; Maguire 7, Solholm Johansen 6, Mugabi 6, McGinlay 6, O’Hara 6, Ojala 4 (Lamie 50), Goss 6, Roberts 6, van Veen 7 (Woolery 80), Watt 6 (Carroll 69).

Subs:  Fox, Slattery, Grimshaw, Shields.

REFEREE: Don Robertson


MAN OF THE MATCH: Dean Campbell (Aberdeen)